Recognizing abuse is the first step in trying to escape it, but it’s not always easy to identify those warning signs, especially at the beginning of a relationship. In order to spot warning signs of abuse, first we have to understand what domestic violence is and what it looks like. Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship (National Domestic Violence Hotline).
Every relationship is different and domestic violence doesn’t always look the same, but abusive relationships always involve an imbalance of power and control. While there are some relationships that are clearly abusive from the beginning, abuse can also start subtly and get worse over time, making it more difficult to spot. Being able to recognize some common signs of abusive behavior will aid in identifying unhealthy relationships in life.
Common signs of abusive behavior often include:
- Preventing or discouraging you from being with friends, family, or peers
- Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, specifically in front of others
- Controlling your finances
- Acts jealous or possessive
- Sexual assault - forces/coerces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will
- Blames you for their violent behavior
While these are some of the common signs, there are many other factors that could point to abuse. Staying educated is one of the best ways to help yourself and your loved ones avoid unhealthy and abusive relationships. To learn more, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Mayo Clinic’s websites.
Understand Relationship Abuse. (2021, January 27).
Recognize the signs of domestic violence against women. (2020, February 25).