Everyone has arguments, and everyone disagrees with their partners, family members and friends close to them from time to time.

But if this begins to form a consistent pattern and you feel afraid of your partner, then this in a sign of abuse. You may feel like you have no power over your life and that you are being controlled by your partner.

Abuse can take several different forms and may not always be easy to spot. These are the three most recognisable types – emotional abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using words to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or manipulate another person.

Signs of emotional abuse include swearing, insults, having thoughts and opinions that are constantly rejected and being embarrassed or humiliated in public. This is one of the more difficult types to recognise so it is important.

In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying that wears down a person’s self-esteem. This type of abuse can have the most long- lasting damage.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is the use of physical force on someone in a way that hurts or endangers them. This is also known as domestic abuse. It can start as one slap or hit which gradually gets worse over time.

Examples include slapping, pinching, hitting, choking, or kicking.

Physical abuse is often used by the perpetrator to inflict fear and confidence when they are being challenged. It may not always leave a bruise or mark but can leave long term effects on a person’s mental wellbeing.

Sexual abuse

Any situation where one person is forced to participate in sexual relations without their consent. It can also refer to behaviour that restricts control during sexual activity or the situations it takes place.

Examples of sexual abuse can include unwanted kissing or touching, inappropriate touching or unwatched rough or violent acts. It can also include pressuring one person into having sex or performing certain acts, such as oral sex.