Domestic Violence is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their partners and get their way. Relationships in which one partner uses assault and coercion can be found among married and unmarried heterosexuals, lesbians, and gay males. Battering is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents an individual from doing what she/he wishes or forces her/him to behave in ways she/he does not want to.
Here are some warning signs that you may be in an abusive relationship:
- Verbal Abuse - Coercion, Threats and Blaming: threatening to hurt or kill you, your children or pets, name calling, yelling or telling you you are unattractive or undesirable.
- Intimidation: making you afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets or displaying weapons.
- Emotional Abuse: putting you down, making you feel bad about yourself, calling you names, making you think you're crazy, playing mind games, humiliating you or making you feel guilty.
- Economic Abuse: preventing you from getting or keeping a job, making you ask for money, giving you an allowance, taking your money or not letting you know about or have access to family income.
- Isolation: controlling what you do, who you see or talk to, what you read, where you go, limiting your outside involvement or using jealousy to justify actions.
- Using Male Privilege: treating you like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like 'master of the castle', being the one to define men's and women's roles.
- Using Children: making you feel guilty about the children, using children to relay messages, using visitation to harass you, threatening to take the children away.
- Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: making light of abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously, saying abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior or saying you caused it.
Where to Turn For Help.