What are the warning signs I should be looking for?
This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse – psychological, economic, and physical – come from the batterer’s desire for power and control. The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in a violent relationship. Check off those behaviors that apply to the relationship. The more checks on the page, the more dangerous the situation may be.
EMOTIONAL AND ECONOMIC ATTACKS
- Destructive Criticism/Verbal Attacks: Name-calling; mocking; accusing; blaming; yelling; swearing; making humiliating remarks or gestures.
- Pressure Tactics: Rushing you to make decision through “guilt-tripping” and other forms of intimidation; sulking; threatening to withhold money; manipulating the children; telling you what to do.
- Abusing Authority: Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are “the truth”); bossing you around; making big decisions; using “logic.”
- Disrespect: Interrupting; changing topics; not listening or responding; twisting your words; putting you down in front of other people; saying bad things about your friends and family.
- Abusing Trust: Lying; withholding information; cheating on you; being overly jealous.
- Breaking Promises: Not following through on agreements; not taking a fair share of responsibility; refusing to help with child care or housework.
- Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings; not giving support, attention, or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions.
- Minimizing, Denying & Blaming: Making light of behavior and not taking your concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn’t happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior; saying you caused it.
- Economic Control: Interfering with your work or not letting you work; refusing to give you or taking your money; taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car; threatening to report you to welfare or other social service agencies.
- Self-Destructive Behavior: Abusing drugs or alcohol; threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm; deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g., telling off the boss).
- Isolation: Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go.
- Harassment: Making uninvited visits or calls; following you; embarrassing you in public; refusing to leave when asked.
ACTS OF VIOLENCE
- Intimidation: Making angry or threatening gestures; use of physical size to intimidate; standing in doorway during arguments; out-shouting you; driving recklessly.
- Destruction: Destroying your possessions (e.g., furniture); punching walls; throwing and/or breaking things.
- Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.
- Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment or discrimination based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force, threats or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.
- Physical Violence: Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others: slapping; punching; grabbing; kicking; choking; pushing; biting; burning; stabbing; shooting, etc…
- Weapons: Use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you; threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.
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