Am I A Victim?

Below are some telltale signs that you’re in an abusive relationship?


Signs Of Abuse

It can be hard to know if you’re being abused. You may think that your partner is allowed to make you have sex. That’s not true. Forced sex is rape, no matter who does it. You may think that cruel or threatening words are not abuse. They are. And sometimes is a sign that a person will become physically violent.

Below is a list of possible signs of abuse.

Some of these are illegal, all of them are wrong.

You may be abused if your partner:

  • Monitors what you’re doing all the time
  • Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
  • Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
  • Gets very angry during and after drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Controls how you spend your money
  • Controls your use of needed medicines
  • Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide (like what to wear or eat)
  • Humiliates you in front of others
  • Destroys your property or things that you care about
  • Threatens to hurt you, the children, or pets
  • Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting)
  • Uses (or threatens to use) a weapon against you
  • Forces you to have sex against your will
  • Controls your birth control or insists that you get pregnant
  • Blames you for his or her violent outbursts
  • Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
  • Says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”

If you think someone is abusing you, we are here to help. Abuse can have serious physical and emotional effects. No one has the right to hurt you.


Healthy vs. unhealthy relationships

Sometimes a relationship might not be abusive, but it might have some serious problems that make it unhealthy. If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, you should be able to talk to your partner about your concerns. If you feel like you can’t talk to your partner, try talking to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor. Consider calling a confidential hotline to get the support you need and to explore next steps. If you’re afraid to end the relationship, call us for help.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • Focusing all your energy on your partner
  • Dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
  • Feeling pressured or controlled a lot
  • Having more bad times in the relationship than good
  • Feeling sad or scared when with your partner
  • Signs of a healthy relationship include:
  • Having more good times in the relationship than bad
  • Having a life outside the relationship, with your own friends and activities
  • Making decisions together, with each partner compromising at times
  • Dealing with conflicts by talking honestly
  • Feeling comfortable and able to be yourself
  • Feeling able to take care of yourself
  • Feeling like your partner supports you

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Are They Being Abused?

Domestic Abuse is a vicious cycle that victims become trapped in


The Warning Signs of Domestic Violence

Remember, while most domestic violence situations involve women being abused by men, it can happen to anyone, gay or straight. Don’t assume that just because your friend doesn’t fit the “typical” mold of an abuse victim that nothing is wrong.

So, first things first, how can you tell if someone is in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship? The truth is, it can be harder to tell than you think. There are the obvious signs: black eyes, mysterious bruises and injuries, unexplained or frequent absences from work, school, and community events. But many times, the signs can be much more subtle.

Are you finding it harder and harder to spend time with your loved one? Does it seem like he or she is always busy or always has other plans already set up? It could simply be that they’re going through a busy patch…and if it’s a new relationship, it could just be a side effect of wanting to constantly spend time together.

The problem is, it could also be a sign that their partner is trying to isolate them from friends and family. Making the victim socially dependent on the abuser is the first step on the path to abuse. If it’s impossible to persuade your friend or family member to spend time with you, especially if this is completely out of character, it’s good to be concerned.

Is your friend’s partner an extremely jealous person? If he or she mentions having to constantly defend against accusations of infidelity, that’s a red flag. Abusive partners are frequently extremely possessive — they may call constantly to “check up” on the victim, pick fights with potential “rivals” in social settings in order to drive them away from the victim, and demand to know exactly who the victim is with and where they are at all times.

Maybe you just get an uncomfortable feeling seeing how your loved one interacts with their partner. Do they constantly call the victim “stupid” or toss insulting remarks their way? Do they accuse the victim of being “crazy” in any argument or disagreement? Do they often explode at the slightest hint of disagreement? Do they frequently accuse your friend of lying or cheating? If so, emotional abuse is almost certainly occurring — and quite possibly physical abuse, as well.

Perhaps the most troubling sign that something is wrong is when your loved one’s personality starts to change as a result of a toxic relationship. They may completely change their style of dress, interests and activities to please their partner. They may suddenly seem depressed, distant or withdrawn — or they may seem like they’re trying too hard to seem happy and enthusiastic, as if they’re trying to prove to everyone that nothing is amiss. Often these changes start out small, and it can be hard to tell if they have anything to do with the new relationship or not.

If you notice these changes along with any of the other warning signs on this list, don’t ignore them. At the very least, your loved one is in an unhealthy, controlling relationship.




How You can Help Domestic Violence Victims

So once you know the signs…what now? This is the part that can be the hardest for friends and family — because the truth is, no matter how much you want to help your loved one, you can’t force him or her to leave an abusive relationship. The truth is, often people have very good reasons for not leaving. They may be afraid of further violence, or they may be financially or emotionally dependent on the abusive partner. Maybe they’ve even had children and started to raise a family together, and are afraid of losing a custody battle.

It may be difficult, especially if your loved one has a very possessive partner, but the first thing you need to do is talk to them alone. Approach them in a way that makes it clear you’re not blaming them for the situation, that you aren’t judging them for it, and that you love them no matter what. Let them know that you’re concerned about their safety — but recognize that they may very well brush off your concerns or try to minimize them. Respect their answer in the moment, but don’t be afraid to try again a few days or weeks later when they might be more receptive to the conversation.

Since you may not completely understand why your loved one is staying in the relationship, the most important thing you can do is be a good listener. Try to find out what kind of help and support they actually need right now — it may not be what you think. At least at first, just giving them a supportive friend to talk to may be the most important first step you can take.

Don’t say bad things about the victim’s partner or say you wish they’d never gotten involved emotionally. This can push the victim away by making them feel like it’s their fault and they “deserve” the abuse.  Don’t tell them how you would leave in their shoes or how you think they should act. You may mean well, but this is likely to shut down the conversation completely.

Look up and share local resources with your friend. Find out if there are any local domestic violence hotlines, women’s shelters, or support groups that might be able to help. Then, let your loved one know these resources are available. If you know they aren’t going to be proactive, call yourself and see if you can get advice on how to best handle the situation.

Finally, be patient. The sad fact is, most domestic violence victims make several attempts to leave before they actually succeed. Let your loved one move at his or her own pace. Leaving is a difficult decision and it make take some time for them to plan and work up the nerve to follow through. Even if they want to leave right away, there are likely to be barriers preventing them from immediately making the change.

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