Are you treating a partner, ex partner or family member in a way that's hurting them?

Have you ever felt or said:

  • "When I get angry I just can't control myself."
  • "I don't know, a few drinks and things just get a bit out of hand."
  • "I don't know what she means. I've never hit her. I just pushed her and she fell over."
  • "It's all very well for you to talk about being me being abusive – you don't know what I have to put up with."

What domestic abuse is

Any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults over the age of 16.

Are you being abusive?

You're being abusive if you:

  • Check up on your partner or ex-partner frequently (listening to their phone conversations, checking their car mileage, emails, texts)
  • frequently put your partner or ex-partner down (calling them names, criticising them, humiliating them)
  • try to control your partner or ex-partner (telling them whom they can or can't see, where they can and can't go, what they can or can't wear) 
  • are frightening your partner or ex-partner
  • are being physically violent, emotionally abusive, intimidating or sexually abusive.


What you can do

To prevent the cycle of abuse from repeating itself, here are some immediate ways to cool down:

Ways to cool down

Leave the scene
No matter what the situation is – leave. Go somewhere safe and peaceful to calm down, collect your thoughts, and consider the consequences of your actions.

Slow down – cool down
Focus on something else. Take a brisk walk, listen to music, or exercise.

Talk to someone outside of the situation such as a counsellor at a helpline. Tell them you need to cool down and that it helps to have someone to listen to you.

Tell a friend
Tell a friend you trust what you're doing to slow down and cool down. Remember that alcohol and drugs get in the way of making responsible decisions.

Get help
Take responsibility for changing your own behaviour. Make contact with a group or service who can help you with this.


Get help

It takes strength and courage to be able to take responsibility for your actions and to stop blaming others.

There are groups who provide workshops and support to help you stop this cycle of abuse.


Call Respect on 0808 802 4040 - a confidential and anonymous helpline for anyone concerned about their violence and/or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner.

Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline can also point you to support locally. You can call them on 08 088 088 088 (9am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm on weekends).