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WARNING SIGNS: victims of abuse

Am I being abused?
(Adult checklist)

  • Are you cursed, called names or blamed whenever things go wrong?
  • Is free time limited to your partner's interests only?
  • Are you forbidden to use money or buy anything for yourself?
  • Is it impossible to enjoy outside friendships due to jealousy?
  • Does your partner have a "Jekyll & Hyde" personality?
  • Do you cover or make excuses for your partner's behavior?
  • Do you do more than a fair share of the work, paid or unpaid?
  • Do you feel you must ask permission to do things?
  • Are you sometimes punished for "misbehaving?"
  • Did your partner grow up in an abusive family?
  • Are you the "butt" of humiliating jokes?
  • Is there a scene if you express an opposite opinion?
  • Do you live in fear of your loved one?

If you have answered “yes” to:

  • 1 to 2 of the above: Take notice, strive together to improve troubled areas.
  • 3 to 4 : Seriously examine relationship, seek qualified counseling.
  • 5 to 6: Relationship breaking down, abuse is the issue. Marriage counseling may not be appropriate until FEAR ceases.
  • 7 to 13: Crisis intervention needed! Seek individual help from a counselor familiar with abuse issues. Joint therapy is not recommended.

Am I being abused?
(Child checklist)

  • Are you cursed, called names or blamed whenever things go wrong?
  • Does someone in your family make fun of you in ways that make you feel bad about yourself?
  • Does one of your parents hit the other? Do they hurt each other?
  • Does someone in your family often hurt you by accident?
  • Do your parents never allow you to have friends over or go to someone else’s house?
  • Does someone in your family hurt you and tell you not to tell anyone?

(Developed by Family Violence Project, San Francisco, California, and STAND!, Concord, California)


warning signs: Abusive partners

Is my partner or parent abusive? Am I abusive?

Use this with discretion. You may not want to present it, but you can use it to add to your own understanding of people who abuse. This is not clinically proven, but it is based on clinical experience with people who abuse and a concept of what constitutes the typical personality of people who abuse. Remember, people who abuse are not psychopaths or sociopaths; they are average, ordinary people. They are the man or the woman next door, the president of the PTA, the head of the youth group, the man who pulls over to help you change your tire, the town doctor or lawyer.

If you think your behavior might be abusive, do you…

  • Get angry or insecure about your partner’s relationships with others (friends, family, coworkers) and feel possessive?
  • Frequently call and text to check up on your partner, or have them check in with you?
  • Check up on your partner in different ways? (Ex. Reading their personal emails, checking their texts)
  • Feel like your partner needs to ask your permission to go out, get a job, go to school or spend time with others?
  • Get angry when your partner doesn’t act the way you want them to or do what you want them to?
  • Blame your anger on drugs, alcohol, or your partner’s actions?
  • Find it very difficult to control your anger and calm down?
  • Express your anger by threatening to hurt your partner, or actually physically doing so?
  • Express your anger verbally through raising your voice, name calling or using put-downs?
  • Forbid your partner from spending money, or require that they have an allowance and keep receipts of their spending?
  • Force or attempt to force your partner to be intimate with you?
  • Blow up in anger at small incidents or “mistakes” your partner makes?

If you might be the abusive partner, how does your partner react to you? Do they…

  • Seem nervous around you?
  • Seem afraid of you?
  • Cringe or move away from you when you’re angry?
  • Cry because of something you don’t let them do, or something you made them do?
  • Seem scared or unable to contradict you or speak up about something?
  • Restrict their own interaction with friends, coworkers or family in order to avoid displeasing you?

(Source: The National Domestic Violence Hotline)