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Emotional abuse

    The video is currently only available in Swedish.

    Emotional abuse is when words and aggressive behaviour are used to intimidate you and limit your life. It can make you feel afraid, powerless and worthless.

    Examples of emotional abuse:


    Intimidation is when the person you’re with threatens to harm you or themselves if you act in a certain way, for example if you leave. Threats can be used to put pressure on you to do things you don’t want to do.

    Saying they will spread sexual or private images or that they will take their own life if the relationship ends is a common threat. A threat can also be directed at someone who means a lot to you, such as a member of your family or a pet. If you are LGBTQI+ but haven’t yet come out your partner may threaten to out you. If you have a controlling family with strong beliefs and/or a strong honour base your partner may threaten to tell them things about you that they know your family won’t accept. Intimidation is about controlling and scaring someone. Changing the way you live because of the threats is often a strategy used to protect yourself and those close to you, and can lead to you becoming more and more limited in the way you live your life.

    If your partner is making threats you may need support and help to leave them. We are here for you, we will listen and we believe you.


    Does the person you’re with always want to know what you’re doing? Do they check your phone and social media or have opinions about what you share with other people? Does it feel as though they see your friends as a threat to your relationship? Do they want to control what clothes you wear, your style or what you do in your free time?

    All this is controlling behaviour. In the end they may forbid certain things in your life. You may become increasingly isolated as a way to avoid suspicion, accusations and jealousy. Our society, through films, TV series and music, often portrays jealousy as a sign of interest and love. There is also a belief that you should share everything with the person you love. But you have the right to keep things to yourself, like the passwords for your email and social media accounts. It is never acceptable for someone you are with to isolate you or limit your freedom.

    Manipulation and degrading language

    It is common for the abuser to make derogatory and insulting comments. They may do this when it is just the two of you or so that other people can hear, for example they might say that you are ugly, worthless or something else hurtful. Saying things to diminish you, such as that you are sensitive, childish or over-reacting is also common. They may say that it’s all your fault, that you’ve only yourself to blame for the abuse.

    Hearing things like this from the person you’re in a relationship with can make you feel insecure and ashamed. Making your partner feel like that is the opposite of love and respect. It is never your fault that you are subjected to abuse.

    What is a healthy relationship?

      What’s important to you when you’re in a relationship with someone or meet someone new? When is your relationship healthy and when is it unhealthy and not good?

      There is not one answer for everyone, but being able to trust each other and be open and honest with each other is usually a good start. It is also important to be considerate, by listening to and respecting each other. Many people want to feel there is some “chemistry”, that you have fun together and that you can be yourself.

      All relationships have their ups and downs and no relationship is perfect. If your relationship is healthy you will get better at listening to, understanding and communicating with each other. In a healthy relationship you take care of yourself and each other. The relationship is positive (constructive) and gives you energy, instead of being negative (destructive) and taking away your energy.


      The basis for a healthy relationship is that it is mutual, in other words both of you want to be together. One key to a relationship that works is good communication. Good communication means listening to the other person, talking about your own feelings and needs, and resolving any conflicts together. Another key is wanting to get to know yourself better. You have to find out what you need in a relationship. You also have to want to understand the person you’re with, for example that person’s thoughts and expectations.

      When it comes to abuse, on the other hand, it’s important to remember that however much you try to “understand” why someone is jealous or abusive, there’s nothing YOU can do to make it stop. The abuse is not your fault. There may be lots of different explanations but they’re never an excuse for abuse.

      Being with someone is an ongoing project where you always have to be aware of how you are both feeling. You can only do this by communicating, in other words by talking and listening.

      Another thing you can do is ask yourself from time to time how your relationship makes you feel.

      For example, you can think about which three words best describe your relationship:

      Honesty, Humour, Closeness, Accusations, Conversation, Sex, Suspicion, Jealousy, Love, Control, Balance, Equality, Safety, Silent conflicts/treatment, Loud conflicts/arguments/arguments, Time for yourself, Anger, Sadness, Happiness, Insecurity, Anxiety, Lies, Deception, Communication

      Do you know someone who is getting abused by their partner?

        The video is currently only available in Swedish.

        Are you worried about a friend, a family member or someone else close to you? How you react is important and makes a difference to the person who is being abused. Many people tell us how much it meant to them that someone, like a friend, a neighbour, a relative or a classmate, dared to ask and dared to listen.


        Your friend:

        • Is hardly ever able to go to things with you without their partner.
        • Has to constantly answer messages and calls from their partner.
        • Gives up their own interests and spare-time activities.
        • Has a visible injury.
        • Starts avoiding you and other friends.
        • Is often dropped off and picked up by their partner when you meet.
        • Seems stressed and unhappy about their relationship.


        Is your friend being abused emotionally, physically or sexually by the person they’re with? If so, then it’s important you don’t stay silent. Reacting and showing your friend that they have your support is the best thing you can do for them.

        • Tell your friend why you’re worried.
        • Say you’ll be there if and when they want to talk about it.
        • Listen without questioning, putting pressure on them or blaming them.
        • Make it clear that what their partner does is not acceptable.
        • Offer to go to the police station with your friend if they want to report it.
        • Help your friend to find out where they can turn to for support; for example, tell them about
        • Write down the time and place of all the abuse you see or hear, for example if you notice that your friend is being harassed and persecuted, or if you hear threats or physical abuse. This information can be used in a future police report.

