Relationship Counselling for Individuals or Couples in Cardiff and South Wales Liz Hunt BSc, Dip CG, Dip Lch.

Recovery from an Abusive Relationship. Library Image: Depressed Person

The characteristics of an abusive relationship


Controlling behavior - if your partner demands to control who you see, where you go, what you wear.

Inflicting physical pain of any kind, or threats of violence (For instance punching a wall near your head or throwing items at you).

Regular name calling, patronizing, put-downs, or use of abusive language.

Regularly humiliating you socially.

Isolating you from friends and family.

Gas lighting – mental abuse where you are made to feel that your partner’s bad behavior is your fault. (For instance, blaming their infidelity on your lack of attention). Changing the facts of events to suit themselves, or questioning your memory of events which can result in you no longer trusting your own judgment.

Intense jealousy and possessiveness.

Feeling constantly anxious and like you are walking on eggshells, fearing the next explosive row. Being unable to speak you mind for fear of the consequences.

Unstable and unbalanced mood swings that are taken out on you.

Being forced to have sex against your will, or inflicting pain during sex.

Regular extramarital affairs.

Emotional blackmail, for instance, threatening to commit suicide if you say you want to leave the relationship.

Accessing your phone and emails without your permission.

Giving you the silent treatment if they don’t get their own way.

Constant hurtful and shaming criticism.

Extreme negative reaction/anger when criticized.

Inundating you with phone calls and texts throughout the day and night.

Threatening to withdraw their love as a means to control.

Huge acts of kindness following periods of physical or mental abuse, which only serves to continue the cycle of abuse.

Regularly playing the victim to generate sympathy and excuse bad behavior.

Regular grand promises of change following abusive behavior, that is never forthcoming.

Controllers and abusers never take responsibility for their actions. They only look to place the blame on others.

Abusers often ‘love bomb’ at the start of a relationship. They are overly effusive with declarations of undying love and how you are ‘everything they have ever wanted’. The relationship usually progresses particularly quickly.

If you recognize many of the above characteristics, then the chances are that you are in an abusive relationship. Couples counselling is not effective for abusive relationships as abuse is not a relationship problem.
The abuser seeks to control the sessions, and the abused partner is unable to speak their mind for fear of repercussions after the session.

How to recover from an abusive relationship

I have worked with many people to help them overcome the damage and trauma caused from an abusive relationship. It is important to be very clear that a full and positive recovery is absolutely possible. Research shows that people that do not seek help after being in an abusive relationship are far more likely to enter another one. Knowledge is power. It is when we are able to fully understand and process our negative experiences that we are able to transform them.


"I came to see Liz after an abusive relationship had left me lost, broken and utterly depleted. She helped me to fully process what had happened to me. She enabled me to believe in myself again. She taught me the relationship skills that have led me to be the happily married woman I am today. I would not hesitate to recommend Liz to anyone suffering the desperation of abuse."




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