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Domestic violence is an issue that plagues countless people around the world. In many cases, people in abusive relationships are too afraid to seek out the help of a counselor or domestic violence lawyer for fear of their partner.

But it’s the responsibility of everyone to know the signs of an abusive relationship. If you want to protect those around you and yourself from domestic abuse, here are a few red flags you should be looking out for.

Extreme Possessiveness
If your partner or a friend’s partner is extremely possessive to the point of not allowing social interaction with certain people, then there’s an issue. Extreme jealousy is also a part of this, and both should be taken as a warning sign. A healthy relationship is one in which both partners can live independently from one another and still have a strong, trusting bond.

Excessively Negative
Excessive negativity towards a partner is a major red flag for domestic abuse. It’s not normal for people in a relationship to put one another down for every little thing. This might be one of the less obvious signs, but domestic violence lawyers see it all the time.

Gaslighting
When someone is made to question their own actions or excessively place blame on themselves, it’s called gaslighting. This is a technique used by many abusers to guilt their partners into staying in the relationship and giving up even more control. After enough time, the victim will even start blaming themselves for the abuse.

Damaging Property
It’s one thing to accidentally knock over a lamp or drop a coffee mug, but if things start getting thrown or punched, it could be a sign of emotional abuse. If property damage becomes a danger to someone in a relationship, attorneys should be contacted. Intimidating by means of weapons or threatening displays of power can also indicate domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse is certainly not something that should be taken lightly. Because abuse usually happens behind closed doors, it’s also an issue that’s far more widespread than many people realize. Someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes, but three women die every day as a result of domestic violence. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to know the signs.