How to Spot a Potential Abuser—7 Warning Signs Your Man Might be One

With so much attention on the Ray Rice sexual assault scandal dominating the news and social media almost daily, it’s a good time to talk about the facts surrounding domestic violence and what you need to learn about how to spot a potential abuser.

The statistics on domestic violence are both staggering and frightening. According to the American Psychological Association:

  • 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence and/or stalking.
  • On average, every day, more than 3 women are murdered by a husband or boyfriend.
  • 1 in 5 high school students has been physically and/or sexually abused.

And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), boys who grow up seeing domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusers.

How to Spot a Potential Abuser

He Might Be An Abuser If...

An abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily start with physical abuse. It’s more often the result of escalating behavior that can start with verbal or emotional abuse, such as name-calling, verbal threats, or put-downs designed to control a woman and strip her of self-esteem. Then, when a woman stays or fails to recognize the warning signs, her abuser’s actions often escalate to physical violence over time. And the longer a woman remains in an abusive relationship, the greater the risk of fatal injury. But, what may come as a surprise is the fact that women are at greatest risk of a fatal injury when they finally decide to try to leave their abuser.

While an abuser may not start out being physically violent, there are always warning signs to look for. The sooner you can spot the signs of a potential abuser, the more likely you can avoid physical abuse and the threat of fatal injury.

Here are 7 warning signs to look for, but you can get a more comprehensive list in my book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right available on Amazon.

  • He hits, pushes, slaps or throws something at you.
  • He is verbally abusive – calls you names, puts you down or threatens you.
  • He tries to keep tabs on your activities.
  • He exhibits extreme mood swings or has almost two personalities.
  • You are afraid of him or what he might do.
  • He makes unwarranted accusations—accusing you of flirting or being unfaithful.
  • He controls what you do and who you see.

What Women Need to Understand and Remember

  • Real love doesn’t hurt. Men don’t abuse out of love. They abuse out of anger and a need to dominate or control.
  • You are not to blame for your man’s violent behavior. There are no excuses for getting physical with a woman.
  • If it happens once, it will happen again. No matter how remorseful he appears or how vehemently he promises to never do it again, if you stay there will be a next time.
  • The longer you stay, the greater the risk of bodily injury and even death. So before you leave a potentially violent abuser it is wise to seek help and have a plan. Below are resources you can contact to get help with your situation.

(NCADV) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233)

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