Abusive relationships can hurt friends and family behind the scenes. Even best friends can be unaware that the friend is in an abusive relationship. Often the person in the abusive relationship will make excuses for any unusual behavior and try to hide any signs of abuse. By learning how to spot the signs of an abusive relationship, you can help someone escape the abuse and to move away from a relationship that is so unhealthy.
Be aware of any unusual absences from work or school. Often when a person gets physically abused, she will avoid the public until signs of the abuse, such as bruises, fade. When she returns to work or school, look for any sign of heavy make-up that could serve to mask skin discoloration.
Ask questions about how an injury occurred. An abused person might suffer an injury from the abuser in her relationship but make up an excuse for how the injury occurred. For example, a sprained arm could be explained away as an awkward fall. By asking specific questions about how the injury occurred, you can spot inconsistencies in a fabricated story.
Watch for personality changes. If your friend or family member is conversational but then grows quiet when her partner is near, this can be a sign of intimidation and abuse. An abused person typically withdraws emotionally when near a person who is abusing her.
Listen for who gets assigned blame. An abused person typically blames herself for all of the family’s problems. If anything goes wrong, the abused person is quick to take the blame. Consistently accepting blame is a sign of an abusive relationship.
Recognize trends of isolation. A person in an abusive relationship will often feel forced to become increasingly isolated. She will have to ask permission to go anywhere outside the house. If you’re with a friend who has to call a spouse to ask permission to go somewhere, ask your friend about it. By recognizing that someone is becoming increasingly isolated, you can spot a sign of an abusive relationship.
Identify any behavior that appears to be controlling. If someone’s partner is constantly displaying controlling behavior, this is a sign of abusive behavior. While the characteristic of controlling behavior does not necessarily mean that there is abusive behavior, it is a sign that should be taken in context with other signs of abusive behavior.
- An abusive relationship can result in loss of life.