Did you know that about 20 people per minute suffer from abuse? As it sounds terrifying, it’s actually true, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Therefore, domestic violence is far more common than you’d think.
While it’s true that women are more likely to experience abuse (one in four women suffer abuse from an intimate partner), men can also be victims. According to the statistics, one in nine men experience domestic violence. Most of the time, domestic violence in a relationship can remain hidden, because of love or fear.
According to Carla Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, “It is not uncommon for a victim to confide that he or she ‘woke up one day’ to realize—with deep embarrassment and shame—that he or she was in the midst of an abusive relationship,”
However, there are some early signs that could appear at the beginning of a relationship which has the potential to turn into domestic violence later on. Read on to discover the red flags that shouldn’t get overlooked. With the help of domestic violence experts, we made a list of 15 behaviors that indicate your relationship might turn abusive.
Your partner is very controlling
If your partner is over-controlling at the beginning of the relationship, chances are they’ll turn into an abuser later on. If they constantly ask you where you are going, who else will be there, who you’re talking to and starts timing your absence from the house, they may have some unresolved issues with control or they may feel insecure, says Rudi Rahbar, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples and families.
Your partner is very jealous
Don’t get me wrong, jealousy is a normal emotion, but it becomes unhealthy when there’too there’s too much. According to Rachel Needle, a psychologist and certified sex therapist in West Palm Beach, Florida, and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, if your partner is too jealous and too controlling in the ‘honeymoon phase’ it’s a sign that they could turn into an abuser in the future.
If your partner is very jealous when you talk with other people when you go out without them or even without a reason if they accuse you of lying and cheating even though you’ve done nothing wrong, it is a huge red flag and you should be wary!
Here are 10 Sneaky Signs of a Psychopath.
Your partner doesn’t have a social life
Another concerning sign you shouldn’t overlook is your partner’s social life. If they don’t have any friends or family members whom they talk to, you should be careful. You might find that your partner blames you for the lack of social life.
According to Rahbar, “It may mean your date has problems relating to people, and you’ll soon feel pressure to fill up your date’s life,”
Your partner is angry all the time
According to Mayra Mendez, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist and program coordinator for intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health services at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California, an impulsive and angry partner might be an indicator that they’ll also be violent and abusive later.
“When expression of anger and aggression are in response to intolerance to differing opinions, thoughts, beliefs, or points of view, this is a warning sign of possible domestic violence tendencies.”
Make sure to also check the 10 Common Things Men Usually Lie About.
Your partner forces you into decisions without considering your feelings
According to Kendra Kubala, a psychologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this type of behavior can turn into domestic violence later on. For instance, if your partner is forcing you to do something you don’t want, to move in together early in the relationship or get married prematurely, it can be a sign that you’re dating a potential abuser.
Also, an abusive partner will make you feel guilty or ungrateful for asking to take things slow. If you see this type of behavior in your current partner, it’s a red flag and you shouldn’t waste any more time in the relationship.
Your partner’s previous relationships were always a “problem”
If your partner always characterizes their past relationship as a problem, or their exes as being selfish, crazy, mean, addicted, or controlling, you need to be very careful, because it’s a red flag.
According to Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners, if your current partner doesn’t like to take any responsibility for their past relationships, it could be a sign that you’re the next on the list. As Tessina likes to say, a relationship disaster takes two, so you can’t just blame the other person.
Everybody makes mistakes, it’s normal. What’s not normal is always blaming other people and not wanting to take responsibility for your actions. You shouldn’t date this type of person, because they can be dangerous if they don’t get what they want. If your relationship starts going sour, it’s likely you’ll be solely to blame in their eyes.
You feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time
Your partner should be your safe haven, the place where you feel happy and carefree, you shouldn’t have to worry all the time that they might be upset or disappointed with you. According to Dr. Rahbar, if your partner makes you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells, chances are you’re in a relationship with someone that has a lot of trust/ anger management issues, is insecure, and very controlling.
“An abuser often creates such a hostile, unpredictable environment that the abused person feels extremely unsafe and on edge.”
Your partner blames you for everything
A healthy relationship needs compromise. You can’t be right all the time and you shouldn’t have to. You need to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming others for your behavior. If your partner blames you for everything all the time, it’s their method to gain power and control you.
According to Dr. Manly, domestic violence is often driven by a lack of personal responsibility. This lack of personal awareness is often hiding other issues that could lead to abuse.
You don’t feel safe in their company
If you’re in a relationship, you need to take a step back and analyze how you’re feeling. If your partner doesn’t make you feel safe, it could be a sign that the relationship is not healthy, says Dr. Mendez.
You fear leaving your partner
If you’re worried that your partner might hurt themselves or you if you ever left them, it’s an indicator of abuse. According to Dr. Esfahani, this is manipulative behavior and you should be very careful with this type of person. You need to constantly remind yourself that they will survive without you, and it’s just their way of controlling you.
Here are 9 Signs Your Relationship Is Doomed.
The sex is always rough
While occasional rough sex is not a problem and depends on your preferences, if your partner is always aggressive and leaves you with bruises all over your body without your consent, it might be a sign that you’re in an abusive relationship.
According to Dr. Rahbar, if your partner forces you into sex against your wishes, you’re in an abusive relationship and a victim of domestic violence. And yes, this can happen in a marriage as well.
Your partner tries to distance you from all your loved ones
If your partner tries to control even the close friends and family members you’re ‘allowed’ to see, it’s their way of trying to gain power and control over your life, and you shouldn’t let them.
According to Dr. Manly, abusers usually try to control their partner by controlling the relationship they have with their loved ones. Also, someone who suffered from abuse tends to self-isolate themselves from their loved ones, because they feel embarrassed to let them know how toxic the relationship is.
Make sure to also check the 10 Signs You’re in An Emotionally Abusive Relationship and It’s Time to Get Out.
Your partner is always angry when they drink
Your partner’s behavior when they drink can tell you a lot of things about them. If they’re a happy drunk, you’re all good. If they’re angry drunk, you might have a problem. If you’re always worried when your partner drinks, because you know they turn into an aggressive monster, then maybe you need to figure out whether your relationship is toxic or not.
According to Dr. Rahbar, if they’re angry when they drink, it could be a sign that there’s much more to come. So don’t waste any more time, you might regret it later.
Your partner calls you names all the time
If your partner constantly calls you name and likes to humiliate you, it’s definitely not a healthy relationship, and you shouldn’t waste any more time, explains Dr. Kubala. Most of the time, it begins as a joke so you choose not to take it very seriously, but it can evolve into criticism very quickly.
If your partner makes you feel like you’re the problem because you’re too sensitive and they were only joking, you should know that they don’t respect you, and you don’t need this type of person in your life.
Your partner has a history of abuse
If you know your partner has a history of abuse (with an ex, a family member, a stranger, or even a pet) it’s a red flag and it could happen to you one day. According to Dr. Kubala, you need to pay close attention to every small gesture, every irritation, and their behavior when they’re angry because that could become worse over time. You need to learn the silent signs of emotional abuse because it will help you avoid some very unpleasant experiences.