Predictors of Domestic Violence
In our 30 years of providing services to victims of domestic violence, we have found that most batterers are not violent in the early stages of a relationship. It often begins after a victim is already emotionally involved.
Many women ask us if there are any warning signs that might identify a potential batterer. If you are in a relationship, the following are considered possible predictors of domestic violence.
Jealousy: An abuser says jealousy is a sign of love. It is a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust. He/she may not be just jealous of you, but also of your relationships with your girlfriends. He may want you with him all the time, even when it’s inconvenient.
Controlling Behavior: He/she may try to lay down the law on what you can and cannot do. He/she monopolizes your time, who you talk to or may not allow you to make decisions about your clothes, finances, home, etc.
Violent Behavior: If an abuser gets into fights at parties, on the street, or in bars it is highly probable that he will carry that behavior home with him.
Verbal Abuse: Saying things or calling you names that are meant to be cruel and hurtful. Degrading and putting you down will lower your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Quick Involvement: An abuser will pressure you into a committed relationship early on. Many victims dated or knew their abusers less than six months before getting married or moving in together.
Mood Swings: One minute he/she is nice and the next he’s/she’s exploding. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who beat their partners.
Isolation: You no longer keep in contact with your friends, parents, or neighbors. Criticizes and does not like any of them. You don’t say hello to people for fear that your partner will get jealous and angry.
Blaming: An abuser will blame others for his/her problems, especially the partner. He/she may shift responsibility for his violence onto others, taking refuge in excuses like “If you shaped up, I wouldn’t have to knock you around.”
Breaking or Striking Objects: This behavior is used as a punishment or to terrorize into submission.
Unrealistic Expectations: Abusers can be overly critical. They may expect their partners to meet all their needs. He/she expects you to be the perfect spouse, lover, and friend.
Hypersensitivity: An abuser is easily insulted or hurt, and takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.
Frustration and Anger: An abuser may have trouble handling their frustration and anger.
Family History: Abusers often have been raised in abusive surroundings. They may have seen their mother beaten or have been abused themselves. They have grown up believing that violence is “normal behavior.”
Past Battering: Abusers may have hit lovers in the past and may excuse themselves by saying “he/she made me do it”.
Attitude Toward Women: An abuser may have strong traditional ideas about what a man should be and what a woman should be. He may think that a woman should stay at home, take care of her husband and follow his wishes and orders.
Economic Control: An abuser may refuse to allow you to work or have access to bank accounts and financial information.
Cruelty To Animals Or Children: This person punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain or suffering; he/she may expect children to be capable of doing things beyond their ability.
Alcohol Or Drug Abuse: Such problems don’t cause battering, but they invariably make it worse. Don’t think you can change your partner. A chemical dependence is bigger than both of you.
Threats Of Violence: This could include any threat of physical force meant to control the partner, including the threat of suicide.