Learning the early warning signs of domestic violence can sometimes help women to avoid relationships before they become too involved or extricate themselves from a relationship before it becomes dangerous.
Abusive behavior seldom goes away without the help of a professional. In most cases women find that the abuse escalates over time. As hard as it is to find that someone in the family may have indicators of an abusive behavior problem knowing how to recognize the signs will decrease the risk of permanent damage and perhaps even be lifesaving.
Early Warning Signs:
- People who tend to use force or violence to solve their problems. They have a quick temper and may be cruel to animals. You may see them punch walls or throw things when they’re upset. For instance — if you are dating a man who gets his way with his brother through physical force, although he’s not physically challenged you, he is more at risk of physically challenging you later.
- Research has shown that people who are substance abusers — alcohol or drugs — have a strong link with violent behavior.
- Men who exhibit signs of jealousy of relationships with other family members or strangers may escalate to domestic violence. They may keep tabs on your behavior and your whereabouts; they may even prohibit you from relationships with specific people.
- Personalities that swing between extreme highs and showing kindness and love to pronounced lows with cruelty and anger. They appear almost as two different people — and you may even consider them Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Be especially wary of someone who may have access to weapons or guns while exhibiting some of other warning signs. They may even talk about using these weapons against other people to ‘get even’.
- Men who have strong ideas about family roles that must be adhered to. They may believe that the wife must stay home and follow the husband’s wishes or the children should be ‘seen and not heard’.
- Growing up in a home where domestic violence was the norm for family members. Researchers have found that people who observe violence often turn to the same behavior when they are also angry.
One myth that men will use to explain their behavior is that they were ‘out of control’. However, when the phone rings, someone is at the door or the police are called they will often look calm, cool and collected within seconds leaving the woman looking hysterical and disheveled.
These behaviors are learned and like all other behaviors they can be unlearned or changed. HOWEVER, this must never be attempted alone or without professional help. People who find satisfaction in physical or psychological violence to meet their needs will require the help of a professional to change those behaviors.