117 questions to help you know if your partner is abusive and assess your risk
Recognize Abusive Behavior
Recognizing abusive behavior can be difficult, especially if healthy relationships weren’t modeled in your childhood home. You may believe that love hurts—it doesn’t in healthy relationships.
Take this domestic violence quiz to learn whether you are being abused and then read about what you can do about it.
Domestic violence and abuse manifest in many ways. In some cases, abuse becomes progressively worse. In other cases, it is just habitual, but it tears the victim down over time and greatly reduces their quality of life. Abuse can be life-threatening. Growing up in an abusive home and witnessing abuse can lead to life-long damage to your children’s health.
Abuse comes in many forms. The following questions represent different types of abuse from mild to dangerous. For each question, indicate whether the behavior is present in your current relationship.
|Disrespectful of your intelligence, appearance, or activities|
|1||Does your partner put you down in front of other people?||Yes||No|
|2||Does your partner put you down in front of your children?||Yes||No|
|3||Does your partner put you down when you are alone with him or her?||Yes||No|
|4||Does your partner demean your accomplishments or goals?||Yes||No|
|5||Does your partner tell you that you are not good enough?||Yes||No|
|6||Does your partner tell you that you’re lucky to have him or her in your life because no one else would want you?||Yes||No|
|7||Does your partner criticize your appearance, including your weight?||Yes||No|
|8||Does your partner tell you that parts of your body are “too big” or “too small”?||Yes||No|
|9||Does your partner verbally attack you because you have not been able to conceive or father a child?||Yes||No|
|10||Does your partner insult you by calling you derogatory names?||Yes||No|
|Is your partner controlling?|
|11||Does your partner want you to provide an accounting for all your time when you are not together?||Yes||No|
|12||Does your partner insist you share the details of your private conversations with friends?||Yes||No|
|13||Does your partner want to know where you are every second of the day?|
|14||Does your partner get upset if you get home late from work late?|
Say no if your partner is upset only because of worry for your safety.
|15||Does your partner attempt to limit who you talk to at work or school?||Yes||No|
|16||Does your partner attempt to limit who you talk to outside of work?||Yes||No|
|17||Does your partner insist that you follow rigid gender roles that you do not want to follow?||Yes||No|
|18||Does your partner attempt to keep you away from friends or family?||Yes||No|
|19||Does your partner insist he or she has a right to your social media and email account passwords?||Yes||No|
|20||Does your partner insist that you respond right away to texts, emails, or phone calls?||Yes||No|
|21||Does your partner become upset or berate you if you do not respond right away when he or she attempts to communicate electronically?||Yes||No|
|22||Does your partner prevent, discourage, or make it difficult for you to go to work or school?||Yes||No|
|23||Does your partner attempt to limit your interactions with people of the gender you find sexually attractive?||Yes||No|
|24||Does your partner demand that you wear your hair or make-up a certain way?||Yes||No|
|25||Does your partner dictate the types of clothes you can wear?||Yes||No|
|26||Does your partner portray your life together as “the two of you against the world”?||Yes||No|
|Jealous, Controlling, or Angry Behavior|
|27||Does your partner accuse you of cheating even though you are faithful?||Yes||No|
|28||Does your partner act very jealous?||Yes||No|
|29||Does your partner have a quick temper?||Yes||No|
|30||Do you try to be careful about how you say things because your partner’s temper explodes if he or she takes your words the wrong way?||Yes||No|
|31||Is it difficult to avoid saying something that causes your partner’s temper to cause a problem?||Yes||No|
|32||Does your partner control the money in your relationship?||Yes||No|
|33||Do you have to ask permission to buy basic necessities even though there is plenty of money?||Yes||No|
|34||Has your partner demanded that you do not make more money than he or she makes?||Yes||No|
|35||Does your partner make you do things you do not want to do for money?||Yes||No|
|36||Does your partner make you turn over your paycheck to him or her?||Yes||No|
|37||Has your partner threatened you about gaining weight or having a baby?|
Examples: If you get pregnant, I will leave you.
