interfaith partnership against
domestic violence and elder abuse
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Warning Signs for a Potentially Controlling Relationship
Victims and survivors of domestic violence may not even realize they are in an abusive relationship. They may be too overwhelmed to disclose the problem or too fearful of the abuser to talk. You, as an outsider, may be able to identify these warning signs and potential dangers.
The presence of these behaviors does not necessarily mean that abuse is taking place, and the absence of these behaviors does not necessarily mean that everything is fine. If you notice some of these behaviors or are concerned and can talk to the victim privately, don’t be afraid to offer help. You might be saving someone’s life!
Does he decide where you go on the majority of your dates?
Does he always want to be with HIS friends?
Does she put down your friends?
Does she want to limit your social activities by saying something like: “I want to spend all my time with you alone?”
Is he possessive and/or jealous?
Does he check on your whereabouts and get upset when you are not available?
Does he tell you what to wear?
Does he take responsibility for his own actions?
He vs. She: Remember, domestic violence affects both men and women; most victims (approximately 85%) are women.
Does he put you down and do you find you are putting yourself down to appease him?
Do you have an “uh-oh” feeling, but keep dating her because everyone says she is a great match for you?
Does she have unrealistic expectations of what you should be as a wife/ girlfriend?
Does he accept you the way you are, or does he want to change you?
Do you feel you have to “walk on eggshells?”
Do you feel like he’s Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde, that is, that he is nice in public but difficult in private?
Does she say that you’re the only one that understands her or the only one that can help her?
Does he speak badly about his last girlfriend or wife?
Does he call you names or use degrading remarks?
Does she think she’s always right? Does she give commands?
Does he ignore your feelings or minimize your concerns?
Does he threaten to hurt you, other family members, friends, or pets?
Does he prevent you from working?
Does she humiliate you in public or private?
Does he manipulate you with lies or contradictions?
Does he control the finances and/or force you to account for what you spend?