Healthy relationships are indeed a beautiful thing. Once you experience one you can’t do anything but shake your head at the thought of all of the not so healthy ones you entertained. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, so I want to take a moment and discuss some abusive partner red flags. Recognizing them early can save your life. Dysfunction will have you thinking that certain behaviors are normal, when in fact they are not.
Relationships can and do get complicated from time to time. So, the occasional argument or rough patch in a relationship is not what I’m speaking of. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence abusive partner red flags include:
- Calling you names or using other put-downs. Destroying or damaging your property
- Threatening to harm you or your loved ones? Threatening to harm your pets
- Insisting on controlling family finances
- Criticizing your abilities as a parent
- Becoming jealous of your friends and time you spend with them
- Controlling the contact you have with your family and friends
- Hitting, shoving, kicking, grabbing or using other forms of physical violence towards you
- Make unwanted advances or forcing you to perform sexual acts
- Threatening to commit suicide if you leave
- Verbal abuser
- Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
- Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
- laming the victim for anything bad that happens
- Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
- Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
- Control of what the victim wears and how they act
- Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
- Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
- Harassment of the victim at work
The goal of an abuser is to ultimately break the persons will, body, mind and spirit. If you recognize any of these signs and have been contemplating leaving, but aren’t sure what to do, here are a few tips that may help, according to the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence:
Have the following items hidden in a place where your partner cannot find them (in the home, in the car, at a neighbors, etc)
- $50 or more in cash
- A small bag with clothing and personal items for you and your children
- Extra keys to the house and car
- Important phone numbers
- Change for pay phone
- A picture of your abuser
- Any important papers or medications
Protect yourself digitally
- Change your email passwords
- Deactivate your social media accounts
- Limit the use of ATM machines, credit and debit cards
- Deactivate or remove all location trackers on your cell phone
If you and your partner are not living together
- Change the locks on your doors.
- Learn about your legal rights.
- If you have legal papers to protect you, keep them on your person at all times.
- Create a safety plan for coming and going from your home and workplace and share it with your children/co-workers.
- Show your neighbors and co-workers (or people you trust) a picture of your partner and tell them to call the police if he or she is seen on the property.
The sooner you are able to get out of the relationship, the better. Be careful because leaving can lead to great danger. Have a strong support system will help with the transition. According to the National Coalition for Domestic Violence:
- More than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide daily
- Guns in a domestic violence increase the risk of homicide by 500%.