Can You Spot An Abusive Partner Before You Get Involved?

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

Is it possible to spot an abusive partner before you get involved? It is difficult in many cases. Many abusers are highly intelligent, clever and charming. They use this technique to deceive and manipulate drawing the victim in. As survivors know, the transition from love to control to violence can be slow and unnoticeable—sometimes taking years.

Here are a number of factors that are suspected to contribute to someone becoming abusive. Recognizing these factors may help identify risks related to possible partners.

A history of abuse in one’s family or past
Being physically or sexually abused as a child
A lack of appropriate coping skills
Low self-esteem
Codependent behavior
Untreated mental illness
Drug or alcohol abuse

Abuse is not just physical violence. Usually it is foreshadowed by other forms of behavior and violence. Here are a few of them.

Calling someone names or putting someone down
Shouting and cursing
Making threats
Extreme jealousy and suspicion
Keeping someone away from their family and friends
Throwing things around the house or at another person in a violent manner
Controlling the finances

In my novel SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Katie experiences many of these forms of abuse by her famous plastic surgeon husband, Claude. She came from an abusive family and was repeating history. He quacked like a duck at her body when she was pregnant, yelled profanities in her face, forced her to have sex, isolated her and controlled all the money. After the last battering, she realized she might not survive another one and wanted to protect her child. That was the beginning of Katie making a plan to escape.

If you need help, you can talk in confidence to a trained domestic violence advocate free of charge by contacting your local domestic violence shelter or advocacy group.

Take good care of yourselves,