Abuse by an intimate partner is a serious issue, and an epidemic that impacts at least one in every three women and up to one in seven men. There are many signs and red flags to watch out for, such as emotional outbursts, blame and denial, control, and extreme jealousy.
Abusive partners also often destroy property or punch walls to intimidate you. They may threaten to tell your secrets, to hurt themselves, or to ruin your reputation if you leave. And when these tactics are no longer enough to control you, an abusive partner will often resort to physical violence, including stopping you from leaving, restraining you, pushing you, or hitting or kicking you.
Your partner will likely try to convince you that s/he is truly sorry, and that this will never happen again. But, abuse rarely stops without your partner seeking help. Emotional and physical abuse usually continues to escalate, and can become very dangerous very quickly.
All abuse should be taken seriously. And if you believe your partner is abusive, you should talk with a trusted friend or family member, or reach out to an advocate for confidential help and support. If you suspect you are being abused, the following questions can help you determine whether the abuse you’re enduring may be even more serious than you suspected. But, remember, always trust your instincts. And be aware of your safety at all times.
- Is your partner constantly or angrily jealous?
- Does s/he control most of your daily activities?
- Have you left him/her in the past?
- Is s/he unemployed or struggling in their job?
- Has s/he ever tried to kill themselves or threatened to kill themselves?
- Does s/he follow you or spy on you?
- Does s/he call/text you multiple times a day?
- Does s/he get upset if you are not available or do not respond immediately?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your partner is likely abusing you, and you may be in danger. Also, if your partner has ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon, has access to weapons, or has ever choked or strangled you, their level of violence is escalating, and it is urgent that you seek help right away.
This is not meant to scare you, but rather to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about what is best for you. You absolutely deserve to be safe and respected – especially by the person who claims to love you.
Your partner’s behavior is not your fault. And there is nothing you can do to make them treat you better. But, there are ways you can protect yourself and your children. Advocates are available to help you create a plan for your safety. Call the National Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) and get the help and support you deserve.
Remember, you deserve to be treated with love and respect, all the time.