Are you in an abusive relationship?

Do you feel worried or nervous around your partner? Do they twist your words, put you down, threaten or physically hurt you?

If yes, then these are just some of the signs you could be in an abusive relationship and need help to get out.

When Love Bites is a brand new book for young people just like you. It’s broken into short, easy-to-read sections that explain the different types of abusive behaviour, what it feels like to be on the receiving end and what to do about it.

You can either read it from cover to cover or dip in and out of the bits that are relevant to you.

It can be hard to admit something isn’t right in your relationship – especially if no one else can see it. But When Love Bites will help you to understand what’s happening, reassure you that it’s not your fault and – most importantly – give you the tools and confidence to leave safely. 

Coercive and toxic behaviours are pretty common in young people’s relationships, so you are not alone and it doesn’t mean you have to put up with it.


The must-have relationship manual for:

Young People – Teens to 25-year-olds start here

Parents, carers & family members start here

Teachers, youth workers & counsellors start here

Young people will stay with a partner after the first hit, slap or punch

When Love Bites will help you if you’re experiencing – or have experienced – any of the following: 


Your partner sulks if they don’t get their own way?


Your partner makes out everything is your fault


Your partner expects you to have sex whenever they want it?


Your partner scares or hurts you?


You want to leave a relationship but don’t know how

“One of the biggest things that struck me when reading ‘When Loves Bites’ was the inclusivity Cathy writes with. She makes sure to never affiliate the controller with men, nor women to the victim. In doing this, not only is Cathy able to include male victims of domestic abuse but also include the LGBTQ+ community.

The book works to open a dialogue on relationship abuse, a subject most shy away from. In Cathy’s unique ability to include all genders and types of relationships, she starts a conversation that will have a lasting effect not just in heterosexual relationships, but for those across the LGBTQ+ community. This book can start a new safe space for domestic abuse victims and survivors.

In splitting the stages of a relationship up and helping to identify key characteristics of the controller, ‘When Loves Bites’ helped me understand what may not have been right in my previous relationships and showed me how it has affected me since – something I may not have properly come to terms with. In also showing what the ‘Loving Partner’ does as opposed to the different categories of the controller, it has helped me look holistically at what a healthy relationship should look like, so I don’t fall into the same trap again in the future.”

James 19yrs

“I love how colourful and easy to read When Love Bites is. It’s helped me to know what to look for in a partner and what isn’t good in a relationship. I like that it includes how to deal with feelings and developing confidence which I think is very helpful. I know I can come back to the book when I need to, to remind myself of what I’ve learnt from the book. I think the safety plan will help lots of people in toxic relationships.”

Anonymous, 16yrs 


Spot the signs of abuse and learn how to tackle it

Have you noticed that your teen or young person has become more withdrawn? 

Do they seem jumpy, nervous or on edge? Maybe they’re extra defensive or seem more secretive than normal?

Changes in behaviour are part and parcel of growing up but they can also be a sign that something is seriously wrong.

If you’re concerned that a new or existing relationship is affecting your child’s wellbeing you need to know how to handle the situation calmly and sensitively

When Love Bites will give you the tools and support you need to keep the lines of communication open and will help you to understand and talk about issues you might find uncomfortable.




They’re tearful and unhappy


Their behaviour towards food / body image has changed


They’ve changed the way they look


They’re constantly on the phone as soon as they receive a message


They appear constantly anxious


They argue more and accuse you of not understanding them


When Love Bites is a must-have tool for parents and anyone that works with young people, this book helps recognise relationship abuse whilst also looking at what a healthy relationship should be. As a parent, I found this book to be supportive and enlightening. Bright and bold, easy to read with amazing illustrations. A true relationship bible suitable for all ages.”   

Anonymous, Mother


When Love Bites is a vital resource for parents on such an important topic. Reading the book was the perfect opportunity to start a really worthwhile conversation with my daughter – thank you Cathy for such a brilliant book!” 

Hannah Martin, Mother



Spot the signs of abuse and learn how to tackle it

Has a young person confided in you about the problems they’re facing in their relationship?

Have you found it difficult to discuss abusive or coercive relationships with them without them backing off?

Then When Love Bites is for you.

Based on the principles of the highly acclaimed Escape The Trap programme, When Love Bites is an incredible resource for all professionals who work with young people. 

Whether you’re a teacher, youth worker, police officer or counsellor, When Love Bites gives you everything you need to help young people deal with physical and sexual violence and controlling and coercive behaviour.

The book offers clear and straightforward explanations, information and advice in a colourful, accessible and engaging way.


“We’re currently experiencing an increase in young people coming to us looking for support regarding relationship abuse in their own romantic relationships. The way it is written is clear and easy to understand and unpicks manipulative strategies and behaviours really well, I think it will become a well-used resource in our service.”

Becky Quilliam, Family Outreach and CYP Service Manager, Stirling and District Women’s Aid


“At last, a book that speaks to young people about abusive behaviour – it’s a relationship manual must-have! For many years I have worked with victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse and so many of them have said to me ‘I wish I had been taught about relationships at school!’ This book is an absolute must for all young people and anyone that supports them, written with compassion and passion for proactively tackling abusive behaviour.”

Paula Devaux, Domestic Abuse Specialist Trainer & Consultant


“I’m writing to say how brilliant your new book is. I received my copy last week and it is an amazing resource. This book may have been a long time coming but it was worth the wait.”

K A, Lighthouse



When Love Bites is split into two parts. 

