Working with domestic abuse offenders for the last six years as a probation worker, I've realized that a lot of the time, people don't even realize they're in bad relationships. I see up to 60 offenders (mostly men) every week on court orders, so I get to know them quite intimately.
They come to me for cognitive behavioral therapy–based programs, and I work with them for up to six months. The priority of our therapy is to make them aware of the harm their behavior can cause, and consider how it's affecting their loved ones.
Many people think abusive relationships all have obvious physical signs. Psychologically abusive behaviors are, more and more, perceived as normal or acceptable.
The shift toward abuse can be slow and insidious, and it won't always be obvious to victims that a relationship is toxic until it results in police involvement, or such depleted self-worth that they don't feel capable of leaving, despite being unhappy.