According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, http://www.thehotline.org/2012/09/red-flags-of-abuse/, abuse can take many forms, many of which are listed below:
- Embarrassing or putting you down
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you
- Attempting to stop you from pressing charges
- Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done
- Threatening to hurt or kill you
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
- Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready
He would embarrass me in front of others: He did this early on and covered it well. So much so that it didn’t really set off any red flags for me. I didn’t like it but he pulled it off. “She’s going to be mad at me for saying this but…” then he’d say whatever it was that I didn’t want him to tell others.
He wouldn’t let me leave: There was a tornado warning for our area. We lived in a trailer on top of a big open hill. We had no shelter. I wanted to go to my parents’ house 15 minutes away. They have a basement. I told him our daughter and I were seeking shelter there. He came home just as I was walking out the door to leave. He insisted that I stay and wait for him because he didn’t want to take two cars over there. The tornado warning was in effect for the time that we should have been leaving. I wanted to be to a safe place BEFORE the tornado hit and not in a car. Call me crazy (which he did). He intentionally took his time packing, all the while ranting about how stupid it would be to take two cars over there. Why did he need to pack? We were only staying overnight at the most. He didn’t need to pack much. It was very deliberate. It probably took him twenty minutes to pack and several times I said, if you’re not ready in 2 minutes I’m just going to go ahead. He kept finding ways to stall. “I’m almost ready!” then he’d intentionally pack more, walking very slowly. So slowly it was very obvious what he was doing. I felt so trapped and angry but I was afraid to go. He seemed very unstable. I was afraid of what he would do to me. He was putting our daughter’s life in jeopardy because he wanted to control the situation. Yes, chances are, the tornado wouldn’t have hit us, but who wants to take that chance? I’m so angry at him for things like that that prove that he never did love me. No wonder I felt so sick all the time. I felt so torn, and so sad over this loser that didn’t give a shit about me or his own daughter. I found out later that he had specifically told the secretary to NOT tell me that there was a tornado warning for our area because I would “over-react”.
Looking at you in ways that scare you: There were several times that he scared me by the way he looked at me. The above story about the tornado, for instance. I remember having a conversation with him once where I told him that I don’t know how he can love me and look at me like I’m a complete and utter moron. What I didn’t tell him was that I was terrified of him. I’m not sure why I never told him. I think I was scared to. I didn’t want him to know I was scared of him. I was scared for him to know that, as any who have been in abusive situations know.
Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do: I wasn’t allowed to get my hair cut at a friend’s hair studio because this person told him that he prefers that people make appointments. N-ex always wanted to just pop in and be given special treatment. He was offended by this, therefore he didn’t want me supporting this friend’s business anymore or associating with someone who didn’t like him. My mom got me a gift certificate for the friend’s business for Christmas. I wasn’t allowed to use it but had to go to a different salon instead.
Keeping you from seeing your friends/families: N-ex didn’t want me seeing my family, especially my mother, because he knew she didn’t like him and he thought she would try to turn me against him. She was supportive of me being strong and having a healthy relationship and when she saw that it wasn’t, she tried to help me see that and get out. He must’ve thought I wouldn’t see it on my own, or likely, he would downplay the abuse. Of course, in his eyes, he did no wrong, so my family was just “making up” these stories in his mind. He was angry at me because I had “made them not like him” by telling them arguments we’d had, etc. In reality, I told them very little, or else I’d be accused of “spreading negativity about the marriage (him)”. They weren’t stupid. They could see it. My brothers each walked in on a few arguments. His family could even see it. He tried to keep me from seeing them too, but he has lost his power to do so.
Preventing you from making your own decisions: I wanted to open a second business near home. It was my own business. He wouldn’t let me. He said that he didn’t think it would go well, me in an office with my family. He TOLD me when our daughter was 3 weeks old that I needed to go back to work. “This is when most moms go back to work.” Of course, he’s the expert. Never mind that I had our daughter at home, no rest in the hospital, and no stitches for my tears. Talk about excruciating! He decided we weren’t going to visit family on Christmas when our daughter had slight sniffles. He decided to turn the care around several times on the way out to my family’s house, ruining many Easters and family reunions.
He wouldn’t let me walk down the stairs by myself with the baby. They were narrow stairs. I did appreciate the “care”, but one day, we were arguing about something (which “caused him” to throw away my bottles of shampoo and conditioner that my mom had bought for me) and I just forgot and walked down the stairs with the baby without him walking in front of me. I’d done it hundreds of times before when he was at work and I was home with the baby. He then proceeded to say that I was “acting like a blooming idiot.” He was always so kind as to not CALL me a blooming idiot. See, I told you he could be nice at times.
