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S/O Domestic Violence Facts: Signs of DV - Are You in An Abusive Relationship? Update with Videos

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Signs of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not always easy to recognize, but the signs are usually there. Abuse can be in many forms, from emotional to physical to sexual. The following are some of the signs that the person you are with may be abusive:

  • The person repeatedly lies to you and breaks promises.
  • The person withholds affection in order to get power over you.
  • The person shows extreme jealousy and tries to keep you from family, friends, or interests.
  • The person insults or puts you down.
  • The person violates your privacy, going through your possessions without permission.
  • The person threatens you.
  • The person tries to control you, telling you how to dress, where to go, what to eat, what to do, etc.
  • The person attempts to cause you pain or injury.
  • The person punches, kicks, shakes, slaps, or restrains you.
  • The person attacks you with a weapon or thrown objects.
  • The person causes pain or injures you.
  • The person forces their attention on you, either verbally or physically.
  • The person rapes you.
  • The person injures or threatens to injure the family pet.
  • The person threatens to injure your children.
  • The person injures your children.

The Cycle of Violence

The Cycle of Violence. Phase One: Tension Building. Phase Two: Abusive Incident. Phase Three: Honeymoon Period.Domestic violence is not just a one-time incident, but a pattern of behaviors over time. Most abusive relationships follow a cycle of violence, which has three stages: tension building, explosive incident, and honeymoon stage. The lengths of each stage can vary from seconds to years.

During the Tension Building phase, the warning signs of abuse begin to appear. They may repeat, they may change each time, but they are there.

  • There are more arguments between the abuser and the victim.
  • The abuser yells at the victim for no apparent reason.
  • The abuser accuses the victim of acts they did not do, such as sleeping around, flirting with other people, cheating.
  • The victim feels as if they cannot do anything right, and are afraid to do anything to make the situation worse.

During the Explosive Incident phase, the abuse occurs. It may be mental, physical, or sexual, but it is always an intense outburst.

  • The abuser threatens the victim with physical violence.
  • The abuser hits, grabs, shoves, kicks, or otherwise physically attacks the victim.
  • The abuser screams and yells violently.
  • The abuser throws objects across the room.
  • The abuser injures a family pet.
  • The abuser rapes or sexually assaults the victim.

During the Honeymoon Stage phase, the abuser tries to justify or minimize the abuse. They may treat the victim with extreme kindness as they try to "make up" for the attack, and try to keep the victim from fleeing. The abuser may also try to make the victim feel responsible for the abuse, so they will not blame the abuser or press charges.

  • The abuser apologizes and promises that it will never happen again.
  • The abuser tells the victim they love them.
  • The abuser buys the victim gifts, such as flowers or jewelry, to "make up" for the abuse.
  • The abuser makes excuses for the abuse, often blaming the victim for the abuse ("you made me do it", "it was only a little slap, it's not like I really hurt you", "you know that always makes me angry", "you know how stressed I've been lately because of work", and many others).

As a cycle, the phases repeat themselves: after the honeymoon stage, the tension eventually starts building again, which leads to another explosive incident. Over time, the tension building phase takes less time to lead to the explosion, which becomes more violent and dangerous, and the honeymoon stage becomes shorter and shorter.


by on Dec. 9, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Replies (11-17):
by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 9:26 AM

My first marriage was abusive.  It didn't take me long to leave but it did take quite awhile for me to overcome my own behavior that lead me to choose bad men.  

by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Quoting katy_kay08:

My first marriage was abusive.  It didn't take me long to leave but it did take quite awhile for me to overcome my own behavior that lead me to choose bad men.  

I was in 2 abusive relationships.  Once I dated a guy for 6 years guy who was physical and emotional abusive.  In the 2nd Relationship the guy was verbal abusive.  The relationship didn't las tlong.  Out of the two abuse, the emotional and verbal abuse was the worst abuse.  Statistics show that the abuser will never change, unless they get therapy.  It take long term therapy, and still the abuser might never change.  You, the victim cannot change the abuser.   I knew a woman who live in the same apartment complex as me, she was in an abusive relationship for 12 years.  She had kids from the man, and he shot and  klled her  in front of their 3year old child.  I saw them bring out her body.  It was traumatic.

by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM

An Exit Action Plan: Guidelines for Leaving an Abusive Relationship

 How to get out of An Abusive Relationship

Planning a safe exit from an abusive relationship is a necessary and important step before breaking the ties with your partner. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests following these steps to improve your chances of leaving safely.

