Recognize the signs of domestic violence

October 11, 2016 | by Sandra Davenport Belushi

You chose him because he was kind, respectful and caring -- at first.  But soon after a commitment is made, you begin to see changes in his behaviors. This guy isn’t the guy you fell in love with.

Abuse in relationships is not your fault. You didn’t cause it. The foundation of abusive relationships is control. It may start with verbal abuse. An abuser may begin to track your every move, accuse you of being unfaithful. Abusers will restrict your support of friends and family, control money and resources, cutting off your access and making you alone.

Domestic violence continues to be a major health issue in this country and around the world. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Further, child witnesses are 2 times more likely to experience domestic violence as a perpetrator or a victim when they become an adult.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a great opportunity to improve your awareness of signs and symptoms of domestic violence. You may be able to help someone in your life that is currently unsafe in an abusive relationship.

There are a number of red flags that indicate abuse, including these from the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

  • Telling you that you can never do anything right
  • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
  • Insulting, demeaning or shaming you with put-downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
  • Preventing you from working or attending school
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

Hopefully you’re in a healthy relationship. You feel respected by your partner. You can trust them. You can be yourself. They are there for you emotionally and support you in your life and interests.

If you’ve noticed the signs of an abuse in the relationship of a friend or family member, there is help. First, listen and believe her. Let her know there is help and refer her to a local domestic violence hotline.

Linden Oaks Behavioral Health can help you find and maintain a healthy balance.

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