Something's just not right in your relationship, and you can't put your finger on it. So here's some help. If your mate is displaying a combination of these behaviors, then you may have a potential batterer on your hands.
A PUSH FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on very strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the new partner for a exclusive commitment almost immediately.
JEALOUSY: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.
CONTROLLING: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you're late) about whom you talked to, and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.
ISOLATION: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car or try to prevent you from holding a job.
BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS AND MISTAKES: It's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong.
MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of "I am angry" or, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you." Less obvious is the claim: "You make me happy."
HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming that his or her feelings are hurt when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just part of life.
CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND TO CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partner will also abuse children.
"PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; finds the idea of rape exciting.
VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes you, or says blatantly cruel, hurtful things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you up with relentless verbal abuse.
RIGID SEX ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.
SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweetly loving to explosively violent in a matter of minutes.
PAST BATTERING: Admits hitting a mate in the past, but says they made him (or her) do it or the situation brought it on.
THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Makes statements like, "I'll break your neck, or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way," or "I didn't really mean it."
If the abuse has gone this far, it's time to get out!
The toll-free number for the domestic violence hot line is (800) 799-7233.
These signs of an abusive partner
have been adapted from the
Project for Victims of Family Violence
in Fayetteville, Ark.