Threatening to take away your children: He threatened to take our daughter away when we had the big blowup argument that fateful day. He threatened to leave first. When he got no reaction, he said, “And I’m taking (our daughter) with me!” He didn’t get out of there with her that day because I caved and apologized, again. But there were scary looks that would make Hannibal Lecter cringe. After I had to make the call to my mom to “rectify the situation”, telling her that I would never speak to her again, he told me that if I left him that he would fight for and get full custody because I couldn’t support her because I had a failed ___ business. (I DID have a poorly paying business, but his was even worse than mine!) Also, as a side note: my business would have been a bit more successful if he would quit telling people that I was a bad _____ and that I sucked. (Of course, he was much better at it than I was, even though he didn’t finish school (or even come close to it) like I had.)
Blaming you for the abuse: He wouldn’t have had to shove me that day if I hadn’t called my mom. It was my fault that he had to do that. He wouldn’t be so mad if I hadn’t acted so insensitively. He wouldn’t be livid if I hadn’t worn headphones while cleaning the house. He wouldn’t be ridiculously losing his cool if I hadn’t stopped to pee before leaving the house, etc., etc., etc.
Shoving, choking: The day of the big blowup, he grabbed my neck like he was going to choke me. He had those crazy eyes then. All I could see was rage. Instead he just shoved me down onto my knees. I think he would have done more if he wasn’t holding our two year old daughter who was flung in his arms. She then started crying and he finally gave her back to me. She was scared of him for a while. She cried, “Why’d Daddy try to take me?” for weeks after that. I prayed my mom would hear her on the other end of the line when I had to make my call. She didn’t. No one could help me. No one knew.
Stop you from pressing charges: After that day (Friday) he left for work Monday. I didn’t have to be in until 11:00am. I planned to stop by the police station to make a report. Little did I know I couldn’t. I didn’t have any bruises. He called me 6 times on the way to work. He seemed nervous. He said he had a feeling I was going to try to do something. He was right. I did try to do something. It wasn’t what I had planned. But I stopped by, made a report to someone else, and went to work.
During the day of the blowup, when I went for my phone to call for help when he was trying to run off with our daughter, he knocked the phone from my hand. He wouldn’t let me call anyone. He said he’d be long gone with her before anyone could get there.
Threatening to kill/hurt you:
After the day I talked to the lady that the policeman sent me to, apparently a child services report was made. A month later, I got the call that someone from child services wanted to speak to me. I was scared. Not of the child services, but of my husband. I dreaded telling him. He was ok at first, but the more he thought about it, the madder he got. He assumed that I told them but he didn’t really come right out and say it. Instead, he made threats that whoever told on him should be “made to never do it again.” I said, “like, what do you mean?” He just kept saying the same thing, “whoever did this should be punished and made to never do it again.” I didn’t realize at the time that he really thought it was my mom and me who had made the report. He DID say that the only person mad at him was my mom and maybe me, but I didn’t think he though she did it. Apparently he did, because he tried to sue us during the divorce for filing a “false” report with child services. When I realized that that threat to “make them never do it again” really was intended for me and my mom, I got chills down my spine. This man is even more evil then I knew. How could I live with someone like this for so long and what else could have happened? I feel very lucky to be out.
Changing faces: I added this one, just thought of it. When I left the first time, he was really angry, then he’d cry. I wouldn’t talk to him. He’d left messages. I didn’t answer them. My Dad called him and said I needed some time and space but he could come and see our daughter. After I’d been gone about a week, he came up to my room where I was staying. He had been playing with our daughter and she was crying for me. I came down to get her and he followed me upstairs. He stayed up there for a while. He was threatening and angry, then suddenly, he saw a glimmer of hope in my sad eyes. Suddenly he turned on the charm. Before you know it, he’s hugging me and crying, promising to change. He says we just need a vacation, time for ourselves to work this all out. He’ll change. Yea, he’ll change alright. He’ll change to manipulate you into doing what he wants. Similarly, on the day I left for good, the day of the meeting with child services, he vascillated from angry to hurt to “we can work this out”. Seemed he didn’t want to be too nice if he didn’t have to be but if I was leaving, then he was going to be angry! It was like, he had to have the upper hand but he’d be nice if he HAD to to manipulate me back in.
Add your own. There are more!