• Paul Radkowski


Safety first. If you are in an unsafe emotional or physical environment make sure that you create a safety plan consisting of safe places to go like the park, home of a friend, family or shelter as well as safe people to call such as emergency services, friends, family, or a neighbour. The key here is to remove yourself from the situation if you are in immediate emotional or physical danger. There are a number of services that can offer support. Most importantly, if you’re currently fearful or you believe you’re in danger, contact emergency services immediately.

Forms of abuse. There are many types of abuse that can occur in any kind of relationship whether it’s platonic, romantic, personal or professional. All of these forms of abuse come from a desire for power and control. This list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship dynamic. The more matches on the page, the more dangerous the situation may be.

Emotional and Economic Attacks

Destructive Criticism/Verbal Abuse: Name-calling, mocking, accusing, blaming, yelling, swearing, making humiliating remarks, or gestures.

Pressure Tactics: Rushing you to make decisions through “guilt-tripping” and other forms of intimidation; sulking; threatening to withhold money; manipulating the children; telling you what to do.

Abusing Authority: Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are “the truth”); telling you what to do; making big decisions; using “logic”.

Disrespect: Interrupting; changing topics, not listening or responding; twisting your words; putting you down in front of other people; saying bad things about your friends and family.

Gaslighting and manipulation: Undermining your reality by denying facts or your feelings by trying to influence how they think you should feel by dismissing your feelings as “crazy,” “dramatic,” “overreacting,” or “emotional” while refusing to take responsibility for their actions, how they make you feel as “your fault”.

Abusing Trust: Lying; withholding information; cheating on you; being overly jealous.

Breaking Promises: Not following through on agreements; not taking a fair share of responsibility; refusing to help with childcare or housework.

Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings; not giving support, attention, or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: Making light of behaviour and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse did not happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behaviour; saying you caused it.

Economic Control: Interfering with your work or not letting you work; refusing to give you or taking your money; taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car; threatening to report you to welfare or other social service agencies.

Self-Destructive Behaviour: Abusing drugs or alcohol or engaging in other self destructive behaviour (ie gambling, disordered eating, cutting etc); having severe mental health symptoms without seeking treatment (ie major depression, anxiety, bipolar etc); threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm; deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g. telling off the boss).

Isolation: Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go.

Harassment: Making uninvited visits or calls; following you; checking up on you; embarrassing you in public; refusing to leave when asked.

Acts of Violence

Intimidation: Making angry or threatening gestures; use of physical size to intimidate; standing in doorway during arguments; out-shouting you; driving recklessly.

Destruction: Destroying your possessions (eg. furniture); punching walls; throwing and/or breaking things.

Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.

Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.

Physical Violence: Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others; slapping; punching; grabbing; kicking; choking; pushing; biting; burning; stabbing; shooting; etc.

Weapons: Use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you; threatening or attempting to kill you or those you lo