“Her husband killed her.”

My daughter and I were sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office-waiting. What a surprise to run into one of my daughter’s former teachers. The woman described why she loved our shared physician, “She helped me so much during my dark time of depression. I wouldn’t be alive it if wasn’t for her.”

She went on to explain how her daughter had died. Being a mom, sitting with my own alive and well child, I could not even begin to fathom her pain. Then she said, “My daughter was being physically and emotionally abused. Although it has never been proven, I know her husband killed her. Now he has remarried and I am not allowed to see my grandchildren.”

Oh….whoa. What could we say? Nothing. We felt the heaviness of ache- a black hole of pain.

“We are so sorry to hear that. We will pray for you.” Our response felt weak- completely insufficient. There are just no words.

That was one year ago.

Since that time I have talked with other moms, all expressing concern over their daughter’s choice of a boyfriend, girlfriend (Yes, this happens in same sex relationships and the incidents of abuse are higher than heterosexual relationships.), or husband.

And…let’s not forget, young men can be abused by a significant other as well.


Some young people, who are in-love think a “smothering and all consuming” relationship is love.

They may believe the jealousy is cute. But it isn’t– it is ugly control. 

Parents, we have got to make our kids, both girls and guys, aware of what abuse looks like. They need to know how to recognize it so they can steer clear of it. It is much easy to break away early on, then after the relationship has gone on for a period of time. In upcoming posts, I’ll discuss how parents can help prevent this type of relationship and what to do about it if one occurs.

Train your young adult to spot the 10 warning signs. Have him or her read over this list. This list isn’t all inclusive but it is a good place to begin.

10 Warning Signs to Heed When Dating

If my boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner…

1. Is excessively jealous and possessive.
2. Controls time, where I go,  and keeps me from seeing my family and friends.
3. Limits my access to money, phone, and the car. (If living together.)
4. Constantly checks up on me.
5. Has an unpredictable and bad temper.
6. Threatens to harm, hurt, or kill me (or him/herself, my pets, or people I  love).
7. Threatens to ruin or destroy my possessions.
8. Forces me to have sex.
9. Sabotages my job by constantly calling or making me miss work.
10. Steals from me.

Inform your teen or young adult that if his or her significant other displays even one of the behaviors mentioned, it is cause for alarm. GET OUT. This situation will NOT get better with time.

Hopefully by teaching your children to recognize the warning signs you will have prevented a potential problem.

P.S. to the reader: Many of our children will or have veered away from a traditional and biblical relationship. This article is not meant to condone a sexual relationship outside of marriage but to deal with the reality many of us face when our children become young adults. Emotional abuse is a frightening thing and it is evident in both traditional and alternative lifestyles. And one more thought, emotional abuse can occur in nonsexual but exclusive relationships as well. ~Lori

Love is patient and kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-5

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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