Warning Signs of Someone Being Abusive

It is challenging to identify dating violence through simply observing teen relationships. Often we look for outward signs of abuse, and in many cases miss cues that a teen may be abusive to their partner. In addition, we can notice more subtle signs that a relationships may be unhealthy or pose red flags for abusive behavior.

  • Insults made to their partner in public or private
    A teen using abuse may make negative comments about their partner, calling them things such as ditzy, dumb, or stupid or making suggestive sexual comments or gestures.
  • Blames others for their own problems
    A teen using abuse often isn’t able to accept responsibility for their own actions.
  • Significant age differences
    Teenagers in relationships with significant age differences pose a greater risk for abuse. Watch for older teens who habitually date younger partners.
  • Marked changes in mood or personality
    Extreme agitation, depression, social withdrawal, or aggressiveness can be a red flag for a person who is using abuse or violence.
  • Controlling behavior
    Controlling behaviors include determining how their partner dresses, who they spend time with, constantly checking in/texting to find out where they are and what they are doing.
  • Preoccupied or obsessed with weapons
    A person who is fascinated by weapons, spends a lot of time talking about weapons, or carries weapons can be a red flag for someoe who might use abusive behavior.
  • Threats to hurt self or others
    Threats to do harm can often be intended to manipulate a partner to remain in the relationship or return to the relationship.
  • Extreme jealousy and fights with others over their partner
    Possessiveness and jealous accusations may precede and/or follow violence. A person using abuse will often attempt to socially isolate their partner by forbidding them to see or talk to others or make accusations of cheating on them.
  • Pressuring others for dates or sex
    Getting angry or refusing to accept no for an answer when a person refuses to go out or have sex may be a warning sign for abuse. A person may also exhibit intense preoccupation with going out with a particular person.
  • Alcohol and drug use
    Alcohol or drugs are frequently used by teens who use violence. They may also use alcohol or drug use as an excuse for their own behavior.