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Someone you know could be suffering from domestic violence

Someone you know could be suffering from domestic violence
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Domestic violence is far more common than most of us realize—about 30 per cent of women have experienced domestic abuse, on average, according to the World Health Organization. Men can also be victims: About one in nine men are abused. For nearly all relationships in which domestic violence occurs, the abuse can remain hidden until later in the relationship. “It is not uncommon for a victim to confide that he or she ‘woke up one day’ to realize—with deep embarrassment and shame—that he or she was in the midst of an abusive relationship,” explains Dr Carla Manly, a clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear. The warning signs of domestic violence, however, can appear early on in a relationship—sometimes even from the start.

Your partner forces you into decisions without regard for your feelings

Your partner forces you into decisions without regard for your feelings
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This type of behaviour, be it forcing you to move in together prematurely or get married before you’re ready, can signal the potential for an abusive relationship, according to psychologist Kendra Kubala. “The abusive partner may cause the other partner to feel guilty or ungrateful for asking questions or asking to slow the pace of the relationship,” she says.

Here’s how to improve communication in your relationship.

Your partner’s alarmingly controlling

Your partner’s alarmingly controlling
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Controlling or overprotective behaviour from one partner is a reliable indicator that a relationship could turn abusive. If your partner asks you where you go, starts timing your absence from the house, or inquiries about your whereabouts during the day, he or she may some issues with control and may be insecure, warns Rudi Rahbar, a clinical psychologist who specializes in couples and families.

Your partner’s previous relationships were always a “problem”

Your partner’s previous relationships were always a “problem”
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If the person you’re in a relationship with characterizes all their past partners as unfeeling, unreasonable, selfish, crazy, addicted, or just mean—and it was always the other person’s fault for the breakup—watch out. If your date takes no responsibility, says Dr Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners, warns that you could be the next one on that list. “Every relationship disaster takes two,” she says. “A healthy person does make mistakes, and people in relationships can grow apart, but your date should know what he or she could have done better.”

These common behaviours can sabotage a relationship.

Your partner doesn’t have a social life

Your partner doesn’t have a social life
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If your partner doesn’t seem to have any friends or family members with whom he or she socializes regularly, be wary. A particularly bad sign can be that your partner blames the lack of a social life on their devotion to you. “It may mean your date has problems relating to people, and you’ll soon feel pressure to fill up your date’s life,” Dr Tessina explains.

You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells

You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells
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You should feel happy and at ease with your significant other—not always worried that he or she will be upset or disappointed with you. “If you feel the latter, you are likely to be in a relationship with someone who is insecure, has anger management issues and is controlling,” says Dr Rahbar. “An abuser often creates such a hostile, unpredictable environment that the abused person feels extremely unsafe and on edge.”

Here are 10 small gestures that can improve a relationship.

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Your partner explodes in anger often

Your partner explodes in anger often
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“An explosive, impulsive, and intimidating interactional style may warn of domestic violence tendencies, explains Dr Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist. “When expression of anger and aggression are in response to intolerance to differing opinions, thoughts, beliefs, or points of view, this is a warning sign of possible domestic violence tendencies.”

You’re always wrong in every situation

You’re always wrong in every situation
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Relationships are all about compromise. When disagreeing, sometimes you will be right and other times your partner will be right. But if your partner tries to convince you that you are wrong all of the time, it’s often in an attempt to gain power and control over you and cause you to doubt yourself. “A lack of personal responsibility is a key factor in domestic violence,” says Dr Manly. “A lack of insight and personal awareness is often an underlying issue, yet sometimes the abuser is acutely aware of the tactics being used.”

Read these secrets of a happy marriage from real couples.

Your partner is extremely jealous

Your partner is extremely jealous
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While jealousy is a normal emotion, it becomes unhealthy when it is extreme. “When a partner tries to control you and lashes out you due to jealousy this can lead to an escalation in the future,” warns Rachel Needle, a psychologist and sex therapist. “If a partner becomes possessive and gets upset when you talk to or spend time with other people, makes accusations of you lying or cheating or getting too close to someone, let this be a red flag to you.”

The sex is forceful and always rough

The sex is forceful and always rough
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While occasional rough sex isn’t an issue so long as both partners are consenting, sex that is often aggressive and leaves you bruised is a warning sign of an abusive relationship, stresses Dr Rahbar. “If you are engaging in sex against your wishes, then you are definitely in a cycle of domestic violence—and yes this can happen in a marriage,” she adds.

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