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 eighth sign of teen dating abuse is:
A history of violent behavior
Like our sixth sign, a history of discipline problems (bad boy), a history of violent behavior should be a red flag in any type of relationship. A person who uses violence in trying to solve problems is someone who should be avoided. The violence may not even be physical; it could be yelling and screaming, throwing things, punching the wall, or slamming doors. Everyone loses his/her temper once in a while, but it is the pattern of behavior that is the key. If your partner continually loses his/her temper or is known to be violent when confronted with problems or difficult situations you must be willing to step back and assess your relationship.
Did your partner have a reputation for violent behavior before you began dating? Was he/she considered a rebel or known for rebellious behavior? As exciting as it seems to be involved with someone who is a”bad boy”‘ or girl do not take their reputation for violence lightly. Someone who has been violent with others will likely be violent with you.
Watch how your partner reacts to difficult situations. Does he/she lose control if something doesn’t go his/her way (whether or not it has to do with you)? Does he/she get angry easily? Does your partner react by using violent behavior like yelling or throwing things? Remember, everyone gets upset once in a while, but if your partner gets upset at every little thing it’s a warning sign.
Notice how he/she treats other people, especially teachers, counter help, waiters/waitresses, the elderly etc. Is your partner polite when dealing with people who work in stores or restaurants? Is he/she patient even when the situation is frustrating (a slow waiter, poor service)? Can he/she discuss a problem without getting angry or raising his/her voice? The way a partner treats other people is an important clue to their character and how that person will treat you (particularly when there are problems).
Violent behavior should not be tolerated from anyone in your life. You deserve to be treated with respect and love. Take a closer look at your dating relationship by reading about how to evaluate your relationship and defining a healthy relationship.
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.
The helpline is for everyone, including concerned family and friends.