Predictors Of Domestic Violence

The following signs often occur before actual abuse and may serve as clues to potential abuse:

1. Did your parter grow up in a violent family? People who grow up in families where they have been abused as children, or where one parent beats the other, have grown up learning that violence is normal behavior.

2. Does he or she tend to use force or violence to "solve" problems? A young person who has a criminal record for violence, who gets into fights, or who likes to act tough is likely to act the same way with partner and children. Is there evidence of a quick temper?

3. Does your partner over-react to little problems and frustration? Exhibit cruelty to animals? Punch walls or throw things when upset? Any of these behaviors may be a sign of a person who will work out bad feelings with violence.

4. Does he or she abuse alcohol or other drugs? There is a strong link between violence and problems with drugs and alcohol. Be alert to possible drinking/drug problems, particularly if refusing to admit a problem, or refusing to get help. Do not think that you can change your partner.

5. Does your partner have strong traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be? Does he think a woman should stay at home, take care of her husband, and follow his wishes and orders? Does she think that a husband should bear the heaviest load and grant her desires simply because she is a woman?

6. Is your partner jealous of your other relationships -- not just opposite-sex friends that you may know -- but also with your same-sex friends and your family? Does your partner keep tabs on you, wanting to know where you are at all times or wanting to be with you all of the time?

7. Does he or she have access to guns, knives, or other lethal instruments, talking of using them against people, or threatening to use them to get even?

8. Does your partner expect you to follow orders or advice and become angry if you do not fulfill his or her wishes or if you cannot anticipate wants?

9. Does your partner go through extreme highs and lows, almost as though two different people -- extremely kind one time, and extremely cruel at another time?

10. When your partner gets angry, are you fearful? Do you find that avoiding anger has become a major part of your life? Do you do what your partner wants you to do, rather than what you want to do?

11. Does he or she treat you roughly, physically forcing you to do what you do not want to do?

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