If you want to be able to tell at the beginning of the relationship if the other person has the potential to become abusive, there are behaviours you can look for.

Red flags

INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.

ISOLATION: Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family.

POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY: Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.

NEED FOR CONTROL: Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions.

UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN: Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.

More red flags

  • Was abused as a child.
  • Grew up in a home where an adult was abused by another adult.
  • Gets very serious with girlfriends very quickly – saying “I love you” very early in the relationship, wanting to move in together or get engaged after only a few months, or pressuring partner for a serious commitment.
  • Comes on very strong, is incredibly charming and an overly smooth talker.
  • Isolates partner from support systems – wants partner all to themselves, and tries to keep the partner from friends, family or outside activities.
  • Is abusive toward other people, especially mother or sisters if the perpetrator is a male.
  • Blames others for one’s own misbehaviour or failures.
  • Has unrealistic expectations, like expecting partner to meet all of one's needs and be the perfect partner.
  • Has abused children.
  • Has hit a partner in the past.
  • Has ever been cruel to animals.
  • Calls partner names, puts him/her down or curses at him/her.
  • Is extremely moody, and switches quickly from being very nice to exploding in anger.
  • If a male believes women are inferior to men and should obey them.
  • Is intimidating, for example using threatening body language, punching walls, or breaking objects.

Women's Support Contact: Melape Wallace
 07 346 2096   melape.wallace@familyfocus.org.nz