This list was taken from an article by the advice column, Dear Abby. It is important for everyone to know and be able to recognize the signs of an abusive partner: for themselves and for their loved ones. This is a distinctive pattern which can be found in many abusive relationships.

(1) PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

(2) JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the mileage on your car.

(3) 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.

(4) UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.

(5) 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.

(6) BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS OR MISTAKES: It's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong.

(7) MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry," instead of "I am angry," or says, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you."

(8) HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.

(9) CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR 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.

(10) "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.

(11) VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades, curses, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.

(12) RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.

(13) SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

(14) PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person "made" him (or her) do it.

(15) THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things 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 you recognize any of these signs in your relationship, get help. If you think someone you know may be in an abusive relationship, talk to them. Let them know that you are there to help, not to pass judgement on them or their relationship, and be gentle. They may be defensive or in denial so be respectful and don't push them.

Education is one of the best ways to prevent the continuing cycle of abuse. Tell young people in particular: these things are not okay in a relationship. You should not treat your partner this way, and you should not accept if your partner treats you this way. Every human being deserves to be treated with respect. Wiccans may remember the creed "If it harms none, do what you will" -- this includes harming yourself or allowing someone else to do harm to you.

Resources for help:
In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
UK: call Women’s Aid at 0808 2000 247.
Canada: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-363-9010.
Australia: call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.
Safe places to stay:
In the US: visit for a state-by-state directory of domestic violence shelters.
Worldwide: visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of shelters.

other sites
Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network:
Recover From Emotional Abuse:
On Interpersonal Badness:
Sick Systems: How to keep someone with you forever:
Surviving Abuse:
How to Stop Domestic Financial Abuse:
Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships:
Next Door: Solutions for Domestic Violence:
Wikipedia article on domestic violence:
What is domestic violence?

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Tags: abuse, domestic, recovery, violence


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