As I sit and contemplate my life, I am reminded of another life that was taken from us way to soon. I have spent many hours wondering as I am sure some of you have, could I have stopped this from happening? Am I easy to talk to, did I miss a sign? Although I am not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist I do know what it is like to be a Domestic Violence victim. It is true that we don't know what goes on behind closed doors but are there signs that we can look for that might give us a hint of what is happening at home? I think we all owe it to ourselves to become familiar with the signs and learn to ask the right questions or at least become approachable when it comes to talking about domestic violence.
From my personal experience, I was embarrassed about being a victim, and I never told anyone at work. I didn't know where the domestic violence shelters were, or even how to contact them. I had a great job and money was not an issue. I know I was in denial myself. You never want to believe that someone you love or had loved could hurt you or take your life. In my situation it was a slow process to the escalation of violence. Although I knew what made him mad, I didn't think that it could escalate to the level of violence that it did. I am one of the lucky ones. I made it out alive.
I am now a Community Advocate for the Canyon Crisis Center.
If you think that you or someone you know is in a Domestic Violence relationship please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and ask for help.
Red Flags of Abuse
The following is a list of early warning signs that someone may be abusive. This list was put together by survivors of domestic violence who reflected on the early phases of the battering relationship and identified some of the early warning signs of abusers.
Wants to move too quickly into the relationship.
Does not honor your boundaries.
Is excessively jealous and accuses you of having affairs.
Wants to know where you are all of the time and frequently calls, emails and texts you throughout the day.
Criticizes you or puts you down; most commonly tells you that you are "crazy," "stupid" and/or "fat," or that no one would ever want or love you.
Says one thing and does another.
Takes no responsibility for their behavior and blames others.
Has a history of battering.
Blames the entire failure of previous relationships on their partner; for example, "My ex was a total bitch."
Grew up in an abusive or violent home.
Insists that you stop spending time with your friends or family.
Seems "too good to be true."
Insists that you stop participating in leisure interests.
Rages out of control and is impulsive.
Pay attention to the "red flags "and trust your instincts. Survivors of domestic violence frequently report that their instincts told them that there was something wrong early on but they disregarded the warning signs and didn't know that these signs were indicative of an abusive relationship. Always take time to get to know a potential partner and watch for patterns of behavior in a variety of settings. Keeping in touch with your support system and participating in good self-care can lower your risk of being involved in an abusive relationship.
The warning signs above have been provided by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.