Common Warning Signs of Abuse

Written By: The Women’s Center staff

November 18, 2020

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 they have 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 their 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 them
  • Humiliates you in public
  • Forces you to have sex or perform sexual acts
  • Insists on controlling all of the money, both yours and theirs
  • 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 they do or you don’t take their 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 they are above the law
  • Doesn’t want you to know about their  past
  • Blames all past relationship problems on the ex-partner
  • Has a record or history of domestic violence
  • Is abusive towards animals

If you recognize any of these unhealthy behaviors in your partner or you feel uneasy about your relationship, you can call our 24-Hour Hotline anytime at 262.542.3828 to speak with someone and get connected to our services.