        Don’t be surprised if your friend doesn’t seem relieved and happy that you’re trying to help at first, but is irritated, defends the person abusing them and maybe avoids you. This is a common reaction. Don’t give up; try to bring it up again a little later.

        It can be hard to watch someone you know suffering. We can support you. Chat anonymously with us every evening between 20-22. 20-22.

        Are you abusing your partner?

          The video is currently only available in Swedish.

          Have you ever crossed your partner’s emotional, physical, sexual or digital boundaries?

          Emotional abuse might be always wanting to know where your girlfriend or boyfriend is and who they’re with. It can also be threatening to harm them. Sexual abuse is doing something sexual to someone who hasn’t said they agree to it 100%. Physical abuse might be holding someone down, throwing something at them or choking them. Digital absue includes texting the person you’re with all the time to see where they are, logging in to your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s social media account, or using the internet to humiliate or threaten them.

          These examples can also involve someone you’re not in a relationship with but see regularly or sleep with, or someone you used to go out with.

          Is your partner abusing you?

            The video is currently only available in Swedish.


            Is the way the person you’re with treats you affecting your health? Does your partner cross your boundaries and exploit you emotionally, physically, sexually or digitally? Are they very jealous? Being abused or exploited is never acceptable, no matter what the reason is. If you want support and help, or just to talk about it, you can chat with us, and we can also help you to take the next step if you want to meet someone and talk more. You can be anonymous.

            It can be hard to see yourself as a “victim” or someone who has been “subjected to abuse” but being subjected to emotional, physical, sexual or digital abuse says nothing about who you are as a person. You are not your vulnerability to violence. You have done nothing wrong. No matter what the person you’re with says or claims. No matter how jealous they may be. No matter whether you think you “only have yourself to blame” or that you’ve “provoked them” into the abuse. You might feel that the person you’re with is right when they say you’re “confused, hysterical, stupid, useless and that no one will believe you”. We believe you. There’s nothing strange or unusual about you if you feel worthless or can’t put into words what you’ve been through. We will help and support you.


            If you’re worried about what the person you’re with might do to you, or to someone else, take your fear seriously. We are here to support you and help you to protect yourself and to get away from what you are going through. Think about whether there are any other people around you that you could tell.


            You may not feel right now that you want to report the abuse to the police but you may want to do so later. Telling other people around you what is going on is one way, but it’s always a good idea to write down what is happening to you, whether you tell other people or not.

            Write down times and places and a description of how the person you’re with is abusing you. Save texts and images of threats and other things like that. If you can, seek medical help to document any injuries. If that’s not possible, take photos of your injuries yourself, with some kind of object next to them to show, for example, how big any bruises are. For example, put a lighter beside the bruise. All these facts can be used in a future police report even if you don’t want to report it just now.

            If you’re worried that the person you’re with will find what you’ve written down and saved if they often go through your phone or have the password for your accounts, you can create a new, special mail account and send everything there, but remember to delete the mails in your send box from your “ordinary” account along with any images and screenshots from your phone after you’ve sent them.


            Chat with us and we can tell you more about how to file a police report, what happens next and what you need to think about. At the moment we can offer support and information in Swedish and in most cases in English. You can also read more here.

            It can be good to know that you have the right to have counsel for the plaintiff and that you should already have one for the first police interview, and, if possible, when you file the police report. A counsel for the plaintiff represents the victim of a crime and doesn’t cost you anything. If you have been the victim of abuse in an intimate relationship you may have been subjected to different kinds of crime, such as assault, intimidation, molestation and rape. Read more about what these crimes involve here.


            Maybe the person you’re with wants you to have children quickly. You might think this is proof that they “believe” in your relationship or that they want to show they will change. It’s not uncommon for someone who is abusive or controlling to want to have children so they can tie you to them even more closely, and not least to be able to exert even more control.

            Sadly, having children together doesn’t mean the abuse will stop or become less frequent. In our experience, the opposite is unfortunately often true. The abuse begins, or gets worse, when one party is pregnant. It can even be aimed directly at the baby in the form of blows or kicks to the stomach.

            If you are abused by someone with whom you are expecting, or already have, a child you must seek help immediately. Children see and are affected by abuse. They hear, see and are sometimes physically a part of it, for example if they are being held by one of the parents.

            What is abuse in relationships?

              The video is currently only available in Swedish.

              Abuse in young people’s relationships is when a young person abuses their girlfriend, boyfriend or partner or when a young person is abused by the person they are in a relationship with. It can also involve someone they see regularly, sleep with or used to go out with.

              The abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual or digital. Controlling behaviour, making accusations or being aggressive are examples of emotional abuse. The abusee can also be physical, like beating or kicking, or crossing someone’s sexual boundaries or threatening to spread private photos or films on social media. The abuse and the situations can take many different forms. They nearly always include some form of emotional abuse.

              Many people who have been abused say they feel like they’re in a “destructive/toxic relationship” where they are subjected to both minor and serious assault over a long period of time. The abuser exercises power over the other person, by making them feel intimidated, under pressure or insecure. The person being abused may feel they have to change the way they live in order to protect themselves.

              The person who uses abusive behaviour is often the same age or a few years older, but even an age difference of just a few years can affect the balance of power in a relationship; for example, if one person lives at home and goes to school while the other has their own place and is earning money.