Warning Signs of Abuse

Some warning signs of abuse in the home or in a relationship include:

  • Pushing for quick involvement: Comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.”
  • Jealousy: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone.”
  • Controlling Behavior: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to do anything.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.
  • Isolation: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who support you of “causing trouble.”
  • Blaming others for problems or mistakes: It’s always someone else’s fault when anything goes wrong.
  • Making others responsible for his or her feelings: The abuser says, “You make me angry,” instead of “I am angry,” or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.”
  • Hypersensitivity: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad.
  • Cruelty to animals or children: Kills or punishes animals brutally.  Also, may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry.
  • Use of force during sex: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex.
  • Verbal abuse: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things, degrades, curses, calls you ugly names.
  • Rigid roles: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.
  • Sudden mood swings: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
  • Past battering: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person “made” him (or her) do it.
  • Threats of violence: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “I didn’t really mean it.”
  • Controlling behaviors using social media or technology: Listen to the following PSA.

Want to learn more about domestic violence? You can see our educational presentation topics here. To schedule a presentation on DV 101 for your school, workplace, or organization, click here.

Women’s Advocates’ outreach and education programming is supported by the Verizon Hope Line.