It is quite usual in close relationships and families to have disagreements and arguments from time to time and to say things to each that are hurtful when we are upset. If you are going through family separation it can be a difficult time for everyone and arguments can sometimes escalate to the point of physical violence.
If this is happening in your situation, it is important to understand what is going on and find ways of preventing it from escalating further. It is also important to understand whether there is a pattern of violence being used, either by yourself or your partner, that is dangerous and cause for concern about health and well being.
By answering the following questions you will be able to decide whether the violence in your family is being caused by the situation that you are in now and which is likely to stop when your circumstances change or whether it is something more serious that needs immediate action.
A. Have either of you made it difficult for the other to see their family or friends, have you felt like isolating your partner or been made to feel isolated in your relationship?
B. Do either of you check up on the other by text or by checking each other's mobile phone or the mileage on the car. Do you feel that either of you are excessively suspicious or jealous?
C. Do either of you put the other one down, call each other names, ridicule each other in front of other people? Is this a regular part of your relationship which does not stop even if you ask for it to?
D. Have either of you kept the other short of money so that you are unable to buy food for yourself or the children?
E. Have either of you threatened to physically hurt each other, have either of you threatened to hurt the children.
F. Would you say that either of you is afraid of the other? Are your children afraid of either of you?
If you have answered 1 to all of the questions...
it may mean that, although things might be difficult for you at the moment, your relationship has not become abusive. Even though that may be the case, many parents who are separating or thinking about separating have found that talking to someone else can help them manage how the feel and to communicate better.
If you have answered a mixture of 1, 2 and 3 to the questions...
it may mean that, when things become very tense and difficult between you, there have been occasions when one or both of you has become verbally and/or physically abusive. Many parents who are separating or thinking about separating have found that talking to someone can help them manage how the feel, communicate better and stop strong feelings boiling over (see links on the previous page for managing anger).
If your answers included two or more 3s and/or one or more 4s...
it is likely that you are experiencing a type of family violence which is serious and which has been ongoing throughout your relationship. This type of violence is often referred to as domestic violence and abuse. You may identify yourself as the person who is the cause of the abuse, if this is the case then it is important that you get help. If you are the person who is being abused, you will be able to get support from: