Topic Monday: Domestic Violence Series—Signs of Abuse

Do you have a loved one that you believe might be in an abusive relationship?  Are you unsure of what to look for?

Today, I want to discuss some of the signs of abuse.  Before we begin, I want to share a few part of my story.  When I was in my abusive relationship I was terribly embarrassed.  I did not want anyone to know that a college educated woman was living in such an environment.  Also, the abuse was so gradual that I did not realize I was in an abusive relationship for a good year or more. When I did I felt like I’d been slapped in the face.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.  Looking back everyone else saw it and tried to warn me, long before I was willing to acknowledge this to myself.  This may be the case with your loved one.

So what are some of the signs of an abusive relationship?

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Bruises, black eyes, and other marks on the body                         physical abuse
  • Broken bones
  • Open wounds, cuts and punctures
  • Reports being hit, slapped, kicked or mistreated
  • Refusal to see or talk to family and friends {or only with supervision}


Signs of Technology Abuse

  • Monitors emails, social media and phone calls
  • Limited access or refusal to make phone calls or be online
  • Constantly calling and harassing {checking up} at work
  • Forces you to miss work
  • Insist on driving you everywhere, although you have a car or can drive


Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Report of being sexually assaulted
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Unexplained venereal disease or infections in the genitals
  • Withholds sexual relations to punish you
  • Forces you to have sexual relations with a third party
  • Forces you into sexual relations
  • Continuous cheating or numerous sexual partners


Signs of Mental/Emotional Abuse                                                                     emotional abuse

  • Partner puts you down or calls you names
  • The individual feels that s/he is the crazy one or has a problem
  • Partner criticizes or jeers at your accomplishments
  • Always angry at someone; it’s always their fault
  • The individual feels trapped and helpless
  • The individual begins to feel worthless and may even think of harming self
  • The individual goes out of way to please partner
  • Receive long lectures about what you do wrong and how should change
  • Being withdrawn, non-communicative or nonresponsive
  • Nervousness around certain people
  • Partner makes fun of you and puts you down in front of others
  • Sarcastic jokes or behavior
  • Feel treated as a child and have to get permission
  • Does not listen to partner or show any interest in what partner is saying
  • Partner unable to apologize, everything is always the other person’s fault
  • Withhold attention and affection
  • Gives you the silent treatment
  • Destroys your property or things you care about
  • Lies to you, may disappear for days, makes up wild stories
  • Makes you dress or act a certain way
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Individual is scared of partner
  • Treats the partner as an extension of themselves
  • Disrespect you and your request, dreams, hopes and goals
  • The partner may abuse alcohol or drugs
  • The partner either refuses to work or go to school or to allow their spouse to work/go to school
  • Self-harming behavior such as sucking, biting, or rocking
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Individual is depressed, numb, helpless, cries a lot and is unhappy
  • Have more bad times than good together
  • Withholds basic necessitates such as food, clothes, shelter


Signs of Neglect/Self-Neglectbully

  • Untreated health problems
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Untreated bed sores and poor personal hygiene
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Controls or refuses Doctor prescribed medications


Signs of Abandonment

  • Deserts you in a public place
  • Deserts you with no money or transportation to provide for self
  • Leaves you at home for days with no money, transportation, utilities


Signs of Financial Abuse

  • Abrupt changes in legal and/or financial documentsfinancial abuse
  • Bills left unpaid
  • Takes your money and refuses to give you any of your earnings
  • Controls your spending
  • Unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
  • Transfer of assets to a family member or another adult without your permissions or knowledge

If someone you know shows any of these signs of abuse, I urge you to use extreme caution in reaching out.  Remember your friend or loved one needs to be ready to leave before you can help.

I would encourage you to pray and seek God’s wisdom in what to do next.  Later in this series, we’ll discuss putting together an action plan to leave.

What are some other signs of abuse?



Signs of abuse and what to look for if you believe someone is abused

What are the signs and types of abuse?

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