October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This topic hits close to home for me since I provide therapy for domestic violence survivors.
Learning about red flags is just as important after a survivor has left an abusive relationship. Many times, survivors missed the red flags and could view future friendships and/or relationships as “safer” than previous relationships.
Have you seen these red flags in your relationships?
- Blaming you for his/her actions. “You made me do this…”
- Minimizing hurtful behaviors towards you or others.
- Refusing to admit emotional and/or personal problems
- History of aggressive behavior while using alcohol or drugs
- Giving large gifts early in the relationship.
- They don’t accept your friends or family. They frequently talk bad about them and try to make you question their loyalty.
- Frequent attempts to isolate you. They want you all to themselves.
- Constant calls or texts about your whereabouts.
- Encourages you to drop hobbies or interests.
- Publicly embarassing you.
- Accusing you of cheating and flirting.
- Makes negative statements about your clothes/appearance/weight.
- Plays mind games and makes you feel like you’re going crazy.
- The relationship seems intense and deep very quickly.
- Pressure to move in, get engaged or marry early.
- Secretive about history of legal troubles and/or arrests.
- Shows signs of hurt/anger if you ask to slow down the relationship.
- Refers to women and/or female family members with sexist comments.
- Was abused as a child or grew up in an abusive home.
- Uses intimidating body language, punches walls or breaks objects when upset.
Please keep in mind that one of these red flags doesn’t constitute a batterer. A person who grew up in an abusive household isn’t automatically considered an abuser. Trust your gut and your instincts if you recognize a few of these red flags.
In addition, a person who threatens, hits, punches, or kicks you doesn’t need to have two or three of these behaviors. They are definitely being abusive.
The most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she leaves. Contact your local domestic violence agency to speak with their counselors and advocates to help you transition safely. You can also call 211 if you’re in the United States to find your closest domestic violence agency.
The National Domestic Violence Emergency Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or
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