Relationships are not easy, which can often make it hard to determine if you are experiencing relationship issues or abuse issues. Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Forms of abuse

  • Physical: Any forceful or violent behavior
  • Emotional: Any abuse that attacks someone’s self-esteem and definitions of who they are
  • Economic: The use of finances to control or limit a partner
  • Psychological: Any abuse with the threat of violence, including fear, pain and degradation

There are warning signs that your relationship may be abusive. Does a loved one or caretaker …

  • Make you feel afraid much of the time?
  • Frequently say you can’t do anything right?
  • Embarrass you by how they behave toward you?
  • Attempt to control your reproduction?
  • Tell you that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • Cause you to avoid topics or situations out of fear of angering your partner?
  • Undermine your parenting?
  • Limit your access to money, necessities and personal documents?
  • Utilize technology to monitor or control your activities?
  • Cause you to have frequent injuries resulting from “accidents”?
  • Cause you to frequently and suddenly miss work or school, or cancel plans?
  • Send you a lot of calls/texts?
  • Make it difficult for you to say no to anything they request?
  • Make you feel isolated from friends and family?

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, education, religion, disability status or sexual orientation. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or dating. Teen dating violence; violence within gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships; violence against people with disabilities; and violence against deaf people of all identities are common scenarios, yet often overlooked.

If you are unsure if you or someone you know is in a violent or controlling relationship, or if you have questions about getting help, call our 24-hour SAFEline at 512.267.SAFE (7233), text us at 737.888.7233 or chat with us at safeaustin.org/chat. For deaf people of all identities, please use relay/VRS.

Even if you don’t see any of your concerns listed here, you can call SAFEline to talk about your unique situation. Or you can click HERE to learn more about healthy relationships.