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Warning Signs

Abusive Relationships:

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and/or unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?


  • yells frequently
  • steals money from partner
  • blames partner for own faults
  • name calling
  • constantly accuses partner of flirting or having sex with others
  • publicly humiliates partner
  • destroys treasured possessions
  • labels partner as "stupid" or "crazy"
  • threatens to harm loved ones or pets
  • locks partner out of house or apartment


  • scratches, chokes, pulls hair
  • cuts with knife
  • kicks partner in stomach when pregnant
  • holds parner’s arm so tight it bruised
  • hits partner’s head against wall
  • slaps or punches partner
  • forces partner out of car


  • calls partner sexual names
  • wants sex after hitting
  • forces or coerces partner to have sex
  • forces partner to perform unwanted sex acts
  • bites or pinches during sex
  • threatens to sleep with someone else
  • forces partner to have sex without protection

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?
  • look through your phone without asking you?