If you get fat, I will leave you.
|38||Does your partner control whether you take medicine or birth control?||Yes||No|
|39||Does your partner’s anger frighten you?||Yes||No|
|40||Does your partner interfere with your ability to see a doctor or dentist when you feel you should, or for regular checkups?||Yes||No|
|41||Will your partner become angry if you spend $100 without getting your partner’s permission first?||Yes||No|
|42||Does your partner try to control what you eat?|
Say no if your partner is only encouraging you to follow your doctor’s advice.
|43||Does your partner decide what you can and cannot wear?||Yes||No|
|44||Can you buy your own clothes and choose what you want to buy because you like it and not because it is what your partner expects?||Yes||No|
|45||Does your partner threaten to harm him or herself when you get in an argument or when you discuss leaving the relationship?||Yes||No|
|46||Does your partner threaten to call the police and lie to them if you don’t do what your partner wants you to do?||Yes||No|
|47||Does your partner threaten your reputation if you don’t go along with what your partner wants you to do?||Yes||No|
|48||Does your partner insist you join him or her in illegal activities that you do not want to be part of?||Yes||No|
|49||Withhold money or affection (including sex) if you don’t comply with his or her controlling demands?||Yes||No|
|50||Do you feel pressured to give up things you enjoyed before you had this relationship?||Yes||No|
|51||Does your life feel smaller in this relationship than it did before you were in the relationship?||Yes||No|
|52||Has your partner threatened to abduct your children if you do not comply with your partner’s demands?||Yes||No|
|53||Has your partner stopped you from calling 911 for help or threatened you with retaliation if you called 911?||Yes||No|
|54||Does your partner show up unexpectedly to check up on you? (i.e. dropping by work when you are on your lunch break without notice?)||Yes||No|
|55||Does your partner do things to “teach you a lesson”?||Yes||No|
|56||Does your partner try to make you responsible for how they act?||Yes||No|
|57||Has your partner restrained you against your will, physically or with threats?||Yes||No|
|58||Does your partner attempt to control who you remain in contact with from your past?||Yes||No|
|59||Does your partner act as if he or she owns you?||Yes||No|
|60||Does your partner treat you like a child instead of like an equal partner?||Yes||No|
|Physically hurting or threatening to hurt you or loved ones and violent acts|
|61||Does your partner threaten to hurt you?||Yes||No|
|62||Does your partner threaten to hurt your children?||Yes||No|
|63||Does your partner threaten to harm your pets?||Yes||No|
|64||Does your partner threaten to harm your co-workers, friends, or extended family members?||Yes||No|
|65||Does your partner hurt you physically including hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting you?||Yes||No|
|66||Does your partner use or threaten to use a weapon to harm you or your loved ones, including pets?||Yes||No|
|67||Has your loved one harmed a pet?||Yes||No|
|68||Does your partner have a gun or can your partner get one easily?||Yes||No|
|69||Does your partner ever say, “If I can’t have you, then no one can”?||Yes||No|
|70||Does your partner ever say they couldn’t live without you?||Yes||No|
|71||Has your partner ever choked you?||Yes||No|
|72||Has your partner threatened to destroy things you care about?||Yes||No|
|73||Has your partner destroyed things that belong to you?||Yes||No|
|74||Has your partner put a fist through a door or wall?||Yes||No|
|75||Has your partner ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a weapon?||Yes||No|
|76||Has he/she ever threatened to kill you or your children?||Yes||No|
|77||Has your partner ever talked about getting revenge against someone and using lethal force (killing them) as something he or she wants to do?||Yes||No|
Forcing you to have sex or other intimate activities
|78||Has your partner forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to with physical force or by threatening you if you do not have sex?||Yes||No|
|79||Has your partner assumed that because you did something in the past, they can expect or demand you do it again even if you do not want to?||Yes||No|
|80||Does your partner become angry if you refuse sex after being willing to kiss and cuddle?||Yes||No|
|81||Has your partner forced you to have sex with other people by threatening you or your loved ones?||Yes||No|
|82||Has your partner demanded that you or a female child undergo female genital cutting or mutilation?||Yes||No|
|How does the relationship make you feel?|
|83||Do you feel relieved when you are going to be away from your partner for a while?||Yes||No|
|84||Do you feel relieved when someone who positively buffers your relationship visits?||Yes||No|
|85||Do you dread going home after school or work?||Yes||No|
|86||Do you have more good times than bad times when you are with your partner?||Yes||No|
|87||Are you afraid of your partner?||Yes||No|
|88||Do you feel you can be yourself when you are with your partner or do you have to pretend to be who your partner wants you to be?||Yes||No|