  • Part 1 helps you to spot controlling and coercive behaviour, explains why an abuser may behave the way do and reveals how their behaviour might make you feel
  • Part 2 gives you practical tools and ideas for leaving an abusive relationship safely – even if your controlling partner tries to change your mind

You can either read When Love Bites from cover to cover or dip in and out of  the chapters you relate to most. 

Let’s take a closer look…

Part 1: Recognise Controlling Behaviours

Cover of When Love Bites by Cathy Press

Chapter 1: Control In Relationships. Discover the difference between controlling and coercive behaviour and find out if your partner is using these tactics to abuse you.


Chapter 2: The Partner. Learn what a healthy relationship should feel like and use the checklist to work out what you want in a loving partner.


Chapter 3: The Controller. We reveal the five different characters of an abusive partner – aka The Controller – the Charmer, the Bully, the Mindmixer, The Taker and The Keeper. 

Chapters 4 – 8: Taking each ‘character’ in turn, chapters 4 – 8 spell out the classic abusive behaviours of each character, explain why they act the way they do and how it might make you feel.

Chapter 4: The Charmer. If you’ve ever been loved-bombed by a new partner who showers you with gifts and compliments – only to become overbearing and controlling – you’ve likely met a Charmer.  

Chapter 5: The Bully. It’s hard to believe the person who claims to love you also wants to hurt you, but that’s what The Bully does. They get angry easily and use fear and violence to get what they want.

Chapter 6: The Mindmixer. As the name suggests, The Mindmixer is all about playing mind games. Bit by bit they chip away at your sense of self until, eventually, you don’t trust your own judgement anymore.

Chapter 7: The Taker. In Chapter 7 we explore the various tactics The Taker might use to achieve their number one goal –  to have sex whether you want to or not.

Chapter 8: The Keeper. The Keeper wants you all to themself and will do everything they can to turn you against your friends and family. By isolating you, they can control you. 

Chapter 10: Contains a handy checklist for each character type for you to refer back to.

Part 2: Take Back Control

Cover of When Love Bites by Cathy Press

Chapter 10: Dealing With Feelings Of Overwhelm. Discover the simple strategies that will help you stay calm when you’re anxious, overwhelmed or panicky.

Chapter 11: Developing Your Self Esteem & Confidence. It’s hard to believe you’ll ever feel ‘normal’ after leaving an abusive relationship. But you can and will with the tips in this chapter.

Chapter 12. Staying Safe Online. Find out how to protect yourself from an abusive partner or ex-partner online. Includes the apps you can use to stay safe.

Chapter 13: What If I Want To Leave? Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult and scary. Find out how your controlling partner might react when you try to leave. Fill in the Safety Plan to protect yourself from potential danger.

By the end of When Love Bites you’ll recognise and understand the following controlling and coercive behaviours:

Cover of When Love Bites by Cathy Press



  • Love bombing

  • Grooming

  • Gaslighting

  • Passive-aggressive behaviour

  • Stalking

  • Physical abuse

  • Verbal abuse 

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional manipulation & control

  • Online abuse

Meet the author

Hi, I’m Cathy Press, an experienced psychotherapist and clinical supervisor who helps young people and adults deal with the impact of physical and emotional abuse.

As a young person in an abusive relationship myself, I believed the dreadful things my partner did to me were my fault. I didn’t tell anyone what was happening and thought I deserved to be treated that way.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of young people who have shared similar experiences. 

They’ve told me they wished someone had noticed what was happening, warned them about a partner or talked openly to them about coercive and controlling behaviour.

And that’s why I’ve written When Love Bites. I want our experiences to give you the tools to recognise and avoid relationships that are hurting you.

When Love Bites is an invaluable tool for parents, carers and professionals who can use it to support young people to free themselves from the devastating impact of abuse.


“If you think you’re in a toxic relationship, if your friend or loved one is, or if you have a young daughter or son about to enter into relationships, I just recommend it to everyone. I’m so pleased Cathy wrote this book and hope as many people as possible read it.”

Rachel Riley, TV personality

When Love Bites is packed with practical wisdom to help anyone identify the dynamics of power imbalances in their relationship. Identifying the many guises and behaviours of your partner, and where these beliefs come from, enables you to distinguish whether your relationship is unhealthy.”

Celia Peachey, Founder & CEO of Ultimate Alchemist


How do I know if I’m in a toxic relationship?

Does your partner make you feel anxious or scared? Do they get angry or moody when you don’t do what they want? Have they slowly cut you off from your friends and family? 


These are just a few of the signs that your relationship is unhealthy. When Love Bites is packed with ideas and examples of what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship and – if you recognise any of the situations as your own – it will help you to consider how to leave your relationship safely and where to look for support.


How will When Love Bites help me?

When Loves Bites spells out the types of behaviours you might be experiencing in your relationship and explains why they are wrong. It will help you to make sense of your feelings and give you practical tips for dealing with, and moving on from, abuse.


I’m worried about my friend / child. Will this book help?

Yes. When Love Bites is for anyone who is in a harmful relationship – or knows someone who is. The book sets out practical advice on spotting abusive behaviour and the impact it may have on the abused partner, their mental health and emotional well-being.


Can this book be used in a professional agency?

Yes, in fact, many professional agencies – including schools, colleges, universities, counselling practices and domestic abuse centres – have already ordered multiple copies of When Love Bites so that they can help young people in abusive relationships.


How much does When Love Bites cost?

When Love Bites costs £14.99

Postage & Packing:

1+ books £6.00
3+ books £9.00
6+ books £12.00
8+ books £15.00
10+ books 20.00
If you require a larger quantity of books please contact us directly at: admin@awarenessmatters.co.uk
U.S. Postage
1 book £19.00
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