  • Know the phone number to your local battered women's shelter.
  • Let a trusted family member, friend, coworker or neighbors know your situation. Develop a plan for when you need help; code words you can text if in trouble, a visual signal like a porch light: on equals no danger, off equals trouble.
  • If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.
  • Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made.
  • Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures.
  • Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you.
  • If you need to sneak away, be prepared. Make a plan for how and where you will escape.
  • Back your car into the driveway, and keep it fueled. Keep your driver's door unlocked and other doors locked for a quick escape.
  • Hide an extra set of car keys.
  • Set money aside. Ask friends or family members to hold money for you.
  • Pack a bag. Include an extra set of keys, IDs, car title, birth certificates, social security cards, credit cards, marriage license, clothes for yourself and your children, shoes, medications, banking information, money " anything that is important to you. Store them at a trusted friend or neighbor's house. Try to avoid using the homes of next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends.
  • Take important phone numbers of friends, relatives, doctors, schools, etc.  
  • If time is available, also take:
    Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.)
    Titles, deeds and other property information
    Medical records
    Children's school and immunization records
    Insurance information
    Verification of social security numbers
    Welfare identification
    Valued pictures, jewelry or personal possessions
  • Know abuser's schedule and safe times to leave.
  • Be careful when reaching out for help via Internet or telephone. Erase your Internet browsing history, websites visited for resources, e-mails sent to friends/family asking for help. If you called for help, dial another number immediately after in case abuser hits redial.
  • Create a false trail. Call motels, real estate agencies and schools in a town at least six hours away from where you plan to relocate. 

After Leaving the Abusive Relationship


If you get a restraining order, and the offender is leaving:

  • Change your locks and phone number.
  • Change your work hours and route taken to work.
  • Change the route taken to transport children to school.
  • Keep a certified copy of your restraining order with you at all times.
  • Inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a restraining order in effect.
  • Give copies of the restraining order to employers, neighbors and schools along with a picture of the offender.
  • Call law enforcement to enforce the order.

If you leave:

  • Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail. Be aware that addresses are on restraining orders and police reports. Be careful to whom you give your new address and phone number.
  • Change your work hours, if possible.
  • Alert school authorities of the situation.
  • Consider changing your children's schools.
  • Reschedule appointments if the offender is aware of them.
  • Use different stores and frequent different social spots.
  • Alert neighbors, and request that they call the police if they feel you may be in danger.
  • Talk to trusted people about the violence.
  • Replace wooden doors with steel or metal doors. Install security systems if possible. Install a motion sensitive lighting system.
  • Tell people you work with about the situation and have your calls screened by one receptionist if possible.
  • Tell people who take care of your children who can pick up your children. Explain your situation to them and provide them with a copy of the restraining order.
  • Call the telephone company to request caller ID. Ask that your phone number be blocked so that if you call anyone, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number.

For more tips on staying safe, click here!


For more information, please visit the Web site for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. 


For more information on where to turn for help, consult these Domestic Violence Resources.

by Kelly on Dec. 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM
1 mom liked this


by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM


by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Thank you so much for posting this.  I think it's so important. 

Can I just add to the part about "the person rapes you" that it isn't always rape? Sexual abuse can take a lot of different forms.  Pushing or pressuring you to do sexual things you don't want, using threats or force or fear to make you have sex is definitely sexual abuse to.  There's also things like pressuring into unwanted pregnancy or trying to get you pregnant when you don't want to be, or messing with your birth control, or whatever. 

My friend met an abused woman whose husband -- right after they were married-- loaded his shotgun and  said-- "come to bed now."  And put the loaded shotgun under the bed, and that's where it stayed during their marriage.  She had a hard time saying that what happened in her marriage was "rape" but he was totally violent and controlling in many other ways, and his message with the shotgun was pretty clear to her. She was always scared to say no. 

by Member on Feb. 9, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Thanks for posting this!!
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