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How can you tell if your relationship is abusive?

The reasons that so many women tolerate bad marriages for so long are myriad. They may fear economic uncertainty, think it is better for the children to have two parents in the home or lack even the basic skill sets necessary to secure employment outside of the home.

But when a marriage devolves from merely being a loveless union into a vicious cycle of domestic violence, it is time to reassess priorities. Below are some questions to ask yourself about your relationship. Do you:

-- Fear your spouse at least some of the time?

-- Avoid some topics that cause them to become angry?

-- Feel like you cannot do anything right, according to your spouse?

-- Believe you deserve mistreatment or to be hurt?

Does your spouse:

-- Scream at you or humiliate you?

-- Be overly critical of you, dismiss your accomplishments and put you down?

-- Mistreat you to the point that it embarrasses you to family and friends?

-- View you as their personal property or treat you as a sex object to fulfill their desires?

-- Tell you or others that you are crazy?

-- Assign the blame to you for their abusive actions?

-- Have violent emotional or physical outbursts?

-- Threaten to kill or hurt you, your children, pets or family members?

-- Exhibit traits of excessive jealousy or become too possessive of you?

-- Threaten suicide if you try to leave?

-- Stalk you?

-- Try to control where you go, who you interact with and what you may do?

-- Isolate you from family and friends?

-- Limit or control your access to the car, money or a phone?

-- Force sex on you?

-- Destroy your possessions?

-- Check the mileage on the car, use tracking devices or otherwise spy on you?

You don't have to live in fear, and you are not alone. A family law attorney can walk you through the steps to obtain a protective order and initiate the divorce process for you when you are ready.

Source: helpguide.org, "Domestic Violence and Abuse," accessed July 16, 2015

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