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Common Signs of Abusive Behaviour in a Partner

At the start of a relationship, it may not be easy to tell if it will eventually become abusive. In fact, many abusive people appear like ideal partners in the early stages of a relationship.

Every relationship is different and domestic violence doesn’t always look the same. However, one feature shared by most abusive relationships is that the abusive partner tries to establish or gain power and control through different methods.

Some of these signs we shared are some common signs of abusive behavior, and one or two of these behaviors is a red flag that abuse may be present.

*ALWAYS check for the warning signs and opt out of any relationship that has the potential to be abusive.

The Power & Control Wheel diagram is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviours, which are used by an abuser to establish and maintain power and control over their partner. The wheel was created by the Domestic Abuser Intervention Programs in the United States.

The wheel is a heuristic tool that focuses on how eight [8] different types of abuser tactics partner with physical and sexual violence (or the threat of physical and sexual violence) to dominate a victim. The wheel is made up of these component parts:

  • Physical and Sexual Violence (outer ring)

  • Using Intimidation

  • Using Emotional Abuse

  • Using Isolation

  • Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

  • Using Children

  • Using Male Privilege

  • Using Economic Abuse

  • Using Coercion and Threats


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