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understanding abuse

Part of understanding abuse is seeing what it looks like...

Does your partner...

  • Control what you do, who you talk to or where you go?
  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
  • Push you, slap you, choke you or hit you?
  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?
  • Control the money in the relationship? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?
  • Make all of the decisions without your input or consideration of your needs?
  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away your children?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school?
  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, deny the abuse or tell you it’s your own fault?
  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?
  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?
  • Attempt to force you to drop criminal charges?

    If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In this section, you’ll find more information on the types of abuse, why people abuse and why it’s so difficult to leave. Don’t hesitate to chat or call us (1-800-799-7233) if anything you read raises a red flag about your own relationship or that of someone you know.

      We’re here to help. Call us now (208) 733-0100.



Learn more about power, control, and the warning signs of the many different types of abuse.


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If anything you read here makes you want to talk to someone, call us (208) 733-0100.

Domestic violence encompasses a spectrum of behaviors that abusers use to control victims. The following list includes warning signs that someone may be abusive. If you or a friend experience these behaviors from a partner, remember: it is not your fault and there are advocates waiting to help. 

"Red flags" include someone who:

  • Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.

  • Early in the relationship flatters you constantly, and seems "too good to be true."

  • Wants you all to him- or herself; insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family.

  • Insists that you stop participating in hobbies or activities, quit school, or quit your job.

  • Does not honor your boundaries. 

  • Is excessively jealous and accuses you of being unfaithful. 

  • Wants to know where you are all of the time and frequently calls, emails, and texts you throughout the day. 

  • Criticizes or puts you down; says you are crazy, stupid, and/or fat/unattractive, or that no one else would ever want or love you. 

  • Takes no responsibility for his or her behavior and blames others. 

  • Has a history of abusing others. 

  • Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on his or her former partner; for example, "My ex was totally crazy." 

  • Takes your money or runs up your credit card debt. 

  • Rages out of control with you but can maintain composure around others. 

Source: National Network to End Domestic Violence

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