Common warning signs of abusive behaviour.


  • Fear or undue anxiety to please someone.
  • An unreasonable habit of consistent, immediate, and public agreement with a specific person.
  • Frequent demands about someone's whereabouts or activities.
  • Sustained one-sided phone calls and/or text barrages.
  • Repeated complaints about someone's temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.
  • Repetitive injuries, often accompanied by excuses about clumsiness or "accidents".
  • Sudden physical absences without explanation.
  • Covering bruising with non-seasonal clothing or accessories.
  • Any restrictions on seeing friends or family.
  • Only appearing in public with one's partner.
  • Externally limited access to money, credit cards, or transportation.
  • Sudden changes in self-esteem, social confidence, or major personality characteristics.


Addressing abuse head on.


Helping Someone Else

The first step is to recognize and understand the signs of abuse. This printout of the 'Power and Control Wheel' is an excellent place to start. Sometimes we have to see a full accounting of abuse in all its different forms (many of them subtle) for us to see it for what it really is.

The second step is to come up with a thoughtful, helpful, safe plan to intervene. We cannot stress enough the importance of being cautious and sensitive. The wrong approach can cause significant harm. That said, doing nothing can lead to even worse outcomes. If you have firm reasons to suspect that someone you know is being abused, we strongly encourage you to talk to an appropriate professional. Depending on the severity of the case, that might be a police officer, a local family counsellor, or a social worker.  Odyssey House Crisis Intervention Staff are also available 24/7 should you need some advice on the best course of action.  Call (780) 532-2672 to talk to a Crisis Intervention Worker.  In cases where abuse is known to exist with absolute certainty, or where there is probable cause to be concerned for someone's life, you have a legal obligation to report it to the authorities immediately.


Helping Yourself

Healthy relationships never involve violence. If you are seeing two or more repetitive signs of abusive behaviour, it's time to seek your own protection and intervention from the abuser (in whatever order is appropriate for the severity of your circumstances). Our crisis line is open 24/7. Just call (780) 532-2672. There's always someone there and ready to take your call. Your safety matters. And so does your happiness.

In cases where abuse is minimal or rare, it can still be important to create a safety plan in the event of an eventual escalation. You can use these questions as a starting point, though we'd strongly encourage you to call us to create one with you. Even a small chance of serious violence isn't worth the risk. We're glad to arrange a meeting at a safe, neutral location.