10 Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship You Can’t Ignore


Everyone has different perspectives on different matters, and most of the time, it leads to arguments. Although arguments are common in every relationship, sometimes they can be signs of an abusive relationship.

However, signs of an abusive controlling relationship do not always need to be physical. Moreover, you or your partner might not even be aware of the abusive relationship fights.

Here are the most common warning signs of an abusive relationship.

10 Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

1. Ignoring Boundaries

Boundaries are an essential factor for a healthy relationship. Boundaries are the foundation of trust and make the relationship sane. However, disregarding boundaries can give rise to trust issues and can cause breakouts in the relationship. 

The most common signs of ignoring boundaries are:

  • Expecting you to be available when you are busy with other things.
  • Dismissing your opinion, speaking over you all the time.
  • Not knowing what to talk about with your partner.
  • Making decisions on your behalf without communicating.

Ignoring boundaries can indicate that your needs and preferences are not as important as your partner’s. Disregarding boundaries is a common warning sign of an abusive relationship.

2. Controlling Behaviour

While each area of controlling behavior may look different, it is mainly caused due to lack of trust and can mean that your partner doubts your ability to handle anything. Controlling behavior can be both physical and psychological. Often, controlling behavior mostly revolves around financial matters.

The most common signs of controlling behaviour are:

  • Refusing to accept blame.
  • Pointing out every little fault of yours.
  • Making financial decisions for you.
  • Not asking or considering your opinion.

Controlling behaviours are also signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, and trust issues are the major cause of it. Moreover, controlling behaviour can quickly take a turn for the worse and can turn into an abusive relationship.

3. Over Possessiveness

While the idea of being with one another is cute and charming, but when taken to an extreme level can be harmful or even dangerous in a relationship. Over possessiveness can cause psychological issues and can give birth to both physical and mental abusiveness.

The most common signs of over-possessiveness are:

  • Bad temper and quickly reacting to everything.
  • Decides what you must wear.
  • Keeping track of phone calls and messages.
  • Emotionally manipulative.

Over possessiveness can give rise to anger and trust issues, and an extreme level of possessiveness can show signs of an abusive relationship.

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4. Keeping Secrets

Although relationships are built on trust, there are some things that are better left to be private. However, that does not necessarily mean that you should make everything secret. By doing this, your partner might get the idea that you are having an affair and are cheating on them. It is a fair assumption and can lead to abusiveness.

The most common signs of keeping secrets are:

  • Being defensive in an argument and dodging questions.
  • Frequently changing phone/laptop/desktop passwords.
  • Not showing interest in most conversations.
  • Telling sugar-coated lies.

There can be various reasons why your partner might be keeping secrets from you, for example, embarrassment or shame about something. However, if you did find out there is a wall of secrets in your relationship, then it’s time for a serious sit-down and calm discussion with your partner. Make sure the discussion will go calmly so that the anger will not get the best of you.

5. Gaslighting

It is the biggest form of emotional abuse and is a term used to describe a situation where one partner convinces and manupulates the other and makes them doubt their own sanity and self-worth. Moreover, the person who has been gaslighted cannot even tell if their partner physically abused them or not.

The most common signs of being gaslighting are:

  • An urge to apologize all the time.
  • Feeling low or being pessimistic.
  • Feeling of nervousness, anxiety, or worry around your partner.
  • Hiding your relationship issues from your friends or family.

Gaslighting is not a case that can happen by accident; it is done consciously. If you feel like you are being gaslighted, then you can talk it out with a trusted friend or can get professional help. Although there are various reasons for gaslighting, they all lead to the same signs of an abusive relationship.

6. Unpredictable Mood Swings

Although fights between couples are common in every relationship, unpredictable mood swings are not. Unpredictable mood swings can be seen in small arguments where one partner gets more worked up than the other on most occasion. The person can become sad, angry, or withdrawn, and this can cause physical and psychological abuse on a partner.

The most common signs of mood swings are:

  • Sudden change in appetite.
  • Excessive guilt.
  • Over possessiveness.
  • Always blaming external factors for their behaviour.

Unpredictable mood swings usually cause angry blow-ups and even physical abuse. The signs of mood swings are unpredictable, and it is for the best to consult a counsellor or therapist and not burden your partner with your unresolved mental health issues.

7. Physical Aggression

It is not necessary that an act of aggression can only be shown by a physical touch towards a partner. It can be shown by looks, gestures and words. Moreover, smashing, punching, or throwing things are also considered as a type of physical aggression. If your partner does start to show signs of physical aggression, then the sooner you get help from a professional, the better.

The most common signs of physical aggression are:

  • Destroying or damaging property or objects.
  • Easily gets irritated.
  • Physical or verbal abuses.
  • Profusely apologizing but repeating behaviour patterns.

The signs of physical aggression are clear and need to be handled immediately with the help of a professional before it becomes signs of an abusive relationship.

8. Refusing to Say Sorry

There is not a single relationship without fights. However, if your partner refuses to say sorry, don’t immediately consider yourself to be wrong. Refusing to apologize can showcase early signs of an abusive relationship based on the depth of the argument.

The most common signs of refusing to apologize are:

  • Being overworked on small arguments.
  • Pushing the blame on you.
  • Showing act of violence.
  • Gaslighting.

Refusing to say sorry can be a one or two-time thing, but if it starts to happen more frequently, then small fights can be turned into signs of abusive controlling relationship.

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9. Controlling Attire

Picking out clothes for your partner is cute and cab be seen as a sign of a happy relationship. However, it takes a turn for the worse if your partner takes full control over what you should wear without caring about your preferences. 

The most common signs of controlling attire are:

  • Choosing outfits for you without considering your preferences.
  • Trying to control your finances.
  • Fake compliments.
  • Throwing you old outfits.

It can be a type of possessiveness, and if not handled in time, then it can give birth to an abusive relationship and can cost you your whole freedom.

10. Financial Control

Relationships can be controlled or manipulated in various ways, and too much of it can lead to mental breakdowns and can cause verbal or physical abuse. A partner might be controlling you financially and might be limiting your needs to fulfil theirs.

The most common signs of financial control are:

  • Taking control over bank accounts and cash.
  • Giving you a limited allowance or budget.
  • Feels entitled to your financial assets.
  • Spends your money without discussing it with you.

Financial control in relationships can cause emotional and abusive arguments. Moreover, financial control is often done by gaslighting a partner.


The signs of being in an abusive relationship might not be clear at the start, but as time progresses, they become much clearer and can break the whole relationship and can even cause psychological traumas.

Abusiveness can happen in all types of relationships, whether it be casual, serious, or long-term. If you feel like your partner is showing signs of an abusive relationship, then you should consider getting help from professionals or leaving the relationship.

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