Identify Abuse

The Relationship Spectrum

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy in-between. The relationship spectrum below can help you determine if you are in an abusive relationship.

At the start of a new relationship, it’s not always easy to tell if it will later become abusive. In fact, many abusive people appear like ideal partners in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight and may emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Power and Control

Every relationship is different and domestic violence doesn’t always look the same. One feature shared by most abusive relationships is that the abusive partner tries to establish or gain power and control through many different methods, at different moments.

Common Signs of Abuse

Common signs of abusive behavior by a partner include:

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.
  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family members, or peers.
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including working, or attending school.
  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, taking your money, or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses and/or having to account for all monies spent.
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with or without your consent.
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.
  • Insulting how you parent or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.

Even one or two of these behaviors in a relationship is a red flag that abuse may be present. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the US, anytime, to talk via text about any type of crisis including domestic violence.  This nation-wide crisis line will allow you to be connected to a counselor.