While every relationship is different, survivors of domestic violence have identified common characteristics and behaviors of abusive partners. Knowing the warning signs can help you to avoid abusive relationships or identify abuse and get help for yourself or a friend/family member sooner. If you recognize any of the warning signs below, consider calling the Family Wellness Program or one of the hotlines listed at the bottom of this page.
1. Extreme jealousy – when one partner wants to know who the other is with and what they are doing at all times, is extremely possessive, accuses them of cheating with no reason.
2. Isolation – when one partner wants the other all to him/her self, tries to cut them off from friends, family, and activities – might even insist they quit their job or school.
3. Controlling behavior – when one partner tries to control the other by telling them what to do, how to dress, who to hang out with – or manipulates them into doing what they want.
4. Fast-moving relationship – when a partner who comes on very strong, is an extreme “smooth talker” and wants make major commitments very early in the relationship.
5. Blaming – when one partner always seems to blame the other for his/her own behavior – “You made me do this.”
6. History of abusive behavior – if someone has ever been abusive to a current or ex partner, a child or an animal; it is unlikely they will change without help.
7. Moodiness – someone with a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality.
8. Put-downs – when one partner is constantly criticizing the other, putting them down and making them feel badly about themselves.
9. Entitlement – when someone believes they are entitled to be in charge or be catered to, whether because of gender or other reasons.
10. Intimidation and threats - when one partner uses threats or intimidating body language, punches walls or breaks things to intimidate the other.
How to get help:
The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program 212-503-6842
NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)
National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453)