Physical abuse is easy to identify– but what about emotional abuse?  These perpetrators don’t show their true colors in the beginning.  They are incredibly charming, and they will often stay on their best behavior until they feel they’ve captured you.  That’s when you’ll see the lovely Dr. Jekyll turn into the evil Mr. Hyde.  Here are the top 10 signs this is who you are with:

1. Does this person seem to constantly put you down?
2. Are you afraid to express a dissenting opinion?
3. Does this person act in an irrationally jealous and/or possessive manner?
4. Does this person try to control every aspect of your life?
5. Is this person isolating you from your family and friends?
6. Are you being blamed for everything that goes wrong?
7. Has this person destroyed or threatened to destroy or take away your things?
8. Are you often left wondering how arguments escalated to such a hostile level?
9. Have you been threatened with legal action that will “ruin” you and/or result in a loss of custody?
10. Does this person use sex as a weapon– either forces it on you, or withholds it as punishment?

If you have answered yes to any one of these questions, please stop kidding yourself as to what is really going on here– this is no way to live.  A person that truly loves you will not treat you this way– ever.  You deserve far better.  Don’t let anyone suggest otherwise.

Nearly one in three women in the U.S. will experience an abusive relationship at some point in their life. (Many of my male clients have also reported incidents of abuse, but they are far less likely to want to bring this up in any legal proceedings).  So, if you see someone– man or woman– in distress, try to reach out and offer assistance in whatever way you can.  The only way we will end domestic abuse is if we as an entire society reduce our tolerance for this behavior.  In that vein, I hope you’ll share this blog with others, and if you find yourself faced with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type in your life, develop an escape plan and RUN, dont’ walk, to the nearest exit.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.