Abuse can involve physical violence, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping or pressuring you into sex. But there are other forms of abuse too.
Emotional and verbal abuse can involve your boyfriend or girlfriend:
- Saying things that make you feel small, whether you're alone or in front of other people
- Pressuring you to do things you don't want to do, including sexual things
- Checking up on you all the time to find out where you are and who you're with – for example, texting or calling you a lot if you're out with your friends
- Threatening to hurt you or someone close to you, including pets
As well as happening when you're together, emotional and verbal abuse can happen on the phone or on the internet.
Behaviour like this is not about love. It's about someone controlling you and making you behave how they want. People who abuse a partner verbally or emotionally may turn to violence later on in the relationship. This kind of controlling behaviour is a big warning sign.
Behaviour like this is not okay, even if some people tell you it is. Violence and abuse in relationships is not normal, it is not "just the way things are" or "messing around". It's a serious issue.
Being hurt emotionally and physically can harm your self-esteem and make you feel anxious, depressed or ill. Young people who are abused can also develop eating disorders, problems with alcohol and drugs, and be at risk of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy from sexual abuse.