The following signs often occur before actual abuse and may serve as clues to potential abuse:

Did he or she grow up in a violent family? People who grow up in families where they have been abused as children, or where one parent abuses the other, often view violence as normal behavior.

Does he or she tend to use force or violence to try to solve problems? A person who has a criminal record for violence, who gets into fights, or who likes to act tough is likely to act the same way with his or her partner and children.

Does he or she have a quick temper? Do they overreact to little problems and minor frustrations? Is he or she cruel to animals? Does he or she punch walls or throw things when upset? Any of these behaviors may be a sign of a person who works out their feelings through violence.

Does he or she abuse alcohol or other drugs? There is a strong link between violence and problems with drugs and alcohol. Be alert to your partner’s drinking or drug problem, particularly if they refuse to admit they have a problem or to get help. Do not think you can change them.

Does he or she have “traditional” ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be? Does he think a woman should stay at home, take care of her man and follow his wishes and orders?

Is he or she jealous of your other relationships – not just with members of the opposite sex, but also with your same-sex friends or family members? Does your partner keep tabs on you? Does he or she want to know where you are at all times? Does your partner want you with them all the time?

Does he or she have access to guns, knives, or other lethal instruments? Does your partner talk about using them against people, or threaten to use them to get even?

Does he or she expect you to follow his orders or advice? Does he or she become angry if you do not fulfill his or her wishes or if you cannot anticipate what he or she wants?

Does your partner go through extreme highs or lows, almost as though he or she is two different people? Can your partner be extremely kind one time and extremely cruel another time?

When he or she becomes angry, do you fear your partner? Do you find that not making them angry has become a major part of your life? Do you do what your partner wants you to do rather than what you want to do?

Does he or she treat you roughly? Does he or she physically force you to do what you do not want to do?

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