How do I know it's abuse?

Someone who is abusive may:

  • Act jealous or possessive and say it is out of love
  • Blame you for their behavior, saying "you're making me do this to you"
  • Destroy or threaten to destroy your things
  • Threaten to hurt you, themselves, your family members, your friends, or your pets
  • Touch you in a way that hurts or scares you, or in any way that you do not want to be touched
  • Force sex or sexual acts in ways or at times that are not comfortable for you
  • Threaten to report you to immigration or to destroy your papers
  • Get angry unpredictably or in a way that scares you
  • Blame you, others, alcohol, stress, depression, etc., for their violent behavior
  • Belittle or make fun of your concerns and fears about your relationship
  • Threaten to "out" you to family, friends or work
  • Act differently in public than in private
  • Isolate you by making it difficult or impossible to be with your family or friends.
  • Threaten to take your children and/or claim you won't see them again
  • Make promises to change but does not follow through

Some behaviors that have been identified to be especially dangerous: 

  • Threatening to kill you or themselves, especially if the abuser has access to weapons
  • Strangling, choking
  • Stalking
  • Controlling most or all of your activities