1. Pushes for quick involvement: Comes on strong, claiming, “I’ve never felt loved like this by anyone.” An abuser pressures the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.
2. Jealous: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work; checks the mileage on your car.
3. Controlling: Interrogates you intensely (especially if you’re late) about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
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; accuses your supporters of “causing trouble.”
6. Blames others for problems or mistakes: 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,” or says, “You’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.”
8. Hypersensitivity: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad.
9. Cruelty to animals or children: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry.
10. “Playful” use of force during sex:Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex; finds the idea of rape exciting.
11. Verbal abuse: Constantly criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades, curses, calls you names.
12. Rigid gender roles: Expects you to serve, obey.
13. Sudden mood swings: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
14. Past battering: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person “made” him (or her) do it.
15. Threats of violence: Says things like, “I’ll break your neck,” or “I’ll kill you,” and then dismisses them with, “Everybody talks that way.”
Source: Columnist of the Grand Rapids Press of Michigan – a reader wrote into the paper thanking the columnist for introducing this information to her. The reader said information saved her from a bad relationship.