What Does An Abusive Relationship Look Like?
Warning Signs and Red Flags
It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive.
In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.
If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call or chat online with an advocate to talk about what’s going on.
- Telling you that you can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
Does your partner ever….
- Embarrass you with put-downs?
- Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
- Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
- Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
- Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
- Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
- Make all of the decisions?
- Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
- Prevent you from working or attending school?
- Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
- Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
- Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
- Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?
- Threaten to commit suicide, or threaten to kill you?
If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In this section, you’ll find more information on the types of abuse, why people abuse and why it’s so difficult to leave. Don’t hesitate to chat or call us (1-800-799-SAFE) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. How is it defined?
Why Do People Abuse?
Abuse is about power and control.
Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, it’s hard to understand why it’s so difficult to leave.
Victims of domestic violence in the LGBTQIA communities often experience abuse in ways that are specific and unique to these communities.
Abuse and Immigrants
Everyone has the right to live life free of abuse. Immigrants in the US may have specific concerns about getting help.
What is a Healthy Relationship?
What does a “healthy” relationship look like? In a relationship, who decides what is healthy and what isn’t?