Healthy Relationships

Is It Love?

We all have the right to be in healthy relationships. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes easy to confuse our partner’s abusive behavior for love. It’s important to understand how abusive relationships work in order to keep ourselves and our families safe.

Have you experienced any of the following problems since you became involved with your partner?

  • Losing close relationships with friends and family

  • Limited independence

  • Fear and anxiety

  • Physical or verbal attacks

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing abuse.​

All relationships are different, but the one thing all abusive relationships have in common is one person who wants to have power and control over their partner. The desire for control is what makes a person abuse others, not mental or emotional problems. Abusive people may suffer from other issues, like addiction or depression, but these things do not cause abusive behavior. While most people wait and hope for their abusive partner to change, their relationship can become very dangerous, even deadly.

The following personality traits are red flags of an abuser:   

 

  • Control – They want to control everything you do, from the way you dress to the people with whom you interact.

  • Lack of Responsibility – They refuse to admit to their bad behavior and/or continue to do the same hurtful behaviors over and over.  

  • Extreme Jealousy – They accuse you of flirting or cheating. They try to keep you from socializing with your friends/family.

  • Hyper-Sensitivity – They overreact to normal problems, becoming very emotional or violent.

  • History of Abuse – They have been in abusive relationships in the past and they use their sad history as an excuse to distrust you.

  • Lack of Trust – They refuse to give you personal space and respect your privacy. They go through your phone and belongings.

  • The Use of Physical Force – They use force to control or hurt your body. They throw or break things to frighten you.

  • Abuse of Technology – They use social media and cell phones to monitor your routines and social behavior.

  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – They seem to have two extreme personalities. One is loving and kind, the other is cruel and scares you.   

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

ACUTE EXPLOSION

HITTING    SEXUAL ABUSE    IMPRISONMENT    TRIPPING    KICKING    HUMILIATION    GRABBING    HAIR PULLING    BEATING    RAPE    STRANGULATION    SLAPPING    VERBAL ABUSE    WITHHOLDING MEDICATION    PUSHING    USE OF WEAPONS    TWISTING ARM

TENSION BUILDING

ISOLATES PARTNER    NIT-PICKING    WITHDRAWS AFFECTION    PUT DOWNS    MOODY    DRINKING OR DRUGS    YELLING    THREATENS YOUR PETS    DESTOYS PROPERTY    CRITICIZES    EXCESSIVE TEXTS    INTIMIDATING    SILENT TREATMENT    EMBARRASS PUBLICLY OR ONLINE    GASLIGHTING

"I'M SORRY"   BEGS FORGIVENESS    MAKES EXCUSES    PROMISES TO GO TO CURCH OR COUNSELING    THREATENS SUICIDE    BUYS GIFTS    SENDS FLOWERS    CRIES    "I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN"    ACTS LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED    WANTS TO HAVE SEX    VICTIM BLAMES

HONEYMOON

Kinds Of Abuse

Emotional Abuse

  • Embarrassing you

  • Constant cries for attention

  • Constant demands on you

  • Only supports his friendships

  • Force to work when sick

  • Threatens suicide 

  • Not allowing privacy 

  • Unpredictable moods

  • Threatens family

  • Threatens friends

  • Hurts pets

  • Threatens pets

  • Not allowed on the phone or online

  • Says others don't like you

  • Destroys cherished belongings

  • Physically withdrawals 

  • Silent treatment

  • Checking up on your social media accounts

  • Ignoring your feelings

  • Manipulating you with lies

  • Contradicting behaviors and views

  • Going through your phone/texts

  • Posts private pictures online

  • Gaslighting

  • Threatening to "out" you

Domestic Violence Occurs in LGBTQIA relationships as often as in heterosexual relationships

Verbal Abuse

  • Yelling

  • Screaming

  • Cursing

  • Putting women down

  • Talking to you like a child

  • Tell you that no one else would want you

  • Humiliating you in public

  • Calling you crazy

  • Telling kids not to listen to you

  • Constant phone calls/texts

  • Constantly checking up on you

  • Nagging

  • Calling you names

  • Constant criticizing 

  • Using racial or homophobic slurs

  • Threats

  • Putting down your family

  •  Belittling accomplishments

  • Threatening to "out" you

Sexual Abuse

  • Raping 

  • Accusing of affairs

  • Forcing unwanted sex acts

  • Constant sexual demands

  • Withholding sex

  • Treating women as objects

  • Bragging about affairs

  • Minimizing your feelings on sex

  • Showing interest in other women

  • Criticizing sexuality

  • Forcing sex after violence

  • Not allowing birth control

  • Accusing you of affairs

  • Forcing pregnancy

  • Violence for refusing sex

  • Criticizing appearance

  • Forcing you to live together

Physical Abuse

  • Pushing or shoving

  • Dragging through the house

  • Kicking

  • Bending fingers backward

  • Withholding medication

  • Throwing down stairs

  • Threatening with a weapon

  • Throwing objects at you

  • Pushing you out of the car

  • Squeezing 

  • Grabbing

  • Tripping

  • Banging head into wall

  • Refuse medical treatment

  • Twisting your arm

  • Strangulation

  • Slapping

  • Punching 

  • Burning

  • Locking out of the house

  • Cutting

  • Holding you down

  • Pinching

  • Suffocating

  • Biting

  • Blocking your way

Financial Abuse

  • Taking Your Money

  • Selling your belongings 

  • Destroying your things

  • Forced to write bad checks

  • Not allowing schooling

  • Not allowing you to work

  • Spends money on drugs

  • Controls the checkbook

  • Quitting jobs

  • Not giving money for bills 

  • You're responsible for bills

Domestic Violence Facts 

  • Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, all cultures, all income groups, all ages and all religions.

