Everyone has arguments, and everyone disagrees with their partners, family members, and others close to them from time to time.

 And we all do things at times that we regret, and which cause unhappiness to those we care about. But if this begins to form a consistent pattern, then it is an indication of domestic violence and abuse.


At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love.

Jealousy has nothing to do with love; it is a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust.

He will question the woman about who she talks to, accuse her of flirting, or be jealous of time spent with family, friends or children.

As the jealousy progresses, he may call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly.

He may refuse to let her work for fears she will meet someone else.

He may even exhibit strange behaviors such as checking car mileage or asking friends to watch her.

Controlling Behavior

At first, the batterer will say this behavior is because he is concerned for the woman’s safety, her need to use her time well, or her need to make good decisions.

He will be angry if she is late coming back from the store or an appointment, he will question her closely about where she went, who she went with and who she talked with.

As this behavior gets worse, he may not let the woman make personal decisions about the house, personal clothing, going to church, the batterer may keep all the money or even make her ask permission to leave the house or room.

Quick Involvement

Many battered woman dated or knew the abuser less than six months before they were married, engaged or living together.

The batterer comes on like a whirlwind claiming “you are the only person I could ever talk to”, “I’ve never felt love like this by anyone.”

The batterer will pressure the woman to commit to the relationship in such a way that later she may feel very guilty or that she’s letting him down” if she wants to slow down involvement or break off.

Unrealistic Expectations

Abusive people will expect a partner to meet all their needs; the batterer expects her to be the perfect wife, mother, love, and friend.

The batterer will say things like, “if you love me, I’m all you need ~ you’re all I need”.

She is supposed to take care of everything for him emotionally as well as in the home.


The abuser tries to cut the partner off from all resources.

If she has men friends she is a “whore”.

If she has woman friends she’s gay, if she’s close to the family, she’s tied to the apron strings.

The batterer accuses people who form her support network of “causing trouble”.

The batterer may want to live in the country with no phone, the batterer may not let her use a car (or have one that is reliable), or the batterer may try to keep the woman from working or going to school.

Blames Others For Problems

If the batterer is chronically unemployed, someone is always “doing him wrong; out to get him”.

The batterer may make mistakes and then blame the woman for upsetting him and keeping him from concentrating on work.

The batterer will tell the partner that she is at fault for anything that goes wrong.

Blames Others For Feelings

The batterer will tell the woman “you make me mad”, “you’re hurting me by not doing what I want you to do”, “I can’t help being angry”.

The batterer will use feelings to manipulate the woman.


An abuser is easily insulted, and may claim that his feelings are “hurt” when really he is very mad or he takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks.

The batterer will “rant” and “rave” about the injustice of things that have happened – things that are really just a part of living like being asked to work overtime, getting a traffic ticket, being told some behavior is annoying or being asked to help with chores.

Cruelty to Animals or Children

This is a person who punishes animals brutally or is insensitive to their pain or suffering.

The batterer may expect children to be capable of doing things beyond their ability (whips a two year old for wetting a diaper) or the batterer may tease children or younger brothers and sisters until they cry.

The batterer may not want children to eat at the table or expect to keep them in their room all evening while the batterer is home.

Playful use of Force in Sex

This kind of person may like to throw the woman down and hold her down during sex.

The batterer may want to act out fantasies during sex where the partner is helpless.

The batterer’s letting her know that the idea of rape is exciting.

He may show little concern about whether the woman wants to have sex and uses sulking or anger to manipulate her into compliance.

The batterer may start to have sex with the woman while she is sleeping or demand sex when she is tired or sick.

Verbal Abuse

In addition to saying things that are meant to be cruel and hurtful, this can be seen when the abuser degrades the partner, cursing her, making fun of her accomplishments.

The abuser will tell the partner that she is stupid and unable to function without him.

This may involve waking the woman up to verbally abuse or not letting her sleep.

Rigid Sex Rules

The abuser expects a woman to be a servant.

The batterer may say the woman must stay at home, that she must obey in all things ~ even things that are criminal in nature.

The abuser will see woman as inferior to men, responsible for menial tasks, stupid, and unable to be a whole person without a relationship.

Mr. Jekyll and Mr. & Mrs. Hyde

Many woman are confused by the abuser’s sudden change in mood,

they think the abuser has some special mental problem because one minute he is nice and the next he is exploding.

Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who beat their partners, and these behaviors are related to other characteristics like hypersensitivity.

Past Battering

The batterer has hit women in the past, but, his excuse is “they made me do it”.

The women may hear this from his relatives, friends or ex-spouses/girlfriends that he is abusive.

A batterer will beat any partner if she stays long enough for the violence to begin.

Threats of Violence

This can include any threat of physical force meant to control the partner, “I’ll slap your mouth off”, “I’ll kill you”, “I’ll break your neck”.

Most people do not threaten their mates, but a batterer will try to excuse threats by saying “everybody talks like that”.

Breaking or Striking Objects

The behavior (breaking loved possessions) is used as a punishment and it is designed to terrorize the woman into submission.

The abuser may beat on the table with a clenched fist or throw objects around or near the woman.

This is a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, but there’s great danger when someone thinks they have the “right” to punish or frighten their partner.

Any Force During An Argument

Kicking, punching, slapping, hair pulling, pinching, biting, stomping, poking, and spitting are all forms of physical violence.

This may involve holding a woman down or physically restraining her from leaving the room.

The batterer may hold the woman against the wall and say “You’re going to listen to me!!”.

Weapons such as knives, guns, baseball bat and tools are often involved as well.