What is Abuse?

Many people believe that spousal/marital abuse, relationship abuse, or domestic violence means that a family member or a dating partner physically hurts or hits the other, but that’s not the entire picture.  Abuse can be emotional injury, food/money/resources deprivation, name calling, using culture or immigration status to control, and/or the threat of any of these types of violence. 

There is no one exact definition of abuse, but there are signs and red flags that a person can look for in a potential abuser.  If you or someone you know might be experiencing any of the signs and/or red flags of abuse, experienced advocates at ATASK can answer questions, present options, and simply provide support, all with the view of your safety in mind.  For any assistance, please find the safest way to give ATASK a call at 617-338-2355.


Recognizing the Potential for Abuse

Recognizing a potential abusive partner is one of the ways toward preventing abuse.  If you recognize the following signs, your partner may have a likelihood of being or becoming abusive.  If that is the case, you do have options through ATASK.

Below are signs and red flags that could indicate a potentially violent partner.  Not all signs must be present for it to be abuse and please be aware that not all possible signs are listed below.  Of the last four signs, past battering, threats of violence, breaking or striking objects, and any force during an argument almost always foretell domestic violence.


What are the Signs?

  • Excessive Jealousy
  • Controlling Behaviors/Clothes/Actions/Whereabouts
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Isolation from Family/Friends/Work/Hobbies
  • Blaming Others for Problems or Feelings
  • Excessive Temper
  • Cruelty to Animals or Children
  • Forceful Sex (even under a playful guise)
  • Verbal Abuse, Name Calling
  • Rigid Sex Roles
  • Possessive
  • Past Battering
  • Threats of Violence
  • Breaking or Striking Objects
  • Any Force During an Argument

Press here for FAQ’s about domestic violence.

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