  • In the United States, an average of 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually.

  • Females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group - almost triple the national average.

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or  intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, posttraumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, ect..

  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men have been injured by an intimate partner.

  • 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner (data is unavailable for male victims).

  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked.

  • An abusers access to a firearm increases the risk of intimate partner femicide by 400%

  • 34% of women homicide victims over the age of 15 are killed by thier husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. 5% of male murder victims were killed by an intimate partner.

  • 94% of murder-suicide victims are female

  • Women are 7 to 10 times more likely to be injured in acts of violence than men are.

  • Approximately 37% of obstetric patients - of every race, class and educational background- report being physically abused while pregnant.

  • 32% of women are victimized again within six months following a domestic violence incident.

  • More than 53% of batterers also beat their children.

  • If male children see domestic violence, they are 700 times more likely to repeat violence. If male children experience domestic violence, they are 1,000 times more likely to repeat violence.

Things To Keep In Mind Are:

  • Abusive behavior is not normal or healthy.

  • You cannot fix your partner’s abuse issues.

  • Your safety and happiness are important.

  • Exposing children to violence by staying in an abusive relationship has devastating effects on your children’s health and wellbeing:

    • The majority of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children.

    • Boys who witness abusive behavior at home are much more likely to be abusers when they grow up.

    • Girls who witness abusive behavior at home are more likely to be victims of domestic violence as adults. 

  • There is a way for you to find happiness and safety without your partner.

  • Fear of loneliness is a valid, but temporary issue that you will overcome with time. 

  • You don’t have to make any changes until you are ready.

  • Organizations like the Genesis House can help you get the safety and support you need.

Identifying your partner’s behavior as abusive is the first step. What comes next will depend on your personal goals and circumstances. Choosing to leave your partner can be an incredibly difficult process. There can be emotional, financial, and social barriers in your way. You need to weigh your different options, always keeping in mind that your safety and the safety of your children should be the top priority.

What are the risks of staying?

Studies show that people in abusive relationships suffer immediate and long-term consequences. These can include: depression, health problems due to stress, a drop in self-esteem, the loss of relationships with friends and family. In some cases, these abusive relationships can be deadly. Statistics on domestic violence show that violent behavior gets more severe over time, and that once physical violence has occurred, it will most likely happen again. 

Can my abusive partner get better?

Unfortunately, abusive people have very low chances of reforming. While you can hope that your partner’s promises to change are sincere, only a long-term change in their behavior will prove they are safe to be involved with. In most cases, staying with your partner while they work on their issues is not safe.

If your partner seems sincere in wanting to change, they should start working hard to take responsibility for the damage they have done. An option for abusive men in Lorain County is the Genesis House Men’s Anti-violence Program (MAP). 

Stalking 

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is against the law in every state. Stalking across state lines or in federal territories is illegal under federal law.  Victims of stalking can obtain anti-stalking protection orders.

Stalking includes:

  • Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.

  • Repeatedly leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents.

  • Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreational places.

  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.

  • Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.

  • Harassing victim through the internet and social-networking sites.

  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.

  • Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, contacting victim’s friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.

Technology can be used to stalk. Although newly developed technology enhances our lives, it can also empower criminals. Cell phones, computers, social-networking sites like Facebook, and surveillance equipment are just some of the technologies stalkers now use.

To an outsider, stalking behavior can appear friendly and unthreatening, such as showering the victim with gifts or flattering messages. These acts, however, are intrusive and frightening if they are unwelcome to the victim.

Responding to Stalking:

  • Do not negotiate

  • Keep law enforcement involvement to specific incidents that are actionable

  • The way to stop contact is to stop contact

  • Document everything—keep a journal

Documenting Stalking Incidents:

  • Note date and time of the incident

  • The length of duration of the incident

  • The location of the incident

  • Pictures of injuries or damage that resulted from stalker’s behavior

  • Names, addresses and contact information for witnesses to the incident

  • Tape recordings of messages left on voice mail or answering machine

  • Written statement of what the stalker did or said, and how he acted while doing it

  • How do all the parties involved feel as a result of the incident

  • How have your daily activities or procedures changed as a result of the stalker’s behavior

  • The names and badge numbers of officers who responded to the scene

  • Copies of the police reports that resulted from incidents

  • Copies of protection orders that exist for anyone involved

24/7 Crisis Hotline
(440)-244-1853
or
(440)-323-3400
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Safety Planning

Adult Safety Plan Guide 

Safety Plan Worksheet 

Lorain County Safe Harbor/Genesis House

P.O. Box 718

Lorain, Ohio 44052

Call 24 Hours

(440)-244-1853

(440)-323-3400

or call toll free

1-866-213-1188

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