When Your Adult Child Is in an Abusive Relationship

Know the signs — and be compassionate, offer a safe haven

College romance can have a dark side. While researching a book on campus party life, sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong found that some boyfriends of young women control them by checking their text messages and hiding their car keys. The women also reported that they’d endured taunting, yelling, shaming, stalking — even rape — before breaking up with their abusers.

“We were surprised by how many young women had relationships that were characterized by some form of violence,” says Armstrong, coauthor of Paying for the Party. “Not only physical abuse but emotional abuse, where the abuser takes away with the victim’s freedom with controlling behavior.”

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