Monday, December 19, 2011

Know the Signs of Abusive Relationships

Twice in recent years, women close to people I know have been killed by their estranged husbands. 

I did not know either woman, so I cannot know what precipitated such violence. I cannot know whether there were warning signs that either these women or their friends or family could have heeded. 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user @Mike Knapek
What I do know is that this is a frightening issue. These were not just boyfriends. These were husbands who the women clearly loved and trusted enough at one point in their lives to marry. So at what point did that "love" turn to "if I can't have you, no one can"?

As a single woman, it's a question I ponder from time to time. If you've followed my blog, you know I try to steer clear of crazy/deranged suitors

But do I really know what to look out for? I decided to do some research. Here are warning signs of domestic violence in your relationship, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

Does the person you're dating...
* Put you down or embarrass you?
* Make all decisions in your relationship?
* Try to scare you?
* Attempt to control you?
* Keep you from seeing friends, family, or other loved ones?
* Take your money, or make you ask him for money and then refuse to give it to you?
* Say he's going to take away or hurt your children?
* Keep you from going to work or school?
* Blame the abuse on you?
* Destroy your property?
* Threaten to harm or kill your pets?
* Use weapons to intimindate or threaten you?
* Hit, slap, choke or shove you?
* Make you drop criminal charges against him?
* Threaten suicide or threaten to kill you? 

Also, the American Psychiatric Association lists these less obvious warning signs:
* Fast, whirlwind romance.
* Insists on being with you all of the time. Tracks what you're doing and who you are with.
* Jealousy.
* Trying to isolate you, using "loving" language. ("You don’t need to work or go to school; we only need each other.")
* Hypersensitivity when he feels he has been slighted.
* Blames others for abuse.
* Insists you do things you are not comfortable with.

Resources for those in abusive relationships:
National Domestic Violence Hotline 
American Psychiatric Association: Domestic Violence