Red Flags of Abuse

Below you will find a list of common characteristics of an abusive partner. These are “red flags” and should be taken seriously.

  • Pressures you to move fast in a relationship or pushes for immediate commitment.
  • Has been abusive in previous relationships.
  • Believes in stereotypical gender roles and male supremacy, or is domineering.
  • Is continuously jealous and possessive. Isolates you from your friends and family and may try to persuade you not to have a job.
  • Has two sides to his or her personality—others see your partner as a good person, but behind closed doors, he or she is angry and aggressive toward you.
  • Experiences most emotions in the form of anger and has difficulty conveying other emotions.
  • Has a violent temper and quickly changing moods.
  • Is cruel to animals or children and is insensitive to their suffering.
  • Monitors your whereabouts, activities or spending.
  • Does not listen to you when you say "no" or try to assert your boundaries.

Take careful consideration before entering into a relationship with a person who shows one or more of these signs.

Amy Borst, clinical director of the Orange County, Calif., domestic violence shelter Laura’s House, says that victims who find themselves with an abusive partner should also be aware of the warning signs that indicate the situation is escalating into a more violent one.

“There’s a shortening of time between abusive incidents, along with threats of physical or bodily harm,” says Borst. Another indicator is when the abuser obtains the means by which the threats are made, such as purchasing a gun.

Bottom Line: If you feel threatened or someone you know feels threatened by a partner, don’t wait to get help.