Domestic Violence Red Flags

Domestic violence is a serious crime, and it’s a form of assault. Domestic violence is also psychologically damaging. The effects can last for years or for the rest of a person’s life. 

Unfortunately, when you enter into a relationship with someone, you may have no idea they have violent or aggressive tendencies. It often takes time for these patterns to become apparent. 

Many times people who are domestic abusers are also master manipulators, and they may convince their victims that the abuse they’re inflicting on them is their own fault. 

It becomes difficult for someone in an abusive relationship to leave when they are deeply entrenched in it for so many reasons. 

It’s important to recognize even the earliest red flags of domestic violence and abuse. These may be things you see in your own romantic partner or perhaps something you see in someone else’s relationships

These red flags can include:

Condescending “Joking”

Someone with abusive tendencies may, on the surface appear nearly perfect. 

However, one of the first red flags that may become apparent is that the person becomes condescending and often insulting, but then they’ll say they’re joking. 

There may be ongoing teasing about your looks, your work, or your loved ones, for example.

If you speak up, they may brush it off and say that you’re too sensitive. 

No Empathy

Abusive people tend to lack empathy. That means that they come off as not caring, and they probably don’t because they don’t have the emotional ability to understand how someone else is feeling. They can’t share other people’s feelings. 

If you come home and tell your partner you had a difficult day, they may appear as if they don’t care because of their inability to empathize, or on the other hand, they might try to make the conversation all about them. 

Shifting Blame

Someone with an abusive personality is not going to take the blame for anything. Even if they are at fault for someone, it will always be someone else’s fault. 

Sometimes a person who has the potential to become abusive will even say that other people made them do certain things. 

For example, if they lash out at you, they may say that you made them do it. 

If they get in trouble at work, they may blame that on their co-worker or their manager, even when it’s very obvious they were at fault for the situation. 


There is a term called lovebombing, which is frequently associated with abuse. What this means is at the start of a potentially abusive relationship, the person will go overboard declaring their love for you. 

Abusive relationships often move very quickly, leaving you no time to think about what’s really happening. 

Someone who is lovebombing you will focus all of their attention on you and will often tell you they love you nearly right away. They will also make it known very publicly, such as on social media. 

In the early days of a relationship, someone who is abusive might frame you as perfect and tell you that you make them feel ways they never have before. They’ll idolize you. They will want to create an instant bond with you. 

Lovebombing can then often turn into gaslighting. 

Gaslighting is a way of making you feel as if you’re crazy. You’ll doubt yourself, and they’ll create situations that facilitate this, and then they’ll try to rescue you or frame themselves as the sane person in the situation. 

Small Signs of Anger

Abusive relationships don’t usually start out with extreme anger in the beginning, but over time you might see small bits of anger that peak out. 

For example, your partner might show anger toward strangers if they don’t get what they want. 

Then that anger can grow, and they will direct toward you, but they’ll usually be very apologetic after the fact. 

Finally, there is also the Jekyll and Hyde effect. Someone who has abusive tendencies might be very kind and loving to you in public but very cruel to you when no one is around. 

If you notice even a hint of these red flags, it’s important to talk to someone you trust and get out of the relationship. The longer it goes on, the more danger you’re putting yourself in. Too often, when people are in abusive relationships, they want to “fix” the person, and that’s not something you can take on. It can put you at serious risk to try and do so. 

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