Quite often in an abusive relationship there will be warning signs. An abuser can exhibit any one, or more, of these signs. One thing that will be consistent, however, will be the fact that he uses fear and intimidation to control his victim.
This following list identifies certain behaviors which could indicate the presence of a volatile relationship. Keep in mind that these are warning signs only, and not always indicative that abuse is taking place. You should use judgment before accusing others.
Anyone can find themselves in an abusive relationship. If your partner displays one or more of the following, you may be the victim of abuse (the word “he” is used throughout this page for ease of reading only):
- Physically Abuse
If he hits you once, it will be easier for him to hit you a second time. Also, if he has physically abused past partners, there is a high probability he will abuse you.
- Verbal Abuse
He may disrespect you by putting you down in front of others, use abusive language toward you, ignore you, or tell you what you should think, feel, and say.
- Extreme Jealousy
Your partner gets angry when you do well, make friends, or want some alone-time. Often he will accuse you of having an affair when you want to go out.
- Multiple Personalities
You may notice that he will be nice one second and then abusive the next. He may be so nice to others that no one could ever believe he’s an abuser.
More often than not, your partner tries to keep you from seeing family and friends. He may discredit their advise or even encourage you to turn against them.
- Threats and Coercion
He often tries to coerce you into doing things that you don’t want to do. If you refuse he may throw a guilt trip, or even manipulate the children. If this does not work, he may progress to threatening harm to you, the children, or other family members. He may even threaten suicide.
- Complete Control
Your partner tries to control your every action. He tells you how to dress, what to eat, who you can and can not see, insists on driving you wherever you want to go, won’t let you see the finances, etc.
- Property Destruction
When he is angry, he will damage things of his and yours.
- Bad Temper
You are afraid of his temper.
- Low Self-Esteem of the Victim
You feel that you deserve bad treatment and that you are lucky to have him in your life.
He blames you for the abuse; you caused him to do it. He may even blame you for all of his problems.
- Substance Abuse
Substance abuse and domestic violence are two separate problems. Drugs and alcohol do not cause one to become an abuser, and an abuser does not have to be an addict. More often than not, even though there is no correlation between the two, both problems co-exist within an abusive relationship.