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Common Warning Signs of Abuse

warning signs of abuse

The following list can help you determine whether you or someone you care about is involved in an abusive relationship. Not all of these characteristics need to be present for a relationship to be abusive, and characteristics by themselves do not necessarily indicate abuse.

A relationship may be abusive if your partner…

  • Feels he/she has the right to dictate your behavior, privileges, or responses and opinions
  • Demonstrates ownership of you or extreme possessiveness; says things like “I can’t live without you,” or “You are my whole world.”
  • Blames you for her/his problems or behavior
  • Isolates you – doesn’t allow you to see your family or friends
  • Needs to constantly know your whereabouts; expects you to spend all of your free time with him/her
  • Humiliates you in public
  • Forces you to have sex or perform sexual acts
  • Insists on controlling all of the money, both yours and his/hers
  • Refuses to let you go to work or, at the other extreme, forces you to work
  • Has no regard for your physical or mental health
  • Criticizes your appearance, weight, clothes, etc.
  • Pressures you to live together or get married before you are ready
  • Angers easily
  • Becomes angry when you have a different opinion than he/she does or you don’t take his/her advice
  • Shows jealousy toward your children, family, friends or job
  • Suggests reasons for you to fear ending the relationship
  • Dual personality, i.e., charming in public, aggressive in private
  • Displays violent behavior toward other people
  • Disregards the law; feels he/she is above the law
  • Doesn’t want you to know about his/her past
  • Blames all past relationship problems on the ex-partner
  • Has a record or history of domestic violence
  • Is abusive towards animals