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This is control - This is not OK

Relationships can be confusing and it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t normal behaviour.

In a healthy relationship someone shouldn’t try to control you. Healthy relationships are based on equality and respect.

A healthy, supportive relationship is a happy relationship. You should feel loved, safe and free to be yourself.
Controlling behaviour in a relationship is a recognised form of abuse, called Coercive Control.

Coercive control can be difficult to spot but signs could include: 

  • making you feel guilty for spending time with friends
  • threatening to hurt or kill themselves if you break up
  • putting you down all the time, using names like ‘frigid’ or ‘slut’ to control and humiliate you
  • threatening to share intimate information or photos of you
  • wanting to know where you are all the time and getting angry if they’re don’t
  • insisting on having access to your phone or social media accounts 
  • reading your personal messages
  • posting offensive messages in group chats or on social media to your friends
  • pressurising you to ‘sext’ or share nude photos 
  • threatening to spread rumours about you if you won’t consent to sex
  • talking about your sexual performance with friends and passing it off as ‘banter’
  • saying things like “If you loved me you would…”

Watch our campaign film to see examples of controlling behaviour:

Coercive control is a criminal offence. If you, a family member or a friend, are in a controlling relationship, you can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline for 24 hour free advice and support via live web chat or calling 0808 8010 800.

You don’t have to be an ‘official’ couple to experience abuse and it doesn’t matter what your relationship looks like; it can happen to anyone of any gender or sexual orientation. No one has the right to control you or make you do anything that feels wrong and it is never your fault.

Read Sarah's story of surviving coercive control.

Talk to us now

If you or someone you know is a victim of coercive control, we can give you the advice you need.

Get in touch with Live Fear Free advisors free of charge by phone, online chat, text or email.

Concerned about a young person?

Read our guidance for help and advice to support your child or a child close to you. 

This is not OK: Campaign