Red Flags of Abusive Relationships


  • Wants to be with you constantly
  • Accuses you of cheating all the time
  • Follows you around or frequently calls during the day
  • Odd behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to check in on you

Controlling Behavior

  • Pretends to be concerned for your safety or your productive use of time
  • Acts like you do not have the ability to make good decisions
  • Becomes extremely angry when late
  • Constantly questions who you spend your time with, what you did/wore/said, and where you went
  • Makes you ask permission to do certain things

Quick Involvement

  • 6 months or less before living together/engaged
  • Claims of love at first sight
  • Says you are the only one who can make her/him feel this way
  • Pressure for commitment

Unrealistic Expectations

  • Compliments you in a way that makes you seem superhuman
  • Very dependent for all needs
  • Expects you to be perfect
  • Says things like, “I am all you need,” and “You are all I need.”


  • Tries to cut off all your resources
  • Puts down everyone you know
  • Friends are either stupid, slutty, or you are cheating with them
  • Family is too controlling, don’t really love you, or you are too dependent on them
  • Refuse to let you use car or talk on the phone
  • Makes it difficult for you to go to school or work

Blames Others for Problems

  • If there are problems at school or work, it is always someone else’s fault
  • You’re at fault for everything that goes wrong in the relationship

Blames Others for Feelings

  • Makes you responsible for how they feel:
    • “You made me mad.”
    • “You’re hurting me by not doing what I ask.”
    • “I can’t help being angry.”
    • “You make me happy.”
    • “You control how I feel.”

Disrespectful or Cruel to Others

  • Punishes children/animals cruelly
  • Insensitive to pain and suffering
  • High expectations of children beyond their abilities
  • Tease children or younger sibling until they cry
  • Doesn’t treat other people with respect

Playful Use of Force During Sex

  • Little concern over whether you want to have sex or not
  • Uses sulking or anger to manipulate you into compliance
  • Makes sexual or degrading jokes about you

Rigid Sex Roles

  • Believes women are inferior to men
  • Unable to be a whole person without a relationship

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

  • Sudden mood changes – like s/he has two different personalities
  • One minute nice, the next minute exploding
  • One minute happy, the next minute sad

Past Battering

  • You may hear the person was abusive to someone else they were in a relationship with
  • The person may deny it, claiming their ex is crazy or it wasn’t that bad

Breaking or Striking Objects

  • Used as punishment
  • Breaks cherished posessions
  • May beat on tables with fists
  • Throws objects at, around, or near you

Any Force During an Argument

  • Physically restrains you from leaving the room
  • Pushes or shoves you


  • Easily insulted
  • Sees everything as personal attacks
  • Has a tantrum about the injustice of things that happen to them
  • Totally goes off about small irritations
  • Looks for fights
  • Blows things out of proportion

Questions to Ask

  • Are you in a relationship in which you have been physically hurt or threatened by your partner?
  • Are you in a relationship in which you felt you were treated badly? In what ways?
  • Has your partner ever destroyed things that you care about?
  • Has your partner ever threatened or abused your children?
  • Has your partner ever forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?
  • What happens when you and your partner disagree?
  • Do you ever feel afraid of your partner?
  • Has your partner ever prevented you from leaving the house, seeing friends, getting a job or continuing your education?
  • If your partner uses drugs/alcohol, how does s/he act? Is s/he ever verbally or physically abusive?
  • Do you have guns in your home? Has your partner ever threatened to use them when s/he was angry?

Emergency Exit