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Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Relationships are usually complicated, sometimes, however, they turn dangerous

Warning Signs

Keep in mind that these signs may seem harmless at first glance. They aren’t. In an unhealthy or abusive relationship, they will grow in intensity and frequency over time.  It isn’t the presence of one or two warning signs that indicates a potentially violent relationship.  It is a combination of the signs that reliably predicts the risk for violence.

1.  Manipulative charm

Abusers are often charismatic and well-liked. Charm is an abusers’ tool to get what they want and to avoid the consequences of bad behavior.

2.  Quick push for closeness

Abusers will move quickly to integrate themselves into your life, making you feel like a special and desirable person. This affects your ability to make rational decisions and to objectively evaluate the abuser’s behavior.   It is like a drug by flooding your brain with intoxicating emotion.

3.  Low impulse control

Abusers want what they want when they want it; if what they want is you, then they have to have you right now.

4.  Center of the universe

For abusers, everything is about them. They show no interest in what you do or what you like, want, or need.

5.  License to criticize

Abusers feel entitled to criticize others and take no responsibility for their own actions.

6.  Pointing fingers

Abusers always blame others when something goes wrong in their world; even for things they do. Their apologies sound like: “I’m sorry, but…”

7.  Underlying grudgingness

We all get hurt by individuals we care about. Non-abusive individuals will find a way to heal and move forward, abusers tend to stay stuck, holding on to perceived offenses for long periods of time

8.  Volatile moods

Abusers use their manipulative charm at the onset of a relationship by being fun and loving. Their mood swings, however, are extreme. They become increasingly angry and combative, using negative moods as punishment.

9.  Sensitivity challenged

Abusers are so consumed with themselves that they often don’t care for others, specially plants, pets, the environment, and children.

10.  Simmering anger and low boiling points

The abusers see the world as a hostile place so they feel they need to maintain a dominant position by exerting power over things and people around through anger.

11.  Possessiveness

Abusers don’t have relationships, they own people, and quickly become territorial in a relationship. They often question who you are with, where you went, go through your phone, and may demand passwords to your accounts.

12.  Entitled control

The abuser’s goal is to dominate your life by isolating you. To exert control they may try to manage your finances, your communication, and relationships with other people.

13.  Addictive tendencies

Abusers tend to have a propensity for addition of alcohol, drugs, and behaviors such as working out.

14.  A track record

Abusers tend to have a long history of abuse that follows them.  You can often see this pattern in arrest records or by talking to former partners.

The presence of one or more of these warning signs is not a predictor of future physical violence or fatal outcomes.

Be aware of these signs, and if you can, talk to your partner honestly and openly as soon as you feel a concern. Be objective in assessing your partner’s response.

If you can’t talk to your partner about your concerns because you fear for your safety, consider speaking to an advocate. Our website has a list of resources in our region Report Sexual Misconduct.

In collaboration with IPRV (Institute for the Prevention of Relationship Violence). Learn more at IPRV.