DEAR ABBY: I had my lover of 11 years arrested for domestic violence. He had me isolated from the world, and I felt lonely and fragile.
No one should ever have to be battered physically, psychologically and verbally by anyone. I pray others read this and will do the right thing - which is to press charges if necessary and leave. -STARTING COUNSELING SOON IN L.A.
DEAR STARTING: I'm glad you found the strength to do that. Counseling will help. Readers: I haven't printed the warning signs of an abuser in a while, so here they are:
1. PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressures the partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.
2. JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work; checks the mileage on your car.
3. CONTROLLING: If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere.
4. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate.
5. ISOLATION: Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are your supporters of "causing trouble.? The abuser may deprive you of something, or try to prevent you from holding a job.
6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS: It's always someone else's fault.
7. MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you."
8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life.
9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. May expect children to do things that are beyond their ability or may tease them until they cry.
10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Enjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sex.
11. VERBAL ABUSE: Criticizes or says blatantly cruel things; degrades and curses.
12. RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.
13. SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
14. PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person "made" him (or her) do it.
15. THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things like, "I'll break your neck" or "I'll kill you.?
If you feel you are at risk, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or thehotline.org.