Several months ago, I wrote briefly about relationship warning signs. It’s sad but true that a significant percentage of relationships have one partner who shows controlling and/or abusive behavior. While a majority of the time, men are the abusive partner, that is not always the case. In the U.K., one-third to one-half of domestic violence cases involve male victims. And in the U.S., more than 1 in 4 men have experienced “rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.” Abuse is unacceptable no matter who’s on the receiving end of it.
The following will help to put the signs of abuse in a light that might be helpful. Many abusive partners may seem perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Controlling and possessive behaviors don’t always appear right away. They often emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. There’s one thing that most abusive relationships have in common which is that the abusive partner acts in many different kinds of ways in order 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 behaviors to look out for. Watch out for these red flags, and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call a hotline 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 (or anything that might give you independence)
- 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 to do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
It only takes a few red flags from the list above to indicate you are likely in an abusive relationship. There are many resources to help, which includes the National Domestic Violence Hotline or the Love is Respect organization.