|89||Can you safely be honest with your partner about how you feel and what you want?||Yes||No|
|90||Do you feel foolish to find yourself in an uncomfortable relationship?||Yes||No|
|91||Has your partner’s behavior changed significantly from the way it was in the beginning of the relationship?||Yes||No|
|92||Are you embarrassed about being tricked into a relationship that isn’t good for you?||Yes||No|
|93||Does your partner blame you for negative changes in their personality or behavior?||Yes||No|
|94||Do you feel unwanted?||Yes||No|
|95||Do you feel powerless or hopeless?||Yes||No|
|96||Does your partner use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for his or her behavior?||Yes||No|
|97||Do you feel you have to apologize or make excuses to other people about your partner’s rude behavior?||Yes||No|
|98||Are you continually afraid of upsetting your partner?||Yes||No|
|99||Do you feel ashamed of your situation?||Yes||No|
|100||Do you feel guilty about not seeing the warning signs of an abuser before it was too late?||Yes||No|
|101||Do you feel used?||Yes||No|
|102||Do you feel your partner manipulates you or attempts to manipulate you?||Yes||No|
|103||Do you feel free to be yourself?||Yes||No|
|104||Has your partner’s treatment of you made you feel less competent to make decisions or in areas of your life where you used to feel confident?||Yes||No|
|105||Have you changed your behavior because you are afraid of upsetting your partner?||Yes||No|
|106||Have you become more aggressive toward your partner’s demands?||Yes||No|
|107||Do you think your partner might try to kill you?||Yes||No|
|108||Have you become passive or submissive to your partner?||Yes||No|
|109||Do you stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner might do if you end the relationship?||Yes||No|
|110||Has your partner made you believe that their behavior will be good when you change the things about yourself that your partner wants you to change?||Yes||No|
|111||Has your partner abandoned you without a way home after you had a fight?||Yes||No|
|112||Has your partner abandoned you in an environment where a reasonable person would be concerned about your ability to get home safely?||Yes||No|
|113||Does your partner deny that something you remember ever happened?||Yes||No|
|114||Does your partner tell you that you aren’t good at remembering?||Yes||No|
|115||Did your partner grow up in an abusive home?||Yes||No|
|116||Does your partner tell you that you’re crazy?||Yes||No|
|117||Is your partner’s recall of events different from your own in significant ways?||Yes||No|
Scoring the Quiz
Healthy human relationships vary greatly. There isn’t one type of relationship that is right for everyone. However, your relationship should feel good to you and if it doesn’t, something is wrong. This quiz is designed to help you determine if the problem is that you are in an abusive relationship.
Abusive relationships vary. An abusive relationship may be something that can be fixed with better communication or couples counseling. It may be so bad that your life is in danger and the best thing you can do is get help and get out, even if all you take are the clothes on your back and your children.
Let’s look at relationships where the risk of serious harm is high.
Did you answer YES to ANY of the following questions?
|66||Does your partner use, or threaten to use a weapon to harm you or your loved ones, including pets?|
|71||Has your partner ever choked you?|
|76||Has he/she ever threatened to kill you or your children?|
|107||Do you think your partner might try to kill you?|
If you answered YES to ANY of the above questions, you should immediately contact the domestic violence hotline and speak with a trained counselor. A yes to any of the above questions means you are in a high risk category. It does not mean you will be harmed. It means your risk is much higher than if all four questions were answered no.
The following seven questions and the Supplemental questions below are a second way to assess whether you are in a high risk situation. Answer the supplemental questions. Then count how many questions you answered yes to in the following section and in the Supplemental question section. If either section has four yes responses, or the combination of the two sections has five or more yes responses, it indicates you are in a high risk situation.
|Did you answer Yes to FOUR of the following questions?|
|13||Does your partner want to know where you are every second of the day?|
|19||Does your partner insist he or she has a right to your social media and email account passwords?|
|21||Does your partner become upset or berate you if you do not respond right away when he or she attempts to communicate electronically?|
|22||Does your partner prevent, discourage, or make it difficult for you to go to work or school?|
|28||Does your partner act very jealous?|
|33||Do you have to ask permission to buy basic necessities even though there is plenty of money?|
|68||Does your partner have a gun or can your partner get one easily?|
Would you answer Yes to FOUR of the following questions?
