The 8 Warning Signs of Dating Abuse You Need To Know Now

By on August 1, 2014

By Aryn Quinn –

I walked to a local TD Bank branch today in need of some bank manager assistance. I was shown to a kind, soft-spoken young woman; I’ll call her Sara. I explained to Sara what I needed help with, and gave her the name of our organization, Beauty Cares. Sara asked me, “what kind of work does your organization do?” And within seconds of describing our prevention program and the 8 early signs of abuse, she was personally moved. For the next half hour, Sara poured out a horror story of innocence shattered, trust betrayed and a heart so broken I could only hope for the right words to help her.

She told me that her first ever boyfriend was from a “very good family” – he was educated, good-looking and drove a brand-new BMW.  He was also so jealous that after only a few months he was combing through her text messages, yelling at her for interacting with male co-workers, accusing her of being a cheater and flipping out if he saw her look at other cars. That’s right…other cars. He accused her of looking to find someone better by scanning luxury cars near them.

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Even as he was making wild accusations that Sara was cheating, she caught him dating one of her friends, whose number he copied while snooping through Sara’s cellphone.

It wasn’t long before he hit her, and after the third incident of physical abuse, Sara would require stitches to repair the gash in her forehead.

Leaving him was difficult; she would eventually require a restraining order because he refused to let her go. He literally told her, “I’ll never let you leave me”. He didn’t say this because he loved her, but rather because the idea of Sara being okay without him was something that he just couldn’t live with.

When Sara told me, “I don’t know if I will ever be the same. I can’t trust myself anymore,” I had to remind her of two things: she’s not alone and she couldn’t have known better.

Sadly, Sara’s story is one that happens every year to millions of teens and women. According to the United States Justice Department, “One in four women will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.” And fewer than 20 percent of parents will ever speak to their children about domestic abuse or teen dating violence.

If you’ve ever experienced abuse in a relationship, don’t blame yourself. It’s not about being smart or stupid – most teens and women have never been taught the early warning signs. And remember, intimate partner abuse affects one in four women in the US. Knowing the signs of abuse before you begin a relationship can make all the difference in your choice of partner.

So here are the 8 SIGNS OF ABUSE to know BEFORE getting into a long-term relationship:

1: Intensity

Excessive charm, LYING to cover up insecurity, needing to immediately win over your friends and family, OVER THE TOP gestures that seem like too much too soon, BOMBARDING you with texts and emails, behaving obsessively, insisting that you get serious IMMEDIATELY, sweeping you off your feet

2. Jealousy:

Behaving IRRATIONALLY when you get a promotion, job or new friend; becoming ANGRY when you speak to the opposite sex; persistently ACCUSING you of cheating; resenting your time with friends, family, coworkers or activities; DEMANDING to know private details of your life.

3. Control

TELLING you how to dress, when to speak or what to think; showing up UNINVITED at your home, school, or job; CHECKING your cell phone, emails, Facebook; going through your belongings; timing/following you; controlling/withholding money; sexually coercing you.

4. Isolation

INSISTING you only spend time with them; making you emotionally, psychologically or financially DEPENDENT; preventing you from seeing your friends, family or children; FORBIDDING you from going anywhere or speaking to anyone; keeping you home.

5. Criticism

Calling you overweight, UGLY, STUPID or crazy; ridiculing your beliefs, ambitions or friends; claiming they’re the only one who really cares about you; making you feel bad about yourself; BRAINWASHING you to feel worthless; accusing you of being a bad parent.

6. Sabotage

Making you MISS work or school by starting a fight or having a MELTDOWN; being needy when you’re busy or doing well; making you believe you’re crazy, alone or helpless; HIDING your money, keys or phone; stealing your belongings; DESTROYING your self-esteem.

7. Blame

Making you feel GUILTY and responsible for their aggressive or DESTRUCTIVE behavior; blaming the world or you for their PROBLEMS; always saying, “This is your FAULT or “You made me do this.”

8. Anger

OVERREACTING to small problems; frequently losing control; violent OUTBURSTS or severe mood swings; drinking excessively, THREATENING to hurt/kill you or loved ones; FIGHTING; sexually abusing you; making you feel AFRAID for your life/your children’s lives.

If you need help or someone to speak with, immediately call: 1 800 799 SAFE.

Aryn Quinn is the founder of Beauty Cares, a nonprofit committed to breaking the cycle of teen dating violence and domestic abuse against teens, women and children. She speaks to young women at schools across the nation about self-esteem and dating abuse.

For more information, please visit:
@BeautyCares on Instagram

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The 8 Warning Signs of Dating Abuse You Need To Know Now