Red Flags for Abusive Relationships

The following is a list of warning signs for potentially abusive relationships. They are presented as guidelines and cues to pay attention to, not as judgments on the worth of the other person.

Question relationships with partners who:

  • Abuse alcohol or other drugs.
  • Have a history of trouble with the law, get into fights, or break and destroy property.
  • Don’t work or go to school.
  • Blame you for how they treat you, or for anything bad that happens.
  • Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets.
  • Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names.
  • Are always angry at someone or something.
  • Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go.
  • Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don’t want to be.
  • Cheat on you or have lots of partners.
  • Are physically rough with you  outside of negotiated consent(push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain).
  • Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways.
  • Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on them.
  • Don’t listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings. . .things always have to be done their way.
  • Ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or hang up on you.
  • Lie to you, don’t show up for dates, maybe even disappear for days.
  • Make vulgar comments about others in your presence
  • Blame all arguments and problems on you.
  • Tell you how to dress or act if this is outside of negotiated protocols
  • Threaten to kill themselves if you break up with them, or tell you that they cannot live without you.
  • Experience extreme mood swings. . .tell you you’re the greatest one minute and rip you apart the next minute.
  • Tell you to shut up or tell you you’re dumb, stupid, fat, or call you some other name (directly or indirectly).
  • Compare you to former partners.

Some other cues that might indicate an abusive relationship might include:

  • You feel afraid to break up with them.
  • You feel tied down, feel like you have to check-in.
  • You feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects so that the other person won’t get mad.
  • You tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be just fine.
  • You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy.
  • You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy.
  • You find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time.

3 Responses to Red Flags for Abusive Relationships

  1. SafeAtLast says:

    If you have these signs, GET OUT!!!! Take it from me, I just got out of an abusive relationship that had almost all of these signs. He had made me feel like everything was my fault, and he ALWAYS played the victim. I was made to feel like I was nothing, but then he would try to manipulate me by buying me things, or “investing” in me as he called it. Don’t accept abuse, know your worth and GET OUT!!!! I lost everything I owed by getting out but I am so much better off now. Please trust me when I say, things can get better if you get away from an abuser!

  2. Candy says:

    Well, I guess this is what I needed to read. I fell in love with a man that I still love with all of my being. One year in after we were committed and, I thought, ready to take on this life journey together, he tells me that the only way we do that is for me to submit to him completely. He started demanding certain sexual behaviors that I had never done before, promising me he would take care of me physically and emotionally, and because I love him and the sex is amazing, I was ready and willing to try and learn and thought we would grow together. Then he started demanding money saying a sub should NEVER say no to their DOM, that I was breaking the rules (although rules were made daily and changed depending on his mood)….then he started accusing me of cheating on him, every day, and began to call me horrible names and say things like you are the WORST sub ever!!! NO ONE would want you you bitch, whore, cunt, fat cow…and then he hit me during a session, really hard in the face/ear and broke my ear drum and when I cried he laughed and told me my pain fulfilled him. I had never been struck like that before. Spanking and the playtime things were beautiful and bonding, and then a moment later he would look at me and laugh and tell me how pitiful I was and how he secretly laughed inside watching me try to move around with a blindfold on pathetically do what I was told like I was a dog. I dont know what in the fuck to do now-he has mind fucked me into a place where I no longer no who I am, what to do aside from what he demands or how to feel. Is there ANYONE online that I can talk to privately with experience that could help me understand if its ME doing something wrong or if he is fake dominant and just a mean asshole that likes to hurt other people and gloat about how much smarter he is and better he is than me or anyone else on this planet? I would pay for someone to talk to at this point before I lose my mind. Thank you

    • admin says:

      Hi Candy,

      Reading your post saddens me because it sounds like you’ve found an abuser posing as a Dominant. There’s a difference between Dominant and domineering, and your post sends up all sorts of red flags. Physical injury, financial demands, and verbal abuse are very definite signs of an abusive relationship. The physical injury is bad enough, but adding in systematic name calling is something many abusers do to make you rely on them, to make you believe nobody else would have you (which if true, why were they attracted to you in the first place? So I’m pretty damn sure it’s a lie!)

      I say with some confidence (and not knowing you) that it’s not you! Aspects of any relationship have to be mutually acceptable. There’s a difference between pushing a boundary gently, and breaking it altogether without consent. The best suggestion I’d offer you is to see a relationship counselor and mention the aspects of your relationship that you feel comfortable with sharing. You can tell them you like a little rough play in the bedroom as most therapists understand that, even if they don’t understand BDSM dynamics. You don’t mention whether you live together but if not, you’re probably time to take some time for yourself. Spend time with friends, and chat with people you trust. You don’t have to talk BDSM with them, but you do need to remember who you are, what makes you happy, and what you absolutely want. Nobody should have to “settle” for an abusive relationship as the best they can hope for. If this person Loved you, they would be considerate of your needs, desires and health.

      I hope things turn around for you soon,

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