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Domestic Violence: 15 Warning Signs
Tennessee Legal
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Domestic Violence: 15 Warning Signs

"There is NO excuse for domestic violence." (Bumper sticker from Futures Without Violence™, formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund)

Domestic violence and abuse – whether physical, financial, emotional, or psychological – come from an abuser’s desire for power and control over an intimate partner or family members.

Any one of these 15 warning signs can indicate that abuse and control problems – and the risk of violence – will increase:

(1) Pushes for quick involvement – Pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.

(2) Jealous – Excessively possessive; calls/texts constantly or visits unexpectedly.

(3) Controlling – Interrogates you intensely about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money.

(4) Unrealistic expectations – Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.

(5) Isolation – Tries to cut you off from family and friends, or from having a phone or job.

(6) Blames others for problems or mistakes – The boss, you – It’s always someone else’s fault if something goes wrong.

(7) Makes others responsible for his or her feelings – The abuser says, "You make me angry," instead of "I am angry."

(8) Hypersensitivity – Is easily insulted, gets upset about small inconveniences that are part of life.

(9) Shows cruelty to animals or children – Kills or punishes animals brutally, or mistreats children.

(10) "Playful" use of force during sexual contact – Uses physical force to make sexual contact.

(11) Verbal abuse – Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel and ugly things.

(12) Rigid gender roles – Expects women to serve, obey, remain at home.

(13) Sudden mood swings – Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.

(14) Past violence – Admits to hitting a partner in the past.

(15) Threatens violence – Says things like, "I’ll break your neck," and then dismisses them with, "I didn’t really mean it."

Experiencing one or more of these signs? Get out or get help. Call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at1−800−799−7233 for assistance and local resources.

James B. (Jim) Hawkins is a general practice and public interest law attorney. This column represents legal information, and is not intended to take the place of legal advice. All cases are different and need individual attention. Consult with a private attorney of your choice to review the facts and law specific to your case. Topics for future columns may be suggested at (615) 452-9200.