Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness, or distrust. Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. However, violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser, despite the apologies. What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they love them so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill or hurt the victim or others if they speak to family, friends, etc.).
Know the Signs
Does Not Honor Your Boundaries
- Wants to move too quickly into the relationship
- Excessive jealousy and accuses you of having affairs
- Wants to know where you are all the time
- Calls, emails, and texts you excessively throughout the day
- Insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Dictating how you dress, wear your hair, etc.
- Stalking you or monitoring your every move (in person or also via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or your phone)
- Preventing you from working or attending school, harassing you at either, keeping you up all night so you perform badly at your job or in school
Says One Think & Does Another
- Criticizes you or puts you down; commonly tells you that you’re "crazy," "stupid" and/or "fat"
- Tells you no one else would ever want or love you
- Takes no responsibility for their behavior and blames others
- Will suddenly rage out of control and act impulsively
Past Has Inconsistencies
- Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on their partner; for example, "My ex was a total bitch"
- Has a history of battering
- Grew up in an abusive or violent home
- Seems “Too Good to be True”
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threaten to hurt, kill, or take away your children
- Threatening to hurt or kill your friends, loved ones, or pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives, or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or to do things sexually you are not comfortable with
- Forcing sex with others
- Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control
- Pressuring or forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
- Destroying your property