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Warning Signs – Control

DASH’s early warning signs are meant to guide you in determining whether your relationship is healthy. In this series of articles, we will explore each warning sign in more depth so that you will have a better idea about what each sign means and if you need to address a problem in your relationship.

Our first early warning sign of abuse is:

Control – He/she tells you what to do or how to act

Teen dating abuse is about control. It’s about your partner trying to control what you do, how you act, what you say. His/her control over you limits your personal freedom. There’s a fine line between expressing an opinion and requiring a person to act or do certain things. Telling the difference between an opinion and abusive behavior might seem easy, but sometimes it can be more difficult to interpret.
Abusive behavior follows a pattern; it happens frequently and is meant to make you question your own thoughts and feelings. It is meant to lower your self esteem. You may feel that you have to do things his/her way in order to keep the peace. He/she may challenge your ideas or actions telling you that the way you do things is “wrong”. Debating which is the better song or team or idea is something every one does, but if your partner insists that you think like he/she does your personal opinions are being limited . By questioning your ideas and thoughts, the abuser makes you vulnerable to his/her influence. After all, you just want to make him/her happy. You just want to show that you love them. When he/she confronts you, you feel that you can diffuse the situation by agreeing to do what he/she wants. This warning sign is a signal that what your partner is doing is not love: it’s control.

Warning Signs – Isolation

DASH’s early warning signs are meant to guide you in determining whether your relationship is healthy. In this series of articles, we will explore each warning sign in more depth so that you will have a better idea about what each sign means and if you need to address a problem in your relationship.

Our third early warning sign of abuse is:

Isolation – Keeps you from spending quality time with friends and family

Sure, it’s romantic and fun to spend lots of time together. You just want to be with each other and wrap yourselves up in each other. You don’t want to pay attention to anything or anyone else. It feels nice to have someone pay attention to you exclusively. This behavior can become abusive when one partner won’t let the other partner do anything with anyone else. If you want to hang out with your friends at the mall, or go on vacation with your parents, the abusive partner becomes jealous. He/she may complain that you aren’t spending enough time together even if you think you are. The abuser may convince you to quit your job, favorite activities or hobbies so you can spend more time together. After all isn’t that what being in love is all about?

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

Join DASH, The White House, state legislatures and national domestic violence prevention websites in spreading the word on how to recognize and prevent teen dating violence.

Read the President Obama’s proclamation from the White House. 

Boston Magazine highlights teen dating abuse

Fatal Attraction by Eileen McNamara.

SHE DYED HER HAIR the color he liked. She shut out her friends after he ordered her to stop talking to them. She had sex before she was ready because he told her it was the only way to prove her love.

It wasn’t enough.