We’d all like to think that our partners only have our best interests at heart. But tragically, that’s not always the case. And while studies show that nearly half of all men and women in the U.S. have experienced some type of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime, there’s still a huge stigma surrounding domestic violence and abuse victims.
It takes immense courage to be able to leave a domestic violence situation or to take legal action against your abuser by filing a restraining order in NJ. Because domestic violence and abuse escalate and intensify over time — and it’s very rare for an abuser to begin the relationship with abuse right off the bat — it’s essential that you learn to recognize the warning signs of a potentially violent relationship. While not every domestic violence situation is the same across the board, many of them share universal traits. Below, you’ll find some of the most common “red flags” that can appear in relationships that turn violent or abusive.
What Are the Common Warning Signs of Domestic Violence?
Controlling behavior is one of the most prevalent indicators of abusive relationships, but this behavior is often easy for many people to explain away. Fits of obsessive jealousy might be justified as the way in which the person shows they care, for example, or requests to dress conservatively might be interpreted as merely part of the individual’s instinct to protect their partner. Unfortunately, these controlling behaviors can become more pronounced and more forceful as time goes on. If your partner is insistent that you check in with them numerous times while you’re out, they always want to know where you’re going, they don’t allow you to wear what you want, or they don’t give you access to your money, these are strong indicators that your relationship could be on a domestic violence trajectory.
Isolation From Others
Another aspect of controlling behavior that domestic violence attorneys often see is one partner isolating the other from everyone else. Abusive individuals will attempt to cut off their partners from their friends and family so that their partners will exclusively rely on them and so that their partner’s sense of reality becomes warped. Without any outside influences, it becomes easier for the abuser to behave in the way that serves their needs. If you’re not allowed to see certain people you care about, you have to ask permission to see your loved ones, or your partner purposely embarrasses you in front of others in an effort to keep you isolated, you need to take a closer look at your relationship before it becomes violent.
Physically Destructive Incidents
As any domestic violence attorney will tell you, abuse doesn’t usually start with your partner doing physical harm to you. But in many cases, they may find it difficult to hide the rage they feel inside. This could result in physically destructive incidents, such as throwing household items or punching walls. Just because your partner hasn’t laid a hand on you does not mean that they’re incapable of doing so — and if they’ve shown that they’re prone to violent incidents like these, most experts would say that it could be only a matter of time before they physically abuse you instead of inanimate objects in your home.
Blaming, Criticizing, or Punishing Behavior
Remember that domestic violence covers a wide range of behaviors. In addition to physical abuse, domestic violence cases can be characterized by verbal or emotional abuse. Blaming you for small mistakes, criticizing your appearance or your intelligence, accusing you of infidelity, or punishing you for personal choices (or perceived slights) are all indicators of an abusive relationship. While it’s true that not everyone who engages in verbal abuse will become physically violent, domestic violence attorneys know that this type of abuse can be just as (or even more) damaging to victims.
What Should I Do If I Am a Victim of Domestic Violence?
If you believe you’re a victim of an abusive relationship, start by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline and planning an emergency escape plan. Once you are in a safe place, you can contact a trusted domestic violence attorney to file a restraining order or to pursue other charges. For more, contact our firm today.