A combination of FIVE of these (13, 19, 21, 22, 28, 33, or 68) and the questions below?
|i||Have you left your partner or separated after living together or being married?||Yes||No|
|ii||Is your partner unemployed?||Yes||No|
|iii||Has your partner ever tried to kill himself or herself?||Yes||No|
|iv||Do you have a child or children with your partner?||Yes||No|
|v||Do you have a child that your partner knows is not his or her child?||Yes||No|
|vi||Has your partner been physical toward the child(ren) in a way that concerns you?||Yes||No|
|vii||Does your partner have an alcohol or substance abuse problem?||Yes||No|
|viii||Is there anything else that worries you about your safety?||Yes||No|
If you are in a high risk situation you should contact the domestic violence hotline as soon as it is safe and talk to a trained counselor. Being in a high risk category does not mean you will be harmed. It means your risk is much higher than if fewer questions were answered yes.
The call to a domestic violence hotline is free. If your cell phone is being monitored or you suspect it is being monitored, use a different phone or use a landline.
Assign the following number to each yes answer in the 117 question quiz as follows:
|Question #||Score||Question #||Score||Question #||Score||Question #||Score|
The questions are to help you identify areas of your relationship that may be abusive. They are helpful in identifying whether your relationship has mild problems that couples counseling could effectively resolve if you were both willing to seek help with open hearts and minds. They are also helpful in identifying when the relationship has serious issues that may indicate separation or divorce is the safest course of action.
The highest (worst) score possible is 410. Regardless of your score, trust your instincts/gut and if you feel you are in danger, make a plan to escape safely as soon as you can. Domestic violence can lead to life threatening danger.
|Number of Yes Answers||Level|
Do not count questions 44, 86, 89, and 103 as they are reverse scored.
Possible: 0 – 2
|1||Statistically, your marriage could be non-abusive with a little bit of work.|
Possible: 0 – 26
|2||If you have yes answers to level 1 and 2 questions, and no yes’s to level 3 – 5 questions, there are abuses in the relationship. Your danger level should be low. If not corrected and you remain in the relationship, you and your children are likely to experience detrimental impacts. The higher the score, the more likely you are to experience negative effects. Explore your options.|
Possible: 0 – 23
|3||If you have yes answers to level 3, there are significant warning signs that indicate you should take action to protect yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. If you enter a stressful period, even if it is because of something unrelated to your marriage, your situation could quickly become worse. At a minimum, seek counseling and/or talk to the hotline.|
Possible: 0 – 23
|4||If there are any level 4 yes answers, your partner is attempting to isolate and control you which is often a sign that increasingly severe abuse may occur. You should contact the hotline for assistance and consider a separation until your partner receives counseling and makes an honest effort to be a supportive partner for at least six months—preferably longer.|
|Possible: 0 – 40 Count:||5||1 or more – Contact the hotline as soon as you safely can.|
Whether or not your partner agrees to couples counseling, you may want to consider individual counseling. Being abused can contribute to anxiety or depression and lower important protective psychological traits such as self-esteem. Mental health professionals can help you feel better faster. Self-compassion is also important as it is associated with faster recoveries.
If you are in doubt about what you want to do and the decisions you want to make about how you want to live your life, ask yourself if each of the types of behavior you are experiencing is how you want to live your life. Focus on your own well-being and that of your children.
Children who witness domestic violence experience numerous problems that can last throughout their lives and lead to a repeat of the cycle of abuse. If your children witnessed you being abused, it is very important that you nurture them and seek counseling for them to give them a chance at the best possible future.
Abusive relationships are not healthy and they involve risk to your life and mental and physical health. Most abusers (30 – 60% depending on which study you read) also abuse children in the home.
There are other factors that have a bearing on whether an abuser will escalate the abuse.