Domestic Violence – 4 Signs You Should Be Looking For
Domestic violence has been in the news quite a bit this past year. Perhaps the biggest story was NFL star Ray Rice and his then fiancé, and now wife, Janay. The story of his abuse was all over social media and the news. It also prompted the following video of NFL players created by NoMore.org.
But even with all the awareness, it still happens, and it can happen to anyone. If you find yourself experiencing physical or emotional abuse, or even threats in a relationship, you should seek immediate help. Recognizing the signs of abuse and acknowledging it is happening are the first steps to putting an end to it.
When we think of domestic abuse, we often think men are the ones committing the violence. That’s not always the case. This year we also saw Hope Solo, the female American soccer gold medalist, face charges for domestic violence.
Often relationships that end in abuse don’t begin that way. The abuser may come off as a nice, normal, caring person. The victim doesn’t know what is in store until the abuse begins and the abusers true nature is revealed. Looking back, they can often see some early warning signs that they overlooked. These signs aren’t a guarantee that the relationship is headed toward abuse, but together they should raise some red flags for you.
4 Domestic Violence Signs You Should Be Looking For
There is a Lack of Respect
During the initial phase of your relationship, they will be very respectful, after all they are trying to get you to like them. They may treat other people poorly though. If you see them being disrespectful or angry towards people in service roles, people they may feel they are above, it should raise some concerns. Also, listen to how they talk about others, especially those close to you. They may try to distance you from the people you love through their words, isolating you from people who might see things headed in a bad direction. Another indication is how they talk about past relationships. Do they accept responsibility for a failed relationship? Do they call their former partners disrespectful names? If they demean and disrespect others, they will eventually do the same to you. If you notice these things, it may be time to rethink your relationship.
They Say It’s Always Your Fault
When things go wrong, do you get all the blame? Abusers usually want to feel and be seen as superior to everyone else. They often have unrealistic expectations that can never be met and when those expectations are unfulfilled they blame others. If every time something goes wrong it is your fault, and they never accept any of the blame, you need to ask yourself why.
There Is A Need For Speed
As the relationship begins to grow, an abuser may want to move it along more quickly than you are comfortable with. They need to know you are committed before they can gain control. If you have thoughts that it is moving too fast, don’t ignore them; they may be a warning sign. An abuser will want to take the fast track to an exclusive relationship and often will use sex as a way to get there more quickly. If you’re feeling pressure to do something you’re not ready for, or to enter into an exclusive relationship, find a trusted friend, a mentor or even your parent to talk to.
Your Partner Is Controlling
While this can show up early in a relationship, usually as selfishness and a desire to make all the decisions, more often it happens after a commitment to the relationship has been made. They may try to influence or control your other relationships, isolating your further from friends and family. The abuser may be very possessive. It often turns into them checking up on you, having to know where you are and who you are with at all times, As the need for control grows, often the abuse begins. If you start to see some of these signs, again, be careful and take a long hard look at the relationship.
Find Some Guidance and Help
If you notice any of these signs, we encourage you to examine the relationship. We also realize that in most cases of abuse, the victim isn’t able to see what is happening clearly. Because of that we also want to encourage you to find someone to talk to, either someone close to you that you trust or a professional, if you notice these signs. And because the abuser is usually really good at hiding who they really are, those close to you may not see the signs. Even if others don’t see it you should always trust your gut instinct if you feel that something is wrong. The longer you stay, the more danger you face and the more difficult it may be to get out of the relationship.