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Signs of Danger When Leaving an Abusive Relationship

by
author image Ralph Heibutzki
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.
Signs of Danger When Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Batterers often manipulate victims into blaming themselves for domestic abuse. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About 10 million U.S. men and women experience some form of domestic abuse, which is defined as the use of emotional manipulation or physical force to control an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse. Typically, victims face the greatest risk in trying to leave an abusive relationship. To leave safely, you must learn how abusers respond, and try to reassert control.

Excessive Emotional Responses

The abuser showers a victim with money or gifts, even if he can't afford them, says the Colorado Bar Association. He also steps up efforts to woo her over emotionally. This tactic is called "honeymoon syndrome," since the abusive behavior reasserts itself if the victim decides to stay.

Promises to Change

Vague promises to start counseling are a common method to prevent victims from leaving. The abuser often minimizes his behavior as a "one-off" incident. However, less than 1 percent of batterers enter counseling voluntarily -- which is a prerequisite to ensure its effectiveness -- states the Clark County Prosecutor's Office.

Sudden Religious Conversions

Victims may see abusers suddenly claim interest in attending church services, or feign readiness to turn over a new leaf spiritually. This behavior is called "revival syndrome," because the abuser is deflecting responsibility for his actions onto God, according to Clark County's domestic violence overview.

Increased Acts of Violence

Breaking, striking and throwing objects are common methods of intimidation. The abuser may combine these acts with pushing, shoving or physically restraining his partner in an argument, suggests an overview from the website New Hope for Women. The abuser then escalates the violence if his partner doesn't waver about leaving.

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