According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men who report having suffered from domestic abuse by a partner.  Domestic abuse is not only physical; you can also be victimized by emotional abuse — name-calling, criticism, harassment, threats, stalking, and other behavior meant to intimidate and control.

If you think you may be a victim of domestic abuse, see if any of these five warning signs apply to you:

Your partner constantly checks up on you. Abusers prefer to isolate their victims, so if you are feeling cut off from friends and family and your partner is constantly checking up on you to see where you have been and who you are with, this could be a red flag.

Your partner makes excuses for their bad behavior. If your partner lashes out at you and then makes excuses for his or her bad behavior, this is another sign of domestic abuse. Abusers do not like taking responsibility for their own behavior and often blame it on their victims, alcohol or drugs.

Your partner scares you. Engaging in frightening behavior like harming pets, driving recklessly, throwing things, or pressuring you to have sex is abuse. If you feel like you have to modify your own behavior in order to prevent a violent reaction, this is a sign of a bad relationship.

Your partner threatens you. Abusers often control their victims by telling them that they will harm themselves or others if the victim tries to leave. If your partner is constantly making threats — even if they don’t follow through — this is crossing the line.

Your partner belittles you. In an attempt to make you feel dependent on them, abusers will often put their victims down by verbally abusing them.

If you recognize any of these traits in your partner, you should not wait to get help. Talk over your concerns with a family law attorney, therapist, or local domestic violence prevention organization. While it may be difficult to leave an abusive relationship, you do have choices; your safety and that of your children should be your top priority.

Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne is here to provide guidance and advocacy in obtaining domestic violence protection orders to ensure that you and your family are safe.

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