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Warning Signs of Abuse

Warning Signs of Abuse, prevent from leaving, withhold medication, physical damage, manipulate, manipulator

Know what to look for and how to recognize the signs of relationship abuse

At the start of a new relationship, it’s not always easy to tell if it will later become abusive. In fact, many abusive people appear like ideal partners in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors generally don’t appear overnight and may emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Every relationship is different and domestic violence doesn’t always look the same. One feature shared by most abusive relationships is that the abusive partner tries to establish or gain power and control through many different methods, at different moments.

Common signs of abusive behavior in a partner include:

Even one or two of these behaviors in a relationship is a red flag that abuse may be present:


  • Telling you that you never do anything right.

  • Exhibiting signs of jealousy when you spend time with friends or spend time away from them.

  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.

  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.

  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.

  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, including taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.

  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.

  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.

  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.

  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.

  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.

  • Destroying your belongings or your home.

Remember: no one deserves to experience abuse of any kind—for any reason. And every type of abuse is serious.

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