What are the Signs of Abuse?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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There are many different types of abuse that can take place within relationships. While many people are only aware of violent physical abuse, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, as well as financial exploitation and neglect, are perhaps even more prevalent and just as hurtful. Nearly any type of relationship can be abusive: parent-child relationships, marriages and other romantic relationships, caretaking relationships, working relationships, and so on. It is important to be aware of possible signs of abuse in order to recognize and avoid abusive relationships in your life and in the lives of those you care about.

Signs of physical abuse include frequent injuries, which may be explained by the victim as accidents, and the use of clothing to cover up signs of abuse. For example, the victim may wear dark glasses indoors or at night in order to hide a black eye. Frequent and unexplained absences from work or social obligations may also point to a physically abusive relationship.


Emotional and psychological signs of abuse include low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, especially when such symptoms did not exist before the beginning of the relationship. A person who loses touch with family and friends and rarely appears in public without his or her partner may be the victim of abuse. Other warning signs include frequent calls to check in with one's partner, or abnormally frequent incoming calls from one's partner, a fear of angering one's partner, and a tendency to agree with everything he or she does and says. A victim of abuse may also talk about the abuser's jealousy or temper.

If you notice signs of abuse in someone you know, it is essential to make him or her aware of your concern, support, and willingness to help. Let him or her know that you are available to talk to and provide help whenever he or she is ready. At the same time, if the person is unreceptive, do be forceful, or you may be shut out altogether. If you suspect abuse of a child or an elderly person it is important to report your suspicions to the authorities.

It is especially important to be aware of signs of abuse in your own relationships. If you feel afraid of your partner, helpless, or emotionally numb, you may be a victim of abuse. Feeling like it is impossible to please your partner or like you deserve mistreatment are other warning signs.

If you notice that your partner constantly checks up on you, belittles or humiliates you, has a bad temper or is extremely jealous, makes it difficult for you to spend time with your family and friends, or limits your access to money or transportation, you are very likely being abused. More extreme signs include physically violent behavior, direct threats of violence or suicide, forced sexual activity, and destruction of your property. It is also common for abusers to blame their victims for the abuse.

If you notice signs of the abuser in yourself, whether towards a domestic partner or towards someone in your care, it is essential to seek help. To promote healthy relationships, make sure to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy and seek treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and other psychological issues. If you are a caregiver, ask family and friends to help out with your duties if you need a break.


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Post 4

@Scrapbook: Good for you on getting out of this situation! Please, for your own safety, do not go back to this man. Nothing will change, no matter what he says, unless he is sober, is in a sobriety maintenance program like Alcoholics Anonymous, and has had anger management counseling -- at the very least.

To print the article without the ads, just sweep over it with your mouse and hit Ctrl C, then open up a Notepad or Word file or similar, and hit Crtl V. This should put down the article, and you can delete the in-line ads and can print it out without them. Just make sure the ads on the side are not highlighted -- just the text of the article.

Good luck and keep doing those things that are helping you become a better person. More resources are also available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It's a toll-free call. 1−800−799−7233. They can help you.

Post 3

I just left an abusive relationship. These articles break my heart but remind me why I left, which I find empowering since he is pestering me to get back with him.

I respectfully ask the webmaster to please make these articles printable, where the article can be printed without all the ads. I feel that these would be helpful to pin on my bulletin board to serve as a reminder of why I left. When he calls and texts, and I feel vulnerable, I could look at them and remind myself.

Post 2

Why is it so hard to let somebody know that we believe my eight year old's friend is not OK? Grant went swimming with josh today, and grant said josh went inside and heard slapping. Josh is a great kid. How can we help him? Grant is also a great kid. Taren H.

Post 1

i think everyone has been in at least in one abusive relationship. the best thing to do is leave that person, even if you have to do it while they're asleep.

a controlling person becomes controlling when they think you need them and they think if you leave them, you won't have anyone else to go to. but my best advice is to leave before your confidence go straight down the drain like mine did, so take heed of this.

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