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Image by Matthew Bennett




  • Confused about your relationship?

  • That you are "walking on eggshells"?

  • Like you cant spend time with family or friends?

  • As if you cant do anything right?

  • Like you are in a relationship with two completely different people?

  • That you need to justify everything you do?

  • Worried that your relationship isn't healthy?

  • Afraid of your partner?

  • Like you avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?

  • Emotionally numb or helpless?

  • Like you dread going home or seeing your partner?

  • Helpless?

  • Like you get blamed for your partner's anger or bad mood?

  • Feel your social connections and support system diminishing?


  • Call you names or put your down?

  • Keep you from leaving when you want to leave?

  • Force you to do things sexually you don't feel comfortable doing?

  • Act excessively jealous or possessive?

  • Control where you go or what you do?

  • Call you crazy or make you question what you know is real?

  • Keep you from seeing your friends and family?

  • Limit your access to money, the phone or transportation?

  • Hurt you or threaten to hurt or kill you?

  • Threaten to take your children away or harm them?

  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

  • Force you to have sex?

  • Destroy your belongings or sentimental items?

  • Threaten to "out" you at work or to family and friends?

  • Threaten to use the law against you?

  • Threaten to use your immigration status against you?

  • Invalidate your feelings or make you feel crazy?

Image by Sydney Sims
Abuse can happen to anyone.  

What can I do?

If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, reach out.

  • Stay safe. Make a plan for you, your children, and pets.

  • Seek the support of caring people. Tell someone you trust about the abuse. They may be your friend, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, or staff members of support agencies. Talk to them in a private, safe place. You do not need to face abuse alone.

  • If you have a protection order, keep it with you at all times.

  • Document abusive incidents.

  • Contact DOVE or another domestic violence agency.


Create a safety plan
Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. Consider taking these precautions:

  • Call a domestic violence hotline for advice. Make the call at a safe time — when the abuser isn’t around — or from a friend’s house or other safe location.

  • Pack an emergency bag that includes items you’ll need when you leave, such as extra clothes and keys. Leave the bag in a safe place. Keep important personal papers, money and prescription medications handy so that you can take them with you on short notice.

  • Know exactly where you’ll go and how you’ll get there.

Protect your communication and location

An abuser can use technology to monitor your telephone and online communication and to track your physical location.

If you’re concerned for your safety, seek help. To maintain your privacy:

  • Use phones cautiously. Your abuser might intercept calls and listen to your conversations. He or she might use caller ID, check your cellphone or search your phone billing records to see your complete call and texting history.

  • Use your home computer cautiously. Your abuser might use spyware to monitor your emails and the websites you visit. Consider using a computer at work, at the library or at a friend’s house to seek help.

  • Remove GPS devices from your vehicle. Your abuser might use a GPS device to pinpoint your location.

  • Frequently change your email password. Choose passwords that would be impossible for your abuser to guess.

  • Clear your viewing history. Follow your browser’s instructions to clear any record of websites or graphics you’ve viewed.

No matter who you are, these things can happen.

Abuse can impact your job, housing, food security, and health. You are not alone. All cultural, religious, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are affected by domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe.

Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, you can get the help you need.

It is still abuse if…

The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television, or heard other women talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed, for example.

The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your spouse/partner has injured you once, it is likely they will continue to physically assault you.

The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted!

There has not been any physical violence. Many partners are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.

About Abusers:

Abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims.

Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.

Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to see their abusive behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but lash out instantly as soon as you’re alone.

Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they’re able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it’s to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls).


Warning Signs:

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