Questions to Ask Yourself
If you want to talk to someone confidentially about the answers to these questions, feel free to call us at 401-861-6191. You deserve to live your life free from abuse and to have a partner who is supportive and respectful. If you want to check out your relationship in more detail, continue to the following questions:
If you think you or someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, but aren't sure, answer the following questions:
- Are you unable to name at least five characteristics of your partner that you really admire and like?
- Is your partner unhappy that you have other friends?
- Does your partner not ask for and respect your opinion?
- Do you not consider your partner a friend?
- Do you not "act like yourself" when you are with your partner?
- Does your partner check up on you or want you to say where you've been after you've been apart?
- Have you ever seen your partner throw, hit, or break things when angry?
- Does your partner ever pressure you for sex?
- Does your partner ever put you down, either when you're alone or when you're out together?
- Are you ever frightened by your partner's temper?
- Do you ever find yourself apologizing for your partner's behavior?
- Has your partner ever done or said anything to you that made you fear for your own safety, the safety of your child or a pet, or someone else's safety?
- Do you arrive late or miss work frequently?
- Do you get excessive telephone calls at home or work from your partner?
- Do you find it hard to get or keep a job or go to school?
- Are you stopped from taking medication you need or seeking medical help?
- Do you feel afraid at home?
- Are you threatened with violence?
- Are you ever get hit, kicked, or shoved?
- Do you feel that you have no choice about how you spend your time, where you go, or what you wear?
- Do you have to ask your partner for permission to make everyday decisions?
- Do you feel bad about yourself because your partner calls you names, insults you, or puts you down?
- Do you submit to sexual intercourse or engage in sexual acts against your will?
- Are you forced to accept your partner's decisions because you're afraid of his/her anger?
- Have you changed your behavior because you're afraid of the consequences of a fight?
- Has your partner limited your access to money, bankbooks, checkbooks, financial statements, birth certificates, and passports?
- Does your partner limit your time with your friends, relatives, neighbors, or co-workers because of his/her demands or criticism of them?
- Are you ever accused unjustly of flirting with others or having affairs?
- Do you ever get stopped from leaving the house?
- Do arguments with your partner often end with someone being physically hurt?
- Have you been injured during these fights?
- Do you avoid your partner's anger to keep from making things worse?
- Does your partner destroy things you care about such as pets, family photos, or clothes?
- Does your partner ever threaten to hurt you when you disagree?
- Do you have to ask permission for almost everything you do?
- Does your partner often put you down?
- Are you starting to believe what your partner says about you?
- Have you ever been made to have sex when or in ways that you didn't want?
- Are you prevented from seeing your friends or family, from getting a job, or from continuing your education?
- Do you feel isolated or alone?
- Are you afraid to tell anyone the truth about what is happening to you?
This list identifies a series of behaviors typically demonstrated by batterers and abusive people. All of these forms of abuse - psychological, economic, and physical - come from the batterer's desire for power and control. The list can help you recognize if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Count those behaviors that apply to the relationship. The more that apply, the more dangerous the situation may be.
Emotional and Economic Attacks
- Destructive Criticism/Verbal Attacks: Name-calling, mocking, accusing, blaming, yelling, swearing, making humiliating remarks or gestures.
- Pressure Tactics: Rushing you to make decisions through "guilt-tripping" and other forms of intimidation, sulking, threatening to withhold money, manipulating the children, telling you what to do.
- Abusing Authority: Always claiming to be right (insisting statements are "the truth"), telling you what to do, making big decisions using "logic."
- Disrespect: Interrupting, changing topics, not listening or responding, twisting your words, putting you down in front of other people, saying bad things about your friends and family.
- Abusing Trust: Lying, withholding information, cheating on you, being overly jealous.
- Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings, not giving support, attention, or compliments; not respecting feelings, rights, or opinions.
- Minimizing, Denying & Blaming: Making light of behavior and not taking your concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you asked for it or caused it.
- Economic Control: Interfering with your work or not letting you work, refusing to give you or taking your money, taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car, threatening to report you to welfare or other social service agencies.
- Self-Destructive Behavior: Abusing drugs or alcohol, threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm, deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences (e.g. telling off the boss).
- Isolation: Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives, monitoring phone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go.
Harassment: Making uninvited visits or calls, following you, checking up on you, embarrassing you in public, refusing to leave when asked.
Acts of Violence
- Intimidation: Making angry or threatening gestures, using physical size to intimidate, standing in the doorway during arguments, out shouting you, driving recklessly.
- Destruction: Destroying your possessions (e.g. furniture or clothes), punching walls, throwing and/or breaking things.
- Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.
- Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment or discrimination based on your sex or sexual orientation; using force, threats, or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.
- Physical Violence: Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others; slapping, punching, grabbing, kicking, choking, pushing, biting, burning, stabbing, shooting, etc.
- Weapons: Using weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you, threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.