What does domestic violence look like? This is not a question we usually ask ourselves when beginning a new relationship. Most abusive relationships do not start out as severe physical violence, as domestic violence is commonly associated with. In fact, abusive partners are often charming and nearly perfect in their displays of affection for their partner, initially. Forms of abuse are most often escalating patterns of control an abusive partner begins to exert over their partner during a relationship.
When things turn, it’s important to realize the subtle signs that may have built up over time to transpire into more severe forms of abuse. As abusive patterns of behavior intensify throughout the course of a relationship, it can be confusing to try to understand what happened or if the signs were always there.
While domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship, there are signs, or red flags, which you can learn to identify that are commonly associated with the dynamic of power and control an abusive partner tries to maintain over their partner. If you feel you are in an unhealthy relationship, recognizing these red flags can be crucial in order to remove yourself from an escalating situation and take care of your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.
Some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
- Wants to move quickly into the relationship
- Does not respect your boundaries
- Calls, texts, or checks up on you frequently to know where you are at all times
- Shows extreme jealousy and possessiveness
- Discourages you from seeing friends or family
- Insults, criticizes or embarrasses you
- Controls what you wear
- Makes you feel like your feelings, opinions and needs are unimportant
- Does not take responsibility for their behavior and blames others
- Prevents you from making your own decisions
- Destroys your property or makes threats to hurt your pets
- Controls your money or runs up your credit card debt
- Pressures you to do drugs, alcohol, or sexual activity you are uncomfortable with
- Blames you for things and makes you feel like you are wrong or crazy
- Prevents you from working, going to school, or maintaining your hobbies
- Threatens to take away your children or tells you that you are a bad parent
- You begin to make excuses for their behavior
- Uses guns, knives or other weapons to intimidate you
If you or someone you know may be experiencing one or more of these red flags, reach out to a Radiant Futures advocate for support. If you’re unsure if you’re in a healthy relationship or have questions about red flags, call Radiant Futures’s 24-hr hotline: 877-531-5522. No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship. Learn how to get support at www.wtlc.org