Domestic Abuse: Signs, Behaviors & More

Every minute, an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner. 

That’s just one of the hundreds of staggering statistics dealing with domestic violence as it’s a pervasive global issue that affects individuals and families every single day. The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as physical, sexual, emotional, economic, psychological, or technological actions or threats of actions or other patterns of coercive behavior that influence another person within an intimate partner relationship.

Identifying early signs of domestic violence is a crucial step in addressing the topic and potentially finding methods of prevention. While escaping the toxic circumstances of domestic violence is difficult to do, the ability to recognize the warning signs can empower victims of domestic violence, as well as their friends and family, to take action when necessary. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into what types of domestic violence exist, what the warning signs look like, and attempt to better understand patterns of abusive behavior, as well as why a victim might stay quiet or be hesitant to come forward. Let’s begin by discussing four of the most common types of domestic violence: emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. 

Examples include limiting who you can spend time with, blaming you for things that weren’t your fault, gaslighting (denying reality), publicly embarrassing you, telling you you won’t find a better partner, etc. 

  • Verbal abuse: a type of emotional abuse where someone uses their words to assault, dominate, etc…

Examples include insulting you or calling you demeaning names, making a threat to harm you or a loved one, and more. 

  • Physical abuse: involves a person using physical force against you, which can bring you harm.

Examples include hitting with an open hand or fist, kicking, slapping, biting, throwing things, kneeing, burning, scratching, forcing confinement (locking you away), and more. 

  • Sexual abuse: this is any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do.

Examples include unwanted touching, kissing, rough or violent sexual activity, rape, refusal to use protection or limitation of protection, and more. 

Recognizing The Red Flags

It’s important to be able to identify some of the most common indicators of domestic violence so that it can help you to prevent the behaviors from escalating into a physical altercation. However, it’s important to remember that recognizing the signs does not mean you are responsible for your abusive partner’s actions. Below are two significant behaviors that might seem flattering at first, but ultimately should raise a red flag. 


This is one of the earliest signs of emotional abuse, but it might not appear as a negative thing at the beginning of an exciting, new relationship. If your partner is persistent on spending all of your time one-on-one time together, it might seem harmless when you’re in the “honeymoon phase.” However, when it extends beyond that, they might be doing it for reasons that are far less romantic and ultimately as an attempt for them to have control over how you spend your time. 


Jealousy is a very human emotion that can come up in the early stages of a relationship. For some it can be a sign that your partner cares about you, but it can become obsessive and irrational. If your partner is overly excessive about who you are spending your time with, or makes comments like “I trust you, just not others,” this problematic behavior can quickly turn toxic and signifies the potential for abusive patterns. 

It’s important to remember that a steady relationship is built upon trust. If your partner doesn’t have any in you and is exhibiting one of these behaviors, it might be time to consider ending the relationship. However, it’s understandable that that is easier said than done when it comes to an abusive partner and there are several reasons why victims don’t feel like they can leave or have to stay quiet. 

Saying Goodbye

Leaving an abusive partner or speaking out against domestic violence is undeniably challenging. There are several reasons why you or other victims might find it difficult to leave or feel compelled to keep quiet about what you’ve endured. For example, your partner may have threatened you or your family with physical abuse. Oftentimes many people who have children of their own or share children with their abusive partner don’t leave out of fear of what will happen to the kids. Your partner might also be threatening to extort you, using personal information to keep you at arm’s length, or they might have complete control of your finances making it difficult for you to start over on your own. 

No matter the specific reason, every situation is unique and it can be paralyzing to live in constant fear of your partner’s reaction to you leaving or telling someone about the abuse, which is why it’s important to know when to ask for help. 


You deserve to be in a relationship that is free of abusive behavior, and it’s okay to need help. Below are a few of the available hotlines and resources for victims of domestic violence. 

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1 (800) 799-7233
  • California Partnership to End Domestic Violence – (916) 444-7163
  • National Dating Abuse Helpline – 1-866-331-9474
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence – 1-800-537-2238
  • SAFE Family Justice Center – (951) 304-5680

How The Grey Legal Group Can Help You

At The Grey Legal Group, we understand that domestic violence is a much more common occurrence than most people realize. We are experienced in dealing with sensitive matters like this, so we will take the time to get to know you and understand your situation so that we can come up with a strategy that will keep you safe. Our experienced domestic violence attorneys are passionate about protecting survivors of abuse to the fullest extent of the law. Call The Grey Legal Group today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team. We’ll help you navigate the road ahead. 

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The Grey Legal Group

At The Grey Legal Group, we believe in helping all families with their legal needs so they can be protected on your journey back to a calmer, happier place of stability. Whether it is divorce, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, or adoption, we have seen it all before and we can help you through it. With the legal knowledge and experience we bring to the table, we will be certain to find the best and most efficient solution to your situation.

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