Know the Warning Signs of Abuse

If someone is abusive, they might:

  • put the victim down and act superior
  • do all of the talking and dominate the conversation
  • try to keep the victim away from family and friends
  • check up on the victim all the time
  • hit or slap the victim, or force sex
  • threaten to hurt the victim, children, pets or property
  • make direct or indirect threats involving firearms or other weapon
  • minimize his or her violent behavior
  • say he or she can’t live without the victim and threaten suicide
  • have a history of abusing others, even animals
  • act extremely jealous and suspicious
  • show no regard for the law
  • use access to a victim's children to harass
  • do other things to cause physically or emotionally hurt

If someone is doing one or more of these things, there are warning signs of an abusive relationship.

If you are being abused, you might:

  • make excuses for the abusive behavior
  • have limited access to your friends and family
  • have limited access to a phone, a computer or money
  • be nervous about talking when the person is there
  • try to cover up bruises
  • fear for your life and for the safety of children or pets
  • make excuses and avoid people on the street
  • be in denial and unable to see the risk
  • blame yourself for the violent behavior and “walk around on eggshells”
  • feel sad, lonely, withdrawn and afraid
  • be sick more often and miss work
  • be defensive and angry
  • cope by using drugs or alcohol

If you have experienced any of these things, it is a warning sign that you are in an abusive relationship.

The risk of abuse may be even greater if:

  • someone is pregnant or has young children
  • the person has access to weapons
  • the person has a history of abuse with others
  • the person has threatened to harm or kill, including children, pets or property
  • there is alcohol or drug abuse
  • the person has used physical violence in the past
  • the person is going through major life changes such as job loss or depression
  • the victim is involved in another relationship or the person thinks there is another relationship
  • there is a custody issue concerning the children
  • a person is recently separated or planning to separate

Please take these warning signs seriously.

Being able to recognize abusive behaviour is an important step in moving forward. The next step is to seek help and support.