Last month was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a question CADA advocates and employees frequently get asked is, “what are some red flags of domestic violence?” It is not always easy to spot domestic violence or relationship abuse, but there are some things people can look out for.

Extreme Jealousy

Something advocates frequently hear from survivors is that their partner is extremely jealous and often accuses them of being unfaithful. Survivors also tell us that their partner distrusts everyone, to the point of telling their partner who they can and cannot spend time with. If they keep track of your whereabouts or frequently “check in” on you, those could be red flags.

Controlling or isolating behaviors

One red flag of relationship abuse is a partner controlling you or isolating you from your support system. An abusive partner may insist that you stop participating in activities or hobbies outside of the relationship. They may say they just want to spend more time together, but ultimately the motive is control. Other controlling behaviors include restricting your access to the car or money. Abusive partners can maintain control over a victim by isolating them from loved ones. They may encourage fights between you and others, put down people you’re close with, or tell you that “no one else understands your relationship.” This drives a wedge between you and others, forcing a sense of dependence on the abusive partner.

Uses intimidation during arguments

If a partner breaks things, throws things, or hits objects when angry, this is a serious red flag. Someone who is trying to intimidate you may do so physically by standing too close or towering over you. Another common intimidation tactic is to stand between you and a doorway so you can’t leave or take your phone so you can’t reach out to anyone or call someone for support. If a partner uses threats during an argument, that is a red flag.

Love bombing

This is a common tactic that someone will use toward the beginning of a relationship, or after an explosive incident. Love bombing is where one partner will overwhelm their partner with affection, flattery, loving words, or gifts. During this phase, they may pressure you for commitment very early on, or pressure you to move quickly in the relationship. At times, you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity and may struggle to set boundaries.

These are just a few red flags of abusive relationships. Relationship abuse can happen to anyone and doesn’t always involve physical abuse. Emotional, mental, financial, and sexual abuse are all forms of abuse that no one should have to go through.

CADA is here to support victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Advocates are available 24/7 to provide emotional support or help. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, advocates are here to help.

Twenty-four-hour helpline: 1-800-477-0466 website: www.cadamn.org.

Kristen Walters is the development and communications manager at Committee Against Domestic Abuse, a nonprofit providing safety and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence through education, advocacy and shelter. CADA serves Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan counties.

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