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Know the Warning Signs of and Understand Relationship Abuse

  • Telling you that you never do anything right.

  • Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spent away from them.

  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with others, particularly friends, family members, or peers.

  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.

  • Preventing you from making your own decisions, including about working or attending school.

  • Controlling finances in the household without discussion, such as taking your money or refusing to provide money for necessary expenses.

  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.

  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.

  • Intimidating you through threatening looks or actions.

  • Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.

  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace.

  • Destroying your belongings or your home.


A Monochromatic (black and white) Image of an African American Woman crying yellow tears.  Understand Relationship Abuse

Understand Relationship Abuse. We're all affected by the issue of domestic violence. Understand Relationship Abuse


To understand relationship abuse, we must recognize that it is more than just physical violence. Domestic violence can happen in different ways, so it’s important to understand the behaviors that define it. Ending the harm and stigma of domestic violence requires a nuanced understanding of what abuse is, as well as examples of healthy relationships. This can help you make the best decisions for yourself or for a loved one. Our advocates are available 24/7 by phone and live chat to discuss your situation and help you determine if your relationship might be abusive.

Abuse defined

Domestic violence (also referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), dating abuse, or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. People of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status can be a victim — or perpetrator — of domestic violence. That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate, or control a partner or otherwise force them to behave in ways they don’t want to. This can happen through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, or financial control.

Understand relationship abuse types

Multiple forms of abuse are usually present at the same time in abusive situations, and it’s essential to understand how these behaviors interact so you know what to look for. When we understand what relationship abuse looks like and means, we can then take steps to get help for ourselves as well as better support others who are experiencing abuse.

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