Recognizing Warning Signs

Jealous Behavior
Abusive individuals are suspicious and controlling of their partners. They are excessively possessive and call constantly or visit unexpectedly. They are often angry when their partner spends time with family or friends.

Quick Involvement
He comes on strong and may claim, "I've never felt like this about anyone before.” He quickly presses for exclusive commitment.

Isolation
Individuals who abuse often cut their partners off from family and friends. They say, "Those people are a bad influence on you," or accuse her supporters of “causing trouble”. They often prevent her from using the car or the phone. Frequently, those who abuse do not allow their partners to have a job, go to school, or go anywhere alone.

Rigid Gender Roles
Abusers have rigid ideas of what is a woman's "place." He views women as inferior and may talk about them serving, obeying and remaining at home.

Controlling Behavior
Abusive individuals often make all the decisions in the relationship - which friends can visit, what movie to see, where they are going to live. They often tell their partner what to wear and how to parent the children. They also often control all the money.

Past Abuse
If he has been abusive in a past relationship, an abuser will likely be abusive again. "I hit my last girlfriend, but I was really stressed out and it was only once." Stress doesn't cause violence. If he made the choice to be abusive before, there is a good possibility he will choose violence again.

Using "Playful" Force
What may first appear to be playful wrestling, quickly becomes something else. He may hold her down and taunt her when she can't break free. He is letting her know that he is stronger than she is and he can overpower her.

Makes Excuses
Abusive individuals make excuses for their behavior. "I was abused as a child." "I drank and it made me lose my temper." “I ran out of my medication.”

Threats
Threats should be taken seriously. Statements such as "I'll take the children away from you" and "I'm going to break your neck" are intended to control her behavior. Threats are not just "figures of speech" - they are ideas thought of by the abusive person and they could be carried out.

Blames Others
Abuser does not take responsibility for his actions or feelings. It’s always someone else’s fault. "My boss is out to get me." "If you hadn't pushed my buttons, I wouldn't have hit you." "I can't help getting angry – you (or the kids) make me mad."

Minimizes
Abusers minimize their behavior. "I was only joking. You are too sensitive." "I didn't hit you that hard."

Acts Like the Victim
When an abusive individual doesn't get what he wants; he acts as if he is the victim. If his partner uses self-defense, he accuses her of being abusive.

Destroying Property
Abusive individuals often put their fists through the wall or destroy their partner's beloved objects. The message in this behavior is, "I could hurt you like this too."

Abusive to Children
Abusers often have unreal expectations of children. They punish babies for crying or demand small children to sit quietly for long periods of time. They ridicule or "tease" children. A very high percentage of abusive individuals also abuse their children. Even if he does not physically harm the children, they are being harmed when if they are witnessing domestic violence at home.

Abusive to Animals
It is almost certain domestic violence is also occurring in homes in which animals are being abused.

Using Force During Arguments
Abusive individuals often prevent their partners from leaving the room during an argument or hold them down. There is a very high probability they will use further and perhaps greater violence in future arguments.

Using Force in Sex
He may like to act out fantasies of rape and domination during sex. He may be more overt and rape his partner. Abusers often keep their partners up all night begging for sex until they finally give in. Abusive individuals often have sex with their partner while the partner is sick, exhausted, or asleep.