Survivors are more likely to become involved in violent and abusive relationships than adults that have not been abused, either physically, verbally or sexually, as children. If abused young children do not receive the appropriate medical and mental health attention from a health care professional during their childhood, then they will probably carry negative messages about abuse with them into their adult relationships. These messages will play up powerless behavior and shut down natural internal instincts of self-preservation. It is critical, an issue of life and death, for the Survivor Today to understand the red flags an abuser may display that may warn of danger head. It is also as essential for the Survivor Today to understand the characteristics, values and attitudes within themselves that may serve as a catalyst to quickly putting an end to these often volatile and danger situations.
New Choices, Inc. list the following warning signs of abusive relationships:
- Does your partner tease you in a hurtful way & play it off as a “joke” or tell you you’re being too sensitive?
- Does your partner call you names such as “stupid” or “bitch”?
- Does your partner act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers or coerce you into avoiding or not spending time with them?
- Does your partner get angry about or make you change the clothes & shoes you wear, how you style your hair, or whether or not you wear makeup & how much?
- Does your partner check-up on you by repeatedly calling, driving by, or getting someone else to?
- Has your partner gone places with you or sent someone just to “keep an eye on you”?
- Does your partner insist on knowing who you talk with on the phone, check your call log or phone bill?
- Does your partner blame you for his problems or his bad mood?
- Does your partner get angry so easily that you feel like you’re “walking on eggshells”?
- Does your partner hit walls, drive dangerously, or do other things to scare you?
- Does your partner often drink or use drugs?
- Does your partner insist that you drink or use drugs with him?
- Have you lost friends or no longer see some of your family because of your partner?
- Does your partner accuse you of being interested in someone else or cheating on them?
- Does your partner read your e/mail, check your computer history, go through your purse, or other personal papers?
- Does your partner keep money from you, keep you in debt, or have “money secrets?”
- Has your partner kept you from getting a job, or caused you to lose a job?
- Has your partner sold your car, made you give up your license, or not repaired your car?
- Does your partner threaten to hurt you, your children, family, friends, or pets?
- Does your partner force you to have sex when you do not want to?
- Does your partner force you to have sex in ways that you do not want to?
- Does your partner threaten to kill you or themselves if you leave?
- Is your partner like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” acting one way in front of other people and another way when you are alone?
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may be at risk – please call 937-498-7261 to speak with a domestic violence advocate.
Consider these tools, tips and resources you’ll need to end an abusive relationship:
- Let go of overwhelming feelings of guilt. You did not cause the abuse here, now, in the past, present or ever with this partner or your last partner. People make choices independent of others. Don’t let anyone convince you that it is your fault.
- Develop a positive support system. You can’t get out by yourself. You will need the support of law enforcement, a domestic violence support group and probably a shelter. Stay clear of anyone that tells you to stay for any reason for any length of time.
- Boost your self esteem. More than likely any type of abuse comes along with degradation. This may or may not include name calling, put downs or insults. Know that although your abuser thinks very highly of himself/herself and comes across as very controlling and domineering – everything that he or she says is not the golden truth. There is only once source of truth in the Universe and that is the Word of God Almighty – and He considers you a Masterpiece, a wonderful creation, a child of God, loved, special and fearfully and wonderfully made. Choose who you will believe, The Creator of the Universe or your abuser (and sometimes your own inner voice). Choose wisely and lovingly!
- Do not keep silent – SPEAK UP! Shame and guilt often keep victims quiet. But in order to get out you need help and in order to get help you must ask for help and allow others to help you. There are several people you will need to talk to including the police, your doctor, a social worker, a lawyer and a therapist or other mental health provider. There is no need to be ashamed because you are not the one that is committing the crime.
Unfortunately, there are others that have been and are going through the same thing you are going through right now. Domestic violence can strike anyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, education, financial status or color. So whether you are an affluent, married lawyer living in the suburbs with two children or a single mother in Detroit with a new baby – don’t let guilt, shame and embarrassment and what others think about you stop you from getting help and getting out.
There is help available. Please make that phone call today – don’t let fear stop you. You will probably save your life and the lives of your innocent children.