Warning Signs of Abuse

It can be hard to pick out warning signs of abuse or be able to tell if a relationship will become abusive. Often, abusive relationships start out the same way healthy ones do – with a honeymoon period where you are doing fun things together, getting to know one another better, and falling in love.

But, there are warning signs of abuse. Even if you feel like everything is going well, but you see or experience one or two of these behaviors below, it can be a red flag that your relationship may be abusive. If you have concerns about your relationship, or about a loved one, contact us and we can help: 206-737-0242.

Is This Abuse?

Did your relationship:

  • Get intense really fast?
  • Take over your life, crowding out other people and activities you love?

Do you:

  • Worry that your relationship isn’t healthy?
  • Dread going home?
  • Feel afraid of your partner?
  • Go to great lengths to avoid making your partner angry?
  • Feel like you can’t do anything right in your relationship?
  • Feel like you have no control over your life?
  • Feel emotionally numb, or overwhelmed or helpless because of your relationship?
  • Worry about the safety of others you love?
  • See that your connections to friends and family are shrinking?
  • No longer do activities you love?

Does your partner:

  • Criticize you for little things?
  • Blame you for their actions?
  • Call you names, put you down or humiliate you?
  • Demand to know where you are at all times?
  • Control what you do or where you go?
  • Force you to stop seeing family or friends?
  • Get jealous for no reason?
  • Control your money?
  • Manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do?
  • Do things to make you feel like you’re going crazy?
  • Trap you, or limit your movement in your home?
  • Try to sabotage your job or other activities you care about?
  • Force you to either take or stop taking birth control?
  • Force you to use alcohol or drugs?
  • Force you to do something illegal?
  • Threaten to turn you in to immigration authorities?
  • Threaten to hurt you, your child, other family members or your pet?
  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • Display a gun or other weapon to send a message to you?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Hit, punch, grab, push, burn, strangle or otherwise physically hurt you?

What Abuse Looks Like

Sometimes it’s easier to see similarities in our relationships when we hear another person’s story. Below are some survivors’ stories about the abuse they experienced. If you feel like your partner does some of these same things, or if your relationship resembles any of these, you may be experiencing abuse.

Erika's Story

Taylor's Story

Shonda's Story

Luciana's Story

Evan's Story

If any of these things are happening to you, you are experiencing abuse.


You deserve to be safe and treated with respect.
You deserve to feel in control of your life.
Abuse is not your fault.
You are not alone.
There is help.

Call our 24-hour Helpline at 206-737-0242 anytime to talk with a trained Advocate. We are here for you.