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Signs Your Partner May Be Abusive

Signs of Abuse

  1. 'Jeckel and Hyde behavior': Your partner is wonderful and caring for a while and then will do an about face and be angry about things that they thought were fine at an earlier time. They switch back and forth between behaviors for no apparent reason.
  2. 'Life Would be so Good If': You frequently think that your relationship would be perfect if not for his or her emotional storms. The storms seem to be coming more and more frequently. Between times, life is wonderful, but when a storm is coming you can often tell by that 'Walking on Eggs Feeling'.
  3. 'That Walking On Eggs Feeling': You feel at times that any action on your part will cause your partner to erupt into anger. You try to do everything you can think of to avoid it, but the longer the feeling goes on, the more likely the blowup will happen, no matter what you do.
  4. 'I Can't Stand You, But You Better Not Leave': Your partner keeps telling you that you aren't worth having a relationship with, but will not consider breaking off the relationship. Acts more outrageously when he or she finds out you are attempting to leave the relationship.
  5. 'So Much, So Fast': Your partner just met you and doesn't know much about you, but he or she has to have you, so you must commit now.
  6. 'It's You That's the Problem': Your partner never seems to consider his or her own part in your domestic disputes. You get blamed for all problems because of the most ridiculous things.
  7. 'This Happened to Me and It's All Your Fault': You are blamed for your partners problems even when it was his or her responsibility to not make mistakes. This could be things like him or her not getting to work on time and getting in trouble, not getting a job, not paying the bills in a timely manner, etc.
  8. 'It's Their Fault': Your partner is never the cause of his own problems, if it's not your fault, it was somebody else's.
  9. 'Overreacting': Your partner way overreacts to little irritations. Small offenses like leaving the cap off the toothpaste cause him or her to have huge anger scenes or act out in an outrageous manner.
  10. 'I Will Get You for That': Your partner doesn't try to negotiate a better relationship, but retaliates by doing something to you that he or she knows will hurt you emotionally.
  11. 'All the Fights are about What I Do Wrong': You never seem to be able to talk about his or her wrong actions, the discussion seems to always be about what you did wrong and there seems to be always something new that you did wrong.
  12. 'You are Worthless': Your partner keeps telling you that all your problems are because you can't manage to do anything right.
  13. 'Unrealistic Expectations': Your partner is dependent on you for all his/her needs and expects you to be the perfect mate, lover and friend. You are expected to meet all of his/her needs.
  14. 'Blames Others for His/Her Feelings': You are told, "You make me mad," "you're hurting me by not doing what I ask,: or "I can't help being angry".
  15. 'Intense Jealousy': Your partner tells you that expressing jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity not love. You are questioned about who you talk to and you may frequently receive calls or unexpected visits during the day.
  16. 'Isolation': He or She have attempted to cut off your family, friends, and independent financial resources. Your friends and family are put down and you are put down for socializing with them. You or they are accused of ridiculous motives.

Abusive people have problems with handling anger. They try to control their environment with aggressive behavior, not assertive behavior.

Aggressive behavior is characterized by:

Asserting his or her own rights at the expense of others. Engages in inappropriate outbursts or badly overreacts. Intent is to humiliate or to get even, to put down others. Feels superior to others. Verbal behavior of interrupting, threats, uses name calling, demands, put-downs - judgmental. Saves up anger and resentment and uses them to justify later blowups.

Assertive behavior is characterized by:

Standing up for legitimate rights in a way that does not violate rights of others. Emotionally honest, direct, expressive. Works to enhance self. Confident, feels good about him or herself now and later. Verbal behavior of direct statements, "I" statements (I think, I feel, I want). Speaks in cooperative terms (let's, how can we). Statements of interest (what do you think?). Values him or herself and others, needs are met. Owns his or her own behavior.

Family Advocacy handout
"Learning to Live without Violence"
by Daniel Jay Sonkin Ph.D. Michael Durphy, M.D.

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