What are the signs of abuse?

In a perfect world, we’d be able to spot an abuser before we sat down for our first dinner date. Unfortunately,  it isn’t that simple. If you ask a domestic violence survivor how their abusive relationship was in the beginning, you may find that she/he believed it to be everything they had ever dreamed of.  Chances are they’ll tell you it wasn’t until later that they saw another side of their partner or spouse. The truth is that there are common red flags in abuse that are often missed or dismissed as the relationship progresses.  Abuse may begin with a “slip of the tongue”—name calling, threats, and accusations. Behavior the abuser may apologize for and/or downplay as a joke, an accident or simply something being taken the wrong way. It may continue—in time progressing to controlling behavior, i.e., alienating the victim from their friends and family by demanding all of their free time. Domestic violence escalates and intensifies in severity; oftentimes evolving from verbal and emotional abuse to physical violence and beyond.


Sound familiar?  If so, please talk to someone today.  Remember, love shouldn’t hurt! 

  • Jealous of time spent away with family and friends
  • Alienating from family and friends
  • Accusations of infidelity
  • Excessive monitoring of who their partner talks to (in person, on the phone, social media)
  • Constant interrogations
  • Name calling
  • Making demeaning or belittling comments
  • Embarrassing their partner in private or public
  • Criticizing everything their partner does
  • Uses partner’s religious beliefs to control, manipulate or shame them
  • Playing the “blame game” and/or not taking responsibility for his/her own actions
  • Using personal information against their partner for blackmail
  • Twisting words and/or making their partner feel “crazy” (gaslighting)
  • Threatening to harm themselves to keep the partner from leaving
  • Controlling finances by limiting or withholding access or creating financial burdens
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Pushing
  • Forcing unwanted sexual acts or intercourse
  • Coercing partner into initiating, keeping or terminating a pregnancy
  • Choking
  • Biting
  • Spitting
  • Pulling hair
  • Restraining or hindering their partner from leaving
  • Damaging property, i.e., punching walls, breaking phones
  • Stalking
  • Harassing the partner at their place of work
  • Threatening to use or using weapons
  • Threatening to harm their partner, family, friends or pets

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