Love Doesn't Hurt

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone at any time. Abuse is physical, financial or emotional hurt and harm within what is supposed to be a loving relationship.

Domestic violence and abuse happens between married couples (also called spousal abuse), parents and children, and domestic partners. The problem is often denied or excused. You should not live in fear of someone you love. Admitting that there is fear is the first step to ending domestic violence and abuse.

Signs of Domestic Violence and Abuse

There are many signs of domestic violence and abuse. The most important sign is the feeling of fear. If you are “on your guard” around your partner/spouse, being careful of what you say, how you say it, what you do, in order to avoid a “blow up,” then you may be in an abusive relationship. Signs of abuse include:

  • Criticizing, threats or blaming you often
  • Throwing things at you or breaking things in anger
  • Hitting, kicking, slapping or shoving you
  • Trying to control what you do
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Jealousy or short tempered

What to Do if You Live in Fear

If you live in fear, you are not alone. You can get free help, shelter, and legal advice. Without outside help, abuse tends to get worse. You will receive help in making a safety plan for you and your children. There is also help for the abuser. Relationships don't have to hurt!

Other Resources & Links

This handout lists local programs that can help:
Are you in a Hurting Relationship? - English  Spanish  Chinese  Vietnamese

National Health Information Center (Health Finder) click on “D,” then select “Domestic Violence.”


The abuser lashes out by threats, hitting, belittling comments. The desire is to be in power and control.


The abuser feels guilty for what was said or done and may feel afraid of being caught.


The abuser provides a string of reasons for the abuse.

Normal Behavior

The abuser acts as if nothing has happened. This is sometimes referred as the honeymoon stage.


The abuser begins thinking about abusing again.


The abuser finds a reason to abuse again.