Often we are asked by parents to describe the warning signs of dating abuse. Parents want to know what they should be looking for, or how they can help their child who could be in an unhealthy relationship.

Control is a Common Theme

What has come to be called “control issues” is a common characteristic running through many unhealthy and abusive relationships.

Potential Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

The following potential warning signs could indicate a red flag for friends, parents or adult caregivers about the possibility of an unhealthy relationship:

  • No longer wanting to spend time with his/her circle of friends
  • Wearing the same clothing over and over
  • Appearing distracted when spoken to
  • Becoming isolated from family, friends, or activities the teen used to enjoy
  • Constantly checking texts, gets extremely upset
 if asked to turn off phone
  • Withdrawn, quieter than usual
  • Angry, irritable when asked how they are doing
  • Making excuses for their boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Showering immediately after getting home
  • Unexplained scratches or bruises
  • Changing behavior to avoid fighting with the significant other

If any of the following potential warning signs seems familiar to you in your relationship, they could indicate the possibility of danger for you:

  • History of legal or discipline problems
  • Blames you for his/her anger
  • Serious drug or alcohol use
  • History of violence behavior
  • Threatens others regularly
  • Insults you or calls you names
  • Trouble controlling feelings like anger
  • Tells you what to wear, what to do or how to act
  • Threatens or intimidates you in order to get their way
  • Prevents you from spending time with your friends or family

The Trauma Society says anyone trying to get out should:

  • Tell someone about the situation; never try to handle the situation alone
  • If going out, always tell someone where he or she is going and when he or she anticipates being home
  • Choose a safe route home from school/work and never walk alone
  • If you feel unsafe or threatened, call 911