Know the Signs

What to look for

The first step toward a healthy, violence-free life is understanding what is happening to in the relationship. It is important to know and understand the signs of domestic violence to be equipped to make the right decisions.

Remember, only people in a relationship know that relationship best.

Signs OF an Abusive Relationship

There are a number of factors that go into assessing one’s own relationship. These are statements that may apply to an abusive relationship:


  • I can’t make decisions without my partner.
  • I need my partner’s permission to do things I want to do.
  • I can’t express my opinion or feelings around my partner.


  • My partner embarrasses me and makes fun of me in front of my family and friends.
  • My partner says horrible things about me, and I am beginning to believe that they are true.
  • I feel I am nothing without my partner.


  • My partner says he or she “just lost control” because of alcohol or drugs or because of something I did.
  • I make excuses to my friends and family for my partner’s behavior.
  • Nothing I do will make my partner happy.


  • I often give in to my partner out of fear of what his or her reaction will be.


  • I am afraid of my partner.
  • My partner has used violence in the past to get his or her way.
  • I can’t leave because I am scared of what my partner will do.

Signs Of an Abusive partner

These are some common signs that a person is abusive or could become abusive. Use this list as a way to avoid violent relationships or help someone who could need your help.

  • He or she grew up in a home where an adult was abused by another adult.
  • He or she gets very serious, very quickly. For example, he or she says, “I love you,” very early in the relationship, wants to move in together or get engaged after only a few months, or pressures his or her partner for a serious commitment.
  • He or she comes on very strong or is extremely charming. He or she can talk his or her way out of almost anything.
  • He or she tries to control what you wear, what you do or whom you see.
  • He or she has been in trouble with the law.
  • He or she is cruel to animals or abusive toward other people, including past boyfriends or girlfriends.
  • He or she blames others for his or her own misbehavior or failures.
  • He or she abuses drugs or alcohol.
  • He or she has unrealistic expectations like expecting his or her partner to meet all his or her needs or to be the perfect partner.
  • He or she is overly sensitive and acts hurt when things don’t go his or her way, gets very upset at small inconveniences, and takes offense when others disagree with his or her opinion.
  • He or she is threatening, even if it is not a serious threat.
  • He or she breaks promises or goes back on his or her word.
  • He or she is extremely moody and switches quickly form being very nice to exploding in anger.
  • He or she holds you against your will to keep you from walking away or leaving a room.
  • He or she manipulates people.