There is no simple formula for predicting future abuse, but there are six warning signs you need to be aware of:
1. Excessive jealousy
Jealousy is not an uncommon feeling in relationships. However, an article from Domestic Shelters notes that “jealousy, when in response to a real threat to the relationship is normal, as long as it’s dealt with by…talking about establishing healthy boundaries that both partners can agree upon. Jealousy becomes problematic …if one person becomes jealous even when no threat is present.”
2. History of unhealthy/unstable relationships
All of us have at least one unhealthy or chaotic past relationship. However, if you meet someone who has numerous chaotic/unstable past relationships, that can be a red flag. If you notice a pattern of jobs, friendships and/or marriages that ended with, “She/he/it was crazy, so I left,” be wary.
3. “Playful” aggression
Many victims of domestic violence agree that their partners didn’t hit them early on. Instead, their partners would use playful aggression as a way to test their reactions while dating. If your partner hugs you to the point of pain, or smashes his fist on a wall and laughs when you jump, he is testing your reaction.
4. Intimidation tactics
Many victims share how their partners don’t have to always use physical violence to keep them terrified. Instead, their partners use intimidation tactics like punching walls, kicking and slamming doors, throwing or breaking things mixed with occasional physical violence to keep them scared and cowering.
5. Controlling behaviors
One of the primary components of domestic violence is control. I’ve had clients whose spouses controlled their computer use, choice of friends, car use and bank account. However, these clients rarely started the relationship by handing over unlimited access to everything. Instead, it was a slow, subtle process that started by their partners taking control over little things.
Gaslighting is defined as “a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting his or her own memory, perception, and sanity”.
People who are abusive will use this technique to leave the victim confused and disoriented.