The following list can help you determine whether you or someone you care about is involved in an abusive relationship. Not all of these characteristics need to be present for a relationship to be abusive, and characteristics by themselves do not necessarily indicate abuse.

A relationship may be abusive if your partner…

  • Angers easily
  • Becomes angry when you have a different opinion than he/she does or don’t take his/her advice
  • Blames all past relationship problems on the ex-partner
  • Blames you for her/his problems or behavior
  • Criticizes your appearance, weight, clothes, etc.
  • Demonstrates ownership of you or extreme possessiveness; says things like “I can’t live without you,” or “You are my whole world.”
  • Displays violent behavior toward other people
  • Disregards the law; feels he/she is above the law
  • Doesn’t want you to know about his/her past
  • Feels he/she has the right to dictate your behavior, privileges, or responses and opinions
  • Forces you to have sex or perform sexual acts
  • Has a record or history of domestic violence
  • Has no regard for your physical or mental health
  • Humiliates you in public
  • Insists on controlling all of the money, both your and his/hers
  • Isolates you – doesn’t allow you to see your family or friends
  • Needs to constantly know your whereabouts; expects you to spend all of your free time with him/her
  • Pressures you to live together or get married before you are ready
  • Refuses to let you go to work or, at the other extreme, forces you to work
  • Shows jealousy toward your children, family, friends or job
  • Suggests reasons for you to fear ending the relationship