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Signs of Abuse


Is your partner using verbal, psychological, physical, or sexual abuse against you?

Are they controlling, threatening, or violent?

If you answered “Yes” to the above, but still aren’t sure if you are being abused, please take a look at the questions below.


Here are some of the warning signs:

  • Does your partner put you down, insult you and blame you for things that happen that aren’t your fault?
  • Does your partner tell you that you are not worthy or “not good enough” to be loved?
  • Does your partner often become jealous and possessive?
  • Did your partner witness domestic violence as a child?
  • Does your partner have an explosive temper?
  • Does your partner prevent you from having your own friends, or from seeing your family?
  • Does your partner not allow you to have your own opinions, or to speak freely?
  • Does your partner not allow you to spend money, controlling how much you spend or make all the financial decisions without your input?
  • Does your partner prevent you from working?
  • Does your partner keep you confined, preventing you from leaving your home, etc.?
  • Does your partner threaten you, making you feel afraid and/or intimidated?
  • Does your partner destroy things or possessions when angry?
  • Does your partner push, slap, hit, kick, bite, strangle, or pull your hair?
  • Does your partner force you to have sex, or have sex in ways that you don’t want to?
  • Does your partner force you to pose for pictures that make you uncomfortable or threaten to post/share private photos of you?
  • Does your partner threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, or members of your family?
  • Does your partner threaten to harm themselves if you don’t do what they want?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be experiencing abuse and you may be in danger.

Sharing with someone that you are being abused may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it is a first step in breaking the cycle of violence in your life. Don’t keep abuse a secret. Confide in family members or friends whom you trust. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. Contact Hope Center.


Characteristics of Batterers

All of the characteristics do not apply to all batterers. However, the following are general characteristics that apply to many batterers.

  • Come from every race, religion, nationality, economic class, educational background and profession.
  • Often have feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness.
  • Believe in traditional role relationships between men and women.
  • Are excessively jealous, particularly with regard to sex, even though they may at the same time be telling the victim that no one else would ever want them.
  • Have a need to be included in all aspects of their spouse’s/partner’s life, extreme possessiveness.
  • May have experienced violence in the past; either were abused as a child or witnessed the abuse of their mothers or other family members. (According to one study, approximately 60% of abusers identified themselves as having witnessed or experienced abuse as children.)
  • Are often involved in alcohol or drugs during physical encounters. It is important to remember that alcohol and drugs are NOT the cause of the abuse, but often serve as an excuse for the violence. In fact, many batterers who are also substance abusers become more violent even after becoming clean and sober.
  • Often are described as having a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality, being very charming one minute and very violent the next, or very violent with spouse/partner, but very charming with others.
  • Are unable to express a range of emotions. Batterers are typically either angry or OK. Feel they are justified in using violence to solve problems within the family.
  • Often believes that their family has given them no other choice than to be violent.
  • Fail to accept responsibility for their behavior.
  • Minimize or deny violent behavior.
  • Are impulsive. Batterers typically make decisions, even major ones, much more impulsively than does the general population. Isolated, but unlike the victim’s isolation, the batterer’s is self imposed.
  • The victim is typically the person to whom they are closest and most dependent upon.

Because batterers fail to accept responsibility for their behavior, minimize or deny the abuse, and act impulsively, counseling is frequently unsuccessful in deterring future abuse.

Developed by Dr. Anne Ganley

Characteristics of Victims

All of the characteristics do not apply to all victims. However, the following are general characteristics that apply to many victims.

  • Come from every race, age, religion, economic class, educational background and profession.
  • Have feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness.
  • Have traditional attitudes about the roles of men and women.
  • May have experienced violence in the past, either as an abused child or as a witness of the abuse between parents.
  • Feel responsible for the perpetrator’s abusive behavior.
  • Minimize and/or deny the abuse.
  • Are ambivalent about the batterer. They love their partner but hate the abusive behavior.
  • Often experience many physical ailments, either as a result of the abuse or the stress associated with the abuse. They may suffer from headaches, colitis, irregular bowel syndrome, depression, etc.
  • Are fearful for themselves, their children and the future in general. Their fears are legitimate.
  • Are isolated, but unlike the batterer, their isolation is imposed upon them by an exterior force, the batterer.
  • Have difficulty making decisions, believing that whatever decision they make will be wrong.
  • Are angry. Their rage regarding the violence perpetrated against them may not be apparent because they are so afraid to express it. Often this anger will be expressed at a later time, which may be inappropriate or targeted towards someone other than the abuser.
  • Not all victims exhibit traits that evoke sympathy in others, e.g., they may have a hard exterior, etc.

No one deserves to be abused.

Developed by Dr. Anne Ganley