THE WARNING SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

He is controlling, possessive and overly demanding of her time and attention. He appears at times to be two
different people: one, charming, loving and kind; the other, abusive, vicious and mean—like “Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde.” He keeps her on edge, not knowing who he’ll be. He makes her feel bad about herself and will, at
times, be sorry for his behavior, promising not to do it again. But he will do it again and then deny, minimize
or blame others for his behavior. She will feel it is all her fault. If only she could please him more or be more
compliant, he wouldn’t treat her this way. 

EMOTIONAL
• He insults her, calls her names and belittles her in private and in public with her family and friends.
• He isolates her from family and friends, forbidding her to see them or limiting her access to them.
• He is jealous of her contact with others, particularly with other men. He exaggerates her relationships
with other men, accusing her unfairly of having affairs outside of their relationship.
• He wants to know where she is at all times, calling or texting her to find out who she is with.
He invades her privacy by checking her cell phone, viewing her email or monitoring her web pages.
• He refuses to accept when she ends the relationship and may stalk her long afterwards.

PHYSICAL
• He yells, screams and loses his temper easily, sometimes disproportionately over unimportant things.
• He destroys her things, kicks or breaks other property, making her fear that he could hurt her, too.
• He intimidates her, making her afraid of him by his looks, actions and gestures.
• He grabs her, kicks her, slaps her, punches her, strangles her or draws a gun or weapon and
threatens to kill her. He harms her pets or threatens to hurt or harm her family or friends.
• He stalks her with unwanted phone calls, visits to her house or job and secretly monitors her actions.

ECONOMIC
• He controls her access to money, even her own money or money she has earned herself.
• He refuses to pay bills or let her know about family income, investments or property.
• He keeps her from getting or keeping a job, refuses to support their family or children.
• He makes all the big decisions, using male privilege to get his way and insisting on rigid gender roles.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
• She feels like she is going crazy, that his view of the world is not reasonable, but she will have little
chance of convincing him otherwise and he demands her absolute loyalty to his way of thinking.
• He says he can’t live without her or will kill himself if she leaves, so she fears ending the relationship.
• He pushes the relationship too far, too fast and is obsessed with her and wants her for himself.
• He has unrealistic expectations and demands, and she feels it is her fault he’s not happy.

SEXUAL
• He demands to have sex forcibly without her consent with him or with others.
• He withdraws sex from her or makes it conditional on her compliance to his demands.
• He calls her crude names, implying she is promiscuous and unfaithful sexually to him.

For immediate crisis intervention services in your local community, contact one of these national hotlines or organizations.

For more information on the Duluth Power and Control Wheel, see theduluthmodel.org.

From Entering the Thriver Zone | Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship @ 2016 by Susan M. Omilian