Saturday, April 17, 1999

Warning signs that a relationship could turn violent

        • Verbal abuse: Your partner yells, calls you names, makes accusations, subjects you to public humiliation and embarrassment or makes slurs based on your race, gender, ability or family members.

        • Threats: He or she says such things as, “If you do that, I'll kill you,” or, “If you leave me, I'll kill myself.”

        • Isolation: Does your partner poke fun at you for being close to your family or friends? If you hear, “I will decide who you can talk to,” or “You can't go out without me,” you may have a problem.

        • Extreme jealousy: Your partner gets mad if you talk to other people or have good friends. He/she accuses you of being involved with others.

        • Possessiveness: Your boyfriend/girlfriend does not want you to share your time or give your attention to anyone else. Telephone calls are frequent.

        • Controlling behavior: This person makes all the decisions. Your point of view is unimportant. You are told what to wear, how to do your hair, to whom to talk and where to go.

        • Low self-esteem: Your partner says, “I'm nothing without you” or “You are my world.” This is OK for romantic songs, but not real life. It's very stifling and unrealistic.

        • Explosive temper: Your partner hits walls or lockers, yells loudly, calls names or threatens others.

        • Physical abuse: Your partner holds you down, pushes, hits, slaps, shoves, bites, scratches or grabs you. Your partner pulls your hair or throws objects.

        • Destruction of property: Your partner damages or destroys things you care about, such as pets, photographs, clothes, trophies or your car.

        • Blaming others for problems: Your partner blames you for anything that goes wrong — such as poor grades or job problems.

        • Emotional abuse: Your partner tells your secrets, threatens to leave you in an unsafe location or tries to control what you do.

        Sources: Research compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


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