RED FLAGS to look for when starting a new relationship: Domestic Violence Awareness
First I would like to thank you all for reading and sharing the last post. If you haven’t read it yet please do so as I hope you will find it very informative. The point of the series of posts concerning domestic violence is to bring awareness.
As promised this post will address the red flags of domestic abuse. Now, keep in mind that just because one sign applies doesn’t mean a person will be an abuser but if quite a few are present then I would strongly suggest backing away…quickly!
I’m going to focus a bit on the controlling behavior because many times the signs are present but they are mistaken for care and concern. When necessary I will also address how these signs may come across from a Muslim perspective in the talking phase before marriage. Some red flags to consider when starting a relationship:
* Calls and texts repeatedly until you answer. This isn’t just normal calling and messaging. It’s 20-30 missed calls in a span of one hour. Not ok. Not normal. From a Muslim perspective other forms of communication may be used in the talking phase. Either email or through a third party. In this case, the person may not give you time to reply before sending various emails or frequently calls the third party individual. Not cute. Not cool.
* Leaves messages claiming to be concerned you didn’t respond to calls and texts. The tone of the messages may be confused with concern but when you just met this person about a week ago they honestly shouldn’t be that concerned.
* Insists you check in throughout the day. May claim to be so concerned about your wellbeing as to why you should check in. Remember, you survived much of your adult life without checking in with another adult.
* Criticizes the way you talk, dress, or behave. This is pretty self explanatory but I will elaborate a little for the young Muslim woman preparing for marriage. If you are comfortable with the way you dress and it is in accordance with Islamic law and the individual insists that you wear certain colors or styles you are not accustomed to then this can be attempt to control. It’s important to know the rules of the religion and what is acceptable. With knowledge, it will be easy to distinguish whether or not one is attempting to control you or simply share information.
* Constantly questions your whereabouts. Wants to know where you are, who you are with, what you were doing, who said what, how did you respond, ect.
* Treats you like a child and as though you are incapable of making decisions and forming your own opinion. May become upset when you disagree. Expects you to hold the same opinions as they do.
* Monitors phone calls/emails/social media usage. Gets upset if you answer a text and not say who it’s from. Sits behind you while checking email. Eves drops on phone calls. Becomes angry if you don’t respond the way they think you should. Requires you to deactivate social media accounts and open joint accounts with them. Reads your messages and responds on your behalf WITHOUT your permission.
When starting a new relationship keep your personal boundaries in mind. In each of the above mentioned scenarios it should be quite simple to weed out a potentially abusive individual by asserting personal boundaries. Here are a few examples of what you could say in response:
1. “I appreciate the concern but please stop calling so frequently”
2. “I’ll call you once I reach home but I’m not not going to check in with you.”
3. “Thank you for the suggestion but I like how I dress.”
4. “I respect your opinion but I simply do not agree.”
5. “I know you mean well but please don’t read my messages/emails.”
Should any of these comments be a cause of anger then you may have a problem. These issues don’t normally get better with time. Asserting personal boundaries should never make someone upset.
Some other red flags to consider:
* Tries to be with you the majority of the time. Doesn’t want you to have friends.
* Follows you around and shows up to where you said you’d be to check on you. Once again, not normal. Constantly checking in on a person you just met is not out of concern; it’s a HUGE red flag the person has major trust issues.
* Accuses you of cheating all of the time.
* Becomes angry if someone of the opposite sex looks in your direction.
* Claims jealously is a sign of love.
* Makes claims of “Love at first site”. Tries to make you feel their life is incomplete without you and that they are all you need. Over time the individual may say things like “we are all we have” or “it’s just us; no one cares about us”.
* The abuser tries to keep you all to themselves.
* Makes you feel bad for wanting to spend time with family or friends. Will begin to sulk and accuse you of neglecting them. May also make up negative things about family or friends. From a Muslim perspective, there may be a false claim that because certain family is not Muslim you can’t be around them. This is false.
* Prevents you from attending school or working.
* Handpicks friends and associates.
* Wants to live where access to phone is limited.
Blames others for problems and feelings.
* Unable to hold a job and blames others. Doesn’t work well with others. Refuses to follow directions.
* Thinks everyone is out to get them.
* Blames you for anger or outburst. May say things like “you make me so angry” or “I can’t control how I react to what YOU do.”
* Claims you control how they react. Says “if you just do such and such then I won’t get mad.”
* Is easily insulted and argues about small things.
* Rants and raves about injustices when it’s normal life situations such as given a task at work (May even quit jobs because of this so-called injustice) or receiving a traffic violation.
* Looks for a fight. Makes problems when there are none. (For example, may start fights with strangers without reason)
* Takes things personal.
Previous abusive/Unwilling to discuss past relationships.
* When asking to meet ex-spouses they make up stories about them. May call them crazy or unstable to sway you from doing research.
* May admit to the abuse but will blame the ex making comments like “she made me do it” or “it was only one time.”
* Family may admit they were abusive with exes.
* Abusers will eventually abuse any one they are with; it is only a matter of time.
Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde
* The personality of an abuser can go from night to day in a matter of seconds.
* May go from fun loving to explosive anger.
* Explosiveness and extreme anger is a common red flag amongst abusers.
* When angry they throw and break things.
* They usually destroy things that are important to you.
Cruelty towards small children or animals
* May expect things from children that are impossible like a newborn baby not to cry.
* May scream and curse at a newborn child for waking up in the middle of the night.
* Attempts to punish small children and expect them to “learn a lesson” at a young age.
* Is insensitive towards animal.
* Harms animals and laughs about it.
There are so many other red flags when it comes to domestic violence. I would advise anyone entering a relationship to look for these signs before saying “I do”. It’ll be worth it if you take your time and do your research on any potential mate. In the talking phase it can be easy for one to hide some of the red flags. Abusers can be quite charming. It’s best to speak with people who have either been in a close relationship with them or the ones who have lived with them. An individual who DOES NOT have a history of abuse won’t have an issue with you talking with an ex but an abuser will. That’s all for now.
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