Many Massachusetts residents can easily recount fond memories that involve the honeymoon stages of past relationships. In many cases, these individuals could not detect issues in the early stages of a romantic relationship that indicated signs of later problems. This fact becomes especially relevant for relationships that will later include an attempt by one party to maintain control over the other through abusive behavior patterns.
Early warning signs
Domestic abuse often includes an ongoing pattern of progressive behavior. The earlier a domestic abuse victim can detect the signs of abusive behavior and separate him or herself from an abuser, the less physical and emotional damage he or she will sustain from more serious domestic violence later. Early signs that will likely lead to more domestic problems later include:
- Extreme signs of jealousy
- Insults and ridicule in front of others
- Attempting to control the decision-making process for a partner
- Threats or intimidation in any form
- Threatening to harm children or pets
How friends can help
Individuals who do not recognize the signs of an abusive relationship early enough may find themselves in a situation they feel powerless to control. When this happens, family and friends may represent the last line of defense for the abused individual.
If the abuse experienced by a loved one has turned physical, there will likely be evidence of harm on their bodies. Friends and family members should step up immediately when they see unexplained bruises or marks.
The emotional signs of abuse are more difficult to detect but are just as serious. Friends and family members should ask questions when a loved one in a relationship becomes more isolated or show signs of depression or self-esteem issues. Changes in appetite and sleeping habits may also be a sign of trouble.
Domestic violence will likely require the abused person to take strong action to end his or her suffering. A family law attorney may prove helpful to families coping with issues of domestic abuse.