It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself in a relationship. After a relationship begins, a lot of people find themselves focused on their partner, while naturally pulling away from their daily routines and even from friends. Unfortunately, a lot of us are optimists, so when we find a partner we are attracted to—and who seems to reciprocate our feelings—we tend to overlook red flags. For your health and safety, it is critical not to overlook red flags of domestic violence.
Control is an enormous part of an abusive relationship, and can include controlling where a person goes, who they can talk to, their access to money, what they can wear, and their daily activities. In other words, abusers seek to limit their partner’s ability to make decisions for themselves. An abuser will resort to lies, coercion, manipulation, emotional abuse, physical violence, financial restraints, and intimidation to exert their will over a victim.
Common red flags of a controlling partner are if your partner takes your cell phone or computer, if your partner completely controls your finances and you have no money to spend, or if you are not allowed to leave your home without some sort of permission.
Abusers often see and treat their partner as an object or possession, and can demonstrate an inflated level of possessiveness and jealousy. This can be problematic as this jealousy can manifest itself in false accusations, violence, monitoring, spying, stalking, prohibiting communication with the opposite sex, and embarrassing and dangerous confrontations in the workplace. All of these behaviors should serve as flags and indicators of an unhealthy relationship.
Violence or Threats of Violence
Physical violence, threats of violence, or physical intimidation against you, your children, and your pets are blatant indicators that you are in a violent relationship. Be aware that if it happens once, without some sort of intervention such as professional help or law enforcement involvement, it will likely happen again. Apologies and promises to change are incredibly common, and are part of the manipulation that abusers use to stay in a relationship.
Recognizing and acknowledging that you are in a violent relationship is hard, especially the longer the relationship lasts. It can also be incredibly dangerous to end the relationship, which makes it critical to be methodical in how you get help for yourself and your children. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a resource for advice and guidance to obtain help. In addition, an attorney can help you obtain a domestic violence protective order to create enforceable restraints against an abuser.