9 Warning Signs of Domestic Abuse

older couple


Domestic violence among middle- and upper-income families has some features similar to any type of domestic abuse, but other features are unique to this group. Below are several examples.



  • One partner dominates the other verbally, criticizing and belittling her, throwing her off balance or causing her to doubt her own worth and abilities.
  • One partner makes all plans, neither inquiring as to the other partner’s desires nor gathering input from her.
  • One partner alone sets the sexual pace, initiating all contacts and rejecting any of the other partner’s sexual approaches.
  • One partner makes most of the decisions about the future and announces them to the other partner instead of including her in planning and decision-making. This partner refuses to compromise on major decisions.
  • One partner is moody, making it difficult for the other partner to predict what the next encounter with him will be like.
  • One partner demands control over the other partner’s contacts with friends, family, and/or finances.
  • One partner publicly humiliates the other partner. This sometimes begins as “put-down” humor, but rather than apologizing, this partner urges the other partner to “Get a thicker skin!” or “Lighten up!” when she protests.
  • One partner has an uncontrolled temper or un-precipitated anger at others.
  • One partner is highly critical of the other partner.