Though relationships can bring perks, some romantic partners bring little but physical and emotional harm. Victims of an abusive partner may be steeped in denial, or they may be completely unaware that the behavior is inappropriate. Though every relationship will involve disagreements with one or both partners occasionally behaving out of character, an abusive partner may show ongoing signs.
Signs of Controlling Behavior
You may notice more subtle signs of abusive behavior in the beginning of a relationship -- maybe he checks up on your phone calls, emails or the mileage on your car, according to the HelpGuide article "Domestic Violence and Abuse." He might also be jealous to hear you have talked to other men or encourage you to keep your distance from family members and friends, suggests the LoveisRespect.org article "Is This Abuse?" In these situations, a partner may try to control your finances or become angry if you do not do exactly as he tells you.
Physical and Sexual Abuse
An abusive partner may demonstrate physically aggressive behavior, such as throwing objects or raising her hand at you when she is angry, according to the TeensHealth article "Am I in a Healthy Relationship?" Your partner may also hit, kick, punch you or otherwise physically harm you. A sexually abusive partner may also try to pressure or force you into sexual activities that make you feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
Emotional abuse can also take a toll on victims. You may notice that your boyfriend routinely puts you down or displays a temper if you do not do and say what he wants you to do, says the TeensHealth article "Am I In a Healthy Relationship?" They are also quick to blame others for their own behavior and shortcomings, which may eventually extend to you, according to psychologist Steven Stosny in the Psychology Today article "Are You Dating an Abuser?" He may also threaten you or those close to you, threaten to hurt himself, or deny that he has done anything wrong, according to the HelpGuide article "Domestic Violence and Abuse."
Choosing to get out of an abusive relationship can be a difficult decision, especially for young people. You may want to alert your parents, workplace, local authorities and your teachers or professors so they can help you feel more comfortable and safe after a breakup, according to the LoveisRespect.org article, "Should We Break Up?" Changing your class schedule, keeping friends with you in isolated areas at school, letting family know where you are going and breaking off all contact with your partner may be necessary for your protection. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and LoveisRespect.org web sites also offer resources by phone and online to help you as you prepare to leave your relationship.
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