Do Domestic Violence Abusers Show Warning Signs?

A question often asked in domestic abuse situations is “Didn’t anyone see the signs?”

In this episode we tackle this issue of abuse and warning signs. Executive Director of DASAS, Rose Ludwick and Deborah Hackworth, Director of Advocacy Services recently sat down to explore warning signs we see at DASAS and how to recognize domestic violence.

First Deb and Rose define "What is domestic violence?"

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.​

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.​

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. ​

Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Signs of domestic violence isn't always broken bones and bruises. More often, abuse begins quietly and unobserved.

A few of the red flag warning signs Deborah mentioned include*:

  • Overly romantic - They may make you feel like they're the most romantic partner you've ever had. They may seem like they're too good to be true. They may say they've never loved anyone as much as they love you. They want your world to revolve around them.

  • Intense, quick involvement - This may sound like "love at first sight" or that this person just "can't live without you." They may want to "be exclusive" right away, move in together right away or even get married right away. They want you to fall completely for them and "belong" only to them. If it feels too fast, slow it down and take your time. 

  • Previous abusive relationships - The abuser may have a history of abusive relationships. They will likely blame past victims, saying it was "just that person." They may say the previous partner just pushed their buttons and made them do it.

  • Possessiveness and jealousy - If your partner wants you all to themselves, watches you to see if you're looking at or talking to other people, and constantly questioning you about your friends of the opposite sex, you may have something to watch out for.

*Each warning sign on its own may not be a red flag. Romance isn't so bad. Knowing quickly that you love someone deeply isn't inherently wrong. It's all about being aware of intent and the holistic view of the relationship.

Visit for resources or call our 24-hour hotline at 800-828-2023.

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-7233 (800-799-SAFE)

We are here to talk 24/7

© 2012 by DASAS

The mission of Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services is to lead efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault in southwest Michigan. 

We will assist domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in clarifying their options, accessing community services that support personal choice and will provide a safe place for survivors and their children.  It is our strong desire to walk alongside survivors on their journey, whatever that may look like. 

All DASAS services are free and confidential.


DASAS respects the privacy of our visitors and does not collect any personal information.  We do not attempt to track individuals in any manner and we do not link the web information to any other databases with the purpose of identifying individual website users.  We do not track IP addresses or deposit any "cookies" in an attempt to gain information about website users.  When visitin links to other sites, we encourage you to review the privacy policy and statements of each site you visit.  Any questions regarding DASAS Privacy Policy should be directed to