Warning signs of an abusive relationship
By Holly Blume Gillar
Special to the POST-REGISTER
When someone is in an abusive relationship, they may not realize it. So many times, victims excuse the abuser’s behavior. “He’s not like this all the time.” “She didn’t mean to.” “He was drunk.” “I’m used to it; it doesn’t hurt as much anymore.” Their friends,
family, and coworkers may not even be aware of it.
So many times, we hear, “He doesn’t seem the type.” “I never suspected her.” “She must have done something to deserve it.” “I don’t believe it.” Domestic violence is baffling, cunning, insidious, vicious and insane. Part of why it has remained so pervasive in our society is because it so often depends on ignorance and secrecy. How does a person recognize they are in an abusive situation? How does a person recognize if a friend, loved one, or coworker is being abused?
Below is a list of “red flags” to watch for regarding relationships. The reason for this list of traits and cues is to get you thinking about, noticing, and questioning, not to diagnose, judge, or condemn.
• Love bombing (hooking you into a relationship by first putting you on a pedestal and then yanking it out from under you)
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Trouble with the law (especially for violence and destruction of property)
• History of domestic violence and/or child abuse with siblings or in the previous generation
• Animal cruelty
• Destruction of property
• Fire starting
• Blame others for their choices, behaviors, life-circumstances
• Inability to keep a job
• Not working/not going to school
• Puts people down, calls people names, makes vulgar comments
• Tries to isolate people from each other
• Always seems angry
• Constantly hovering and/or checking up on you (via phone, text, email, or in person)
• Gets upset when things change
• covering up for your partner
• Inability to “go with the flow”
• History of cheating on partners
• Thinking to yourself that you must deserve it
• Takes advantage of generosity
• Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or similar diagnoses
• Doubt your perceptions of what happened
• Asks for money often
• Controlling-of finances, friends, jobs, clothing, etc.
• Manipulates instead of asking/working for
• Jekyll and Hyde personality: not knowing who your partner will be
• Feelings of fear of going home
• Not letting you be your own person
• Being afraid of leaving your partner
• Walking on eggshells so as not to upset your partner
• Doubting your sanity; fear of losing your mind
• Not listening to the little voice inside you telling you that something isn’t right
This list is truly inexhaustible; there are many more warning signs. The best advice is to trust your instincts. Pay attention. If something isn’t right, then something’s not right. If you doubt yourself, talk about the situation with a trusted friend and get their insights.
If you are being abused, or if you want to help someone you feel is being abused, you can call Licia Edwards of Victim Services at the Sheriff’s Office at (512) 221-8729 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a multi-part series in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, intended to educate and enlighten our readers to the pervasive problem of Domestic Violence in Texas.
The Caldwell County Family Violence Task Force and the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center will host the annual Caldwell County Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Every year, hundreds of women, including dozens in Caldwell County, are victims of domestic violence. While many are able to escape their abusive situations, some are unable, or unwilling, to leave – occasionally with fatal results. Last year alone, more than 200 Texas women died at the hands of their abusers.
To bring awareness to the issue, to remind victims that they are not alone, and to empower them to report their abuse and seek help, the Caldwell County Family Violence Task Force and the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center are inviting the public to the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on Saturday morning.
Participants will hear general information about domestic violence, and then hear the story of a domestic violence survivor. Afterwards, the walk will make four laps around the Caldwell County Courthouse Square with banners, posters and signs, bringing awareness and attention to the growing problem of domestic violence.
Those who wish to participate in the walk are encouraged to wear purple, symbolizing the color of the bruises left by the abusers’ hands.
Information and resources will be available, not only for those currently caught in the cycle of domestic violence, but also for those who wish to volunteer their time and treasure to help.