We learned about relationships by observing our parents during childhood. Often, people who observed control or violence in childhood seek out a partner who will repeat this pattern. If that pattern was abusive, women are likely to find an abusive partner, and men may imitate their father and find a woman who accepts abuse in the relationship. There are many woman who leave an abusive family, only to go from one abusive partner to the next. Abusive men may have a high level of charisma and be “exciting.” There isn’t any strict rule that the woman becomes the victim and the man the victimizer, but that pattern is the most common one. It can go either way, and men may also be abused. Below is a list published by the Spring of Tampa Bay of warning signs of domestic violence:

  • A push for a quick relationship.
  • Jealous and possessive.
  • Tries to control your life.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Isolates you from friends and family.
  • Blames others for their problems and mistakes.
  • Makes everyone else responsible for their feelings.
  • Says their feelings are easily hurt.
  • Cruel to animals and children.
  • “Playful” use of force during sex.
  • Yells and calls you names.
  • Rigid sex roles.
  • Sudden mood swings.
  • History of battering.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Threats to reveal personal or damaging information about you to your family or employer.
  • A healthy relationship includes trust, non-violence, respect, and a freedom for each person in the relationship to grow and be themselves. Fear and control are never part of a healthy relationship.

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