SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
- feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
- avoid certain
topics out of fear of angering your partner?
- feel that you
can’t do anything right for your partner?
- believe that
you deserve to be hurt or mistreated? wonder if
you’re the one who is crazy?
emotionally numb or helpless?
Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Does your partner:
- humiliate, criticize, or yell at you?
- treat you so
badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family
- ignore or put
down your opinions or accomplishments?
- blame you
for his own abusive behavior?
- see you as
property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or
- have a bad and unpredictable temper?
- hurt you, or
threaten to hurt or kill you?
- threaten to
take your children away or harm them?
- threaten to
commit suicide if you leave?
- force you
to have sex?
- destroy your
Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:
- act excessively jealous and possessive?
- control where
you go or what you do?
- keep you from
seeing your friends or family?
- limit your
access to money, the phone, or the car?
check up on you?
has one purpose: to maintain total control of the victim. In addition
to physical violence, abusers may use the following tactics to exert
power and control:
- Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel
in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and
the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without
question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even
as his possession
- Humiliation — An abuser will do everything he
can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way.
After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will
want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling,
shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to
erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless
- Isolation — In order to increase your
dependence on him, an abusive partner will cut you off from the
outside world. He may keep you from seeing family or friends, or
even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask
permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.
- Threats — Abusers commonly use threats to
keep their victims from leaving or to scare them into dropping
charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your
children, other family members, or even pets. He may also threaten
to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to
child protective services.
- Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety
of intimation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such
tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing
things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or
putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't
obey, there will be violent consequences.
- Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at
making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive
and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the
victims of their abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny
that it occurred. He will commonly shift the responsibility onto
you: somehow, his violence and abuse is your fault.
© 2009 The Savannah Chatham Family Violence Council Web Site by Studio Martin
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