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Warning Sign – Threatens Others

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.

The ninth sign of teen dating abuse is:

Threatens Others Regularly

This early warning sign is simply an extension of the other early warning signs we’ve featured.  If a person is willing to threaten others regularly, whether or not they actually follow through with any actions, that person is just as likely to threaten you. We can’t say it enough: a partner who threatens others will eventually threaten you!

As in our other warning signs, watch for the pattern. An occasional outburst is probably normal. Everyone gets frustrated by others and may wish that they could get back at the person.  Threats toward others (or you) need not be physical. Threatening to expose a “secret” or an embarrassing situation via social media is still a threat. If this behavior is constant in your partner, you will need to take a hard look at your relationship.

Watch how your partner reacts to others. Does he/she get angry if someone cuts them off in traffic? Sure, we all get upset by something like that. But, watch the way your partner responds – does he/she get mad, then let it go or does he/she chase after the offending driver? Does your partner seek “revenge” for perceived slights? Is he/she constantly in the face of those he/she doesn’t like?  Does he/she always seem to be involved in fights? Is he/she always planning how to get back at someone else? Is your partner always in a bad mood? Does he/she lash out at others (or you) when questioned about his/her mood or behavior?

Asking these kinds of questions about your relationship can help you determine if you are indeed in an abusive relationship. A partner who will bully another can easily turn that anger toward you. You may also be in danger if you try to step in to solve the conflict between your partner and another person. Your partner may consider your intervention as “siding” with the other person.

You may wish to review these related early warning signs articles that can help you assess your relationship : Threatens You, Violent Behavior, and “Bad” Boys. Please consider reading all of our Early Warning Signs articles if you believe that you (or someone you know) may be in an abusive relationship. Knowledge is power.

If you determine that these warning signs are part of your relationship, remember: you are not alone. You may not know how to get help. You may be afraid to leave the situation. Abusers know that they can control you emotionally because no one wants to admit that someone else has treated them so poorly. Do not be ashamed. Dating abuse is not your fault. Recognize the signs of dating abuse and get help if your relationship exhibits any of these characteristics. You don’t have to handle this alone. Sharing can save your life. For confidential help, please call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474.

loveisrespect.org, a collaboration of Break the Cycle and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, can now answer your questions and concerns via text message. Simply text “Love Is” to 77054 for confidential help. Normal texting fees apply.


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