Warning signs of an Unhealthy Relationship.
Note: This information applies to both genders and heterosexual or homosexual relationships. For simplicity, the partner here is referred to as a male in this checklist, but the abuser could be a female partner, date or spouse.
• Gets serious in the relationship really quick. Wants a commitment right away. Says, “he’s never loved anyone like you; he can’t live without you. You are his life.”
• Very jealous. Check up on you all the time. Doesn’t want you to have friendships with other men or is jealous of your time with girlfriends, family or with co-workers too.
• Very controlling. Wants to be in charge and make the decisions. Tries to influence you. Wants to know where you are and who you will be with at all times. May not want or ‘let’ you spend time with others.
• Has strong beliefs about men’s and women’s roles. Has rigid ideas about men and women. Believes women should ‘stand by their man’ – the man should be in charge.
• Tries to keep you for himself. He may try to limit your time with friends and family. Wants you to spend all of your free time with him. Threatens to leave you or to hurt himself if you tell him you want to spend time with your friends.
• Has demanding expectations: Expects you to meet his every need. Is unrealistic and blames you when things go wrong.
• Blames other for his problems. Has a hard time taking responsibility for his action. Blames friends, family, boss, or you for the problems. It’s never his fault.
• Overly sensitive: is easily hurt or offended. Often guarded or defensive. Judges and is critical of others. Quick to become irritable, angry or depressed as an overreaction.
• Mood shifts and quick tempered. May go from happy to angry in seconds. Irritability and rage happen unexpectedly and for no reason. May shift to depressed, tearful and remorseful quickly after a rage or violent outburst.
• Verbally and emotionally abusive: Makes critical, hurtful and cruel remarks to you. Calls you names, degrades you, says you’re worthless; humiliates you in public and in front of friends/family.
• Hurts animals or is cruel to children. Intentionally harms to tortures animals. May tease or degrade others; bullies those who are not as strong as him physically.
• Forceful about sex: Pressures you for sex or forces you to do things you don’t want to do. May act like he’s playing, but uses physical force, such as throwing you on the bed or saying degrading things to you during sex.
• Threatens to hurt you, himself or someone/something else. He may threaten to kill himself or you if you ever try to leave him. He may make threats toward others or have violent plans of how he would hurt someone if they crossed him.
• Apologizes and tries to make up for his rage or hurtful behaviors. After an argument or an abusive episode, he will try to convince you how sorry he is and how much he loves you. He may buy you gifts and show tenderness toward you until the next episode . . . and it will happen again, despite his promise that he will never hurt you again.
• He acts like two different people. Sometimes he is the most caring, loving person – other times, he’s hurtful, cruel and unpredictable, making you question your future together or to be afraid for your life.
• Your self-esteem keeps falling the longer you are with him. Your confidence in yourself and your sense of who you are and what you want to be is constantly challenged while you are in this relationship.
• Your friends and family have expressed concerns to you about the relationship.
• You’re afraid of what will happen if you end the relationship and therefore you decide to stay in the relationship rather than take the risk of leaving.
These are signs of a potentially abusive, hurtful and dangerous relationship. If you care about someone who is in this kids of relationship, show them this list and talk to them about getting help. If you recognize several of these items in your relationship, talk to a counselor or a battered women’s crisis line. Take care of yourself.
Domestic Violence Hotline 1-877-890-7788
Reprint this handout as needed in its entirety with citation.
From: “Coping with Sexual Assault: A Guide to Healing and recovery”
by TS Nelson, copyright 2009. For more information, go to http://www.sugati.org
This information can be triggering to some people. If you begin feeling stressed and overwhelmed, feel free to call the Support line for free confidential support from a trained and experienced Advocate. 1-800-871-7741