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The red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to the following:

  • Was abused by a parent or grew up in a home where one adult was abused by another adult.

  • Extreme jealousy and/or possessive

  • Unpredictability-extremely moody, and switches quickly from very nice to exploding in anger – “Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde”

  • History of bad relationships

  • Hypersensitive

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Uses guilt trips – says “If you really loved me…” or “I need you so much”

  • Extremely controlling behavior – is bossy, makes all of the decisions

  • Becoming too serious to quickly – is quick to say “I love you”

  • Isolates partner from support systems

  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships

  • Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex

  • Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods

  • Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens

  • Blames others for their own misbehavior or failures

  • Destroys your property or things that are important to you

  • Intimidates or threatens violence or force during arguments

  • Lacks understanding of your personal schedule or obligations – sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school

  • Their control of all finances

  • Abuse of other family members, children, or pets

  • Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair

  • Control of what the victim wears and how they act

  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly

  • Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others

  • Harassment of the victim at work

  • Gives gifts to apologize for bad behavior

  • Always apologizes for abusive behavior-says “I promise I’ll never do it again”



Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive.

Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:

  • Checking your cell phone/email without permission

  • Constantly putting you down

  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity

  • Explosive temper

  • Isolating you from family or friends

  • Making false accusations

  • Mood swings

  • Physically hurting you in any way

  • Possessiveness

  • Telling you what to do

  • Pressuring you or forcing you to have sex

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