No relationship is perfect, but when do you know that your love life is spiralling out of control? When should you say: love should not be this difficult?

Every relationship has its ups and downs: the battles; the arguments; the tears; the screaming. When you put your heart (and assets and finances and happiness) into someone else’s hands, you have to fight tooth and nail to make sure you get out alive.

But some relationships go further than that. Some relationships become violent, abusive and psychologically destructive. The worst part of it all is that – most of the time – people don’t realise how detrimental their relationship is until it’s too late, and the light at the end of the tunnel becomes a barred window.


Here are five signs that you’re heading towards that cell. And, as a woman who has seen many of her friends incarcerate themselves into a life full of misery and pain, I hope you will take heed.

Language: Yes, bombs and rifles can kill many, but it’s that ‘go ahead’ that truly causes the chain reaction. Language is power – and the way for you to know where your life is heading is by listening. Does your partner put you down? Does he or she constantly criticise you? Scream at you? Call you names? Make you feel like dirt? The first time, confront; the second, start getting worried.

Possessiveness: We all get jealous; it’s human nature. When I get jealous, I might spend an hour irritated at my partner (or put something revealing on and reassert my position in his life). Sometimes, though, people get jealous to the point of possessiveness. They don’t like it when you leave the house and they want an itinerary of where you’ve been, what you’ve seen and whom you’ve spoken to when you do. They read your texts and ask you questions that breach your privacy to the point where you are not a free person, anymore. Never let this happen.

Personality: A person who is violent, abusive or possessive will be the same with people in his or her life and the things he or she owns. If your partner is a total arse to the people in his or her life, if he or she doesn’t understand that sometimes he or she may be wrong – then you should start looking out for yourself. Yes, it might not turn into something worse, but you never know!

Vices: Most people are not alcoholics or drug addicts; and not everyone who is, gets violent. But as things go, people who are under the influence are more likely to become violent – and, what’s worse, they might not even know it. Always make sure that you monitor your partner’s behaviour particularly if they are coming home drunk, night after night.


Violence: If he or she hits you once, rest assured it will happen again. When it comes to violence in a relationship, adopt a zero-tolerance policy.

“You touch me once, I’ll phone the police and leave your sorry ass!”

Remember: A smack in the face today can turn into much more in the future. NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER look away from violence – the next time may be too late.

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you should seek help immediately.

For persons residing in Malta: The best place to call is Agenzija Appogg on 22959000 or call on helpline 179.