Many assume that an abusive relationship starts out that way, this is not the case. It comes on slowly, so slowly that you wake up one morning (if you’re lucky) and don’t recognise the person sleeping next to you. The key is having a good support system, good people around you that can help you escape the abusive situation. Abusive relationships are not always obvious, however, there are signs that can help in identifying your or your loved one’s relationship as abusive. The next step is to begin to seek help from a family law lawyer to obtain a domestic violence Order, so as to put space between the abusive relationship and you.

It is crucial to know that it is not your fault. Blame is a weapon used by an abusive partner as a scare tactic and if you are told something often enough, you begin to believe it. If you can begin to recognise such tactics for what they are, your journey will be that much easier without the self-hatred.

Questions to Ask

  • Does your partner try to control your behaviour?
  • Does your partner ever threaten to harm you, your pets, friends or family?
  • Are you scared of your partner?


An abusive relationship isn’t just limited to physical violence. It can include sexual, emotional and physical abuse, and may involve control of your finances. Here are some signs to look for.

  1. Possessiveness

If they need to constantly know where you are, what you’re doing and who you are with. They additionally control these aspects and grow angry when they feel that you are not obeying.

  1. Jealousy

They monopolise your time and accuse you of being unfaithful out of sheer paranoia. If they isolate you from friends and family as another form of control and a need for your sole attention to be on them.

  1. Belittling

If your partner constantly puts you down by saying things like, “no-one likes you” or “who else would put up with you”. They do this through attacking your intelligence, appearance or your abilities. The blame is solely placed on you for anything that goes wrong, even a violent outburst.

  1. Threats

If they threaten to harm a family member, friend or pet to keep you in line. This can be any outburst that involves throwing objects in your vicinity or intimidation through body movements, such as raising his hand in warning.

  1. Violent tendencies

If your partner pushes, shoves, hits or grabs you. They may even force you into sexual situations or other acts you don’t want to do. They could harm those close to you.

Course of Action

If you find that your partner exhibits any one of these signs, then the next course of action would be to seek help. You can do this by finding a support system to give you strength and obtain a Protection Order to achieve a safe distance from your partner. Once you are safe, contact a family law lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

South Africa is one of the highest-ranked country involving incidences of domestic violence and it is the most common human rights abuse in the country. Every day, women are threatened, assaulted, and murdered by their partners, in the “safety” of their own homes.

Don’t be a casualty of this abuse.

Are you looking for an attorney in Durban? We have a team of experienced attorneys, each of them equipped to help you with your needs. Contact Durban Law Offices on 031 836 0307 or email us at so that one of our attorneys may assist and/or provide you with advice.