Red Flags

It can be difficult, at the outset of a relationship, to predict whether a prospective partner will become abusive.  However, there are certain danger signals which, in combination, should not be ignored.  These involve embarrassment/criticism, control/manipulation, isolation, blame, threats, and violence.

Here is a list of “red flags” [1][2]:


  • A partner who regularly disparages your friends, family, ideas, and goals.
  • A partner who deliberately embarrasses and insults you.  Such a partner may humiliate you in public, or criticize you viciously in private.  He or she may attack your looks or your parenting skills, as a means of undermining your confidence.


  • A partner who prevents you from making decisions. This interference may, at first, be as simple as telling you what you can and cannot wear to work.
  • A partner who is extremely jealous and possessive.  Such a partner continually tracks where you go, whom you meet, and what you do.  He or she may expect to you check in, throughout the day, and spend every moment of your free time with him/her.
  • A partner with a hair-trigger temper. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace.
  • A partner who takes your money or refuses to provide you necessary income for expenses.
  • A partner who plays “mind games” to make you feel guilty.  Such a partner may, for instance, threaten to commit suicide if you leave him or her.
  • A partner who pressures you to have sex, or to engage in a type of sexual activity with which you are not comfortable.
  • A partner who prevents you from using birth control.
  • A partner who pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.


  • A partner who discourages or prevents you from seeing friends and family.  Such a partner may begin by fielding the phone calls intended for you, then distort or fail to relay the messages left for you.
  • A partner who prevents you from going to work or school.


  • A partner who refuses to take responsibility for his/her own actions and failures.
  • A partner who blames you for his/her drug or alcohol abuse (and even his/her boss’ behavior).
  • A partner who pretends the abuse is not taking place or blames you for it.


  • A partner who glares at you in a threatening manner, or acts in a way that frightens you.  Such a partner may, for instance, brandish a gun or knife in your presence.  He or she may drive at a dangerously high speed with you in the vehicle, despite your pleas to stop.
  • A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your pets.
  • A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your children, or take custody of them away from you.
  • A partner who threatens to hurt or kill you.


  • A partner who destroys your property.  This may take the form of slashing your clothes or harming a pet.
  • A partner who shoves, slaps, chokes, punches, or hits you or your children with an object.
  • A partner who attempts to prevent you from pressing criminal charges for abuse.

The tragic fact is that domestic abuse ends in death, in all too many cases.  Forewarned is forearmed.

[1]  National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Know the Red Flags of Abuse”,

[2]  New Hope for Women, “Red Flags for Domestic Abuse”,



Filed under domestic abuse, domestic violence, Violence Against Women

27 responses to “Red Flags

  1. Great post Anna!
    I hope many will read it and heed the warnings.

  2. Reblogged this on Anchor Thy Soul and commented:
    Red Flags:
    By Anna Waldherr at A Voice Reclaimed

  3. Sounds like the guy I nearly married 😰Life would’ve turned out VERY different, had I not cried out to God who heard my desperate prayers and orchestrated my not-so-simple escape!!! 😇🦋🙏✝️💜Jackie@KWH

  4. This is a very comprehensive list. I am thinking that these should be included in every premarital counseling session or shall we say relationship coaching sessions since sadly, more and more people are cohabiting and having children without formal marriage. . I mean there is a possibility that not only married couples are trapped in abusive relationships.
    Thank you for sharing this insightful post

  5. Guys like that should not even be in a relationship. They are ticking time bombs.

  6. Your posts are helpful for so many, keep up the good work sister!

  7. Verbal violence is the first step of violence. You issued this very well. We should be careful about the words, because they are tend to become behaviors.

    • Thank you, Yusuf. Unfortunately, victims of childhood abuse often as adults tend to excuse behavior that is inexcusable…until it is too late.

      • I know, they were victims of abuse, and nobody didn’t care about their emotions when they faced to abuse or violence. When they become adults and have power, they have a tendency to creat new victims. Maybe, they thinks this a way of revenge from the society. That’s the most important point of preventing abuse and violence , for not replying itself

      • While there are no hard and fast rules, children subjected to physical abuse or raised in a household where violence is common tend to react different depending on their sex. Boys run a high risk of becoming abusive men. Girls run a similarly high risk of selecting abusive partners. The tragedy perpetuates itself.

  8. Very good information! I’m so glad you’re writing about this!

  9. Pingback: Red Flags – (running together with Child Sexual Abuse) | Royal Commission & Brisbane Boys' College

  10. Pingback: Red Flags – NarrowPathMinistries

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.