Abuses Defined

You may be experiencing physical abuse if your partner has done or repeatedly does any of the following tactics of abuse:

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Forbidding you from eating or sleeping
  • Hurting you with weapons
  • Preventing you from calling the police or seeking medical attention
  • Harming your children
  • Abandoning you in unfamiliar places
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when you are in the car with them
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol (especially if you’ve had a substance abuse problem in the past)

You may be in an emotionally/verbally abusive relationship if your partner exerts control through:

  • Calling you names, insulting you or continually criticizing you
  • Refusing to trust you and acting jealous or possessive
  • Trying to isolate you from family or friends
  • Monitoring where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
  • Demanding to know where you are every minute
  • Trapping you in your home or preventing you from leaving
  • Using weapons to threaten to hurt you
  • Punishing you by withholding affection
  • Threatening to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
  • Damaging your property when they’re angry (throwing objects, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.)
  • Humiliating you in any way
  • Blaming you for the abuse
  • Gaslighting
  • Accusing you of cheating and being often jealous of your outside relationships
  • Serially cheating on you and then blaming you for his or her behavior
  • Cheating on you intentionally to hurt you and then threatening to cheat again
  • Cheating to prove that they are more desired, worthy, etc. than you are
  • Attempting to control your appearance: what you wear, how much/little makeup you wear, etc.
  • Telling you that you will never find anyone better, or that you are lucky to be with a person like them

Sexually abusive methods of retaining power and control:

  • Forcing you to dress in a sexual way
  • Insulting you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names
  • Forcing or manipulating you into to having sex or performing sexual acts
  • Holding you down during sex
  • Demanding sex when you’re sick, tired or after hurting you
  • Hurting you with weapons or objects during sex
  • Involving other people in sexual activities with you against your will
  • Ignoring your feelings regarding sex
  • Forcing you to watch pornography
  • Purposefully trying to pass on a sexually transmitted disease to you

Sexual coercion:

Sexual coercion lies on the ‘continuum’ of sexually aggressive behavior.  It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions. For example, an abusive partner:

  • Making you feel like you owe them — ex. Because you’re in a relationship, because you’ve had sex before, because they spent money on you or bought you a gift
  • Giving you drugs and alcohol to “loosen up” your inhibitions
  • Playing on the fact that you’re in a relationship, saying things such as: “Sex is the way to prove your love for me,” “If I don’t get sex from you I’ll get it somewhere else”
  • Reacting negatively with sadness, anger or resentment if you say no or don’t immediately agree to something
  • Continuing to pressure you after you say no
  • Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no
  • Trying to normalize their sexual expectations: ex. “I need it, I’m a man”

Even if your partner isn’t forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, being made to feel obligated is coercion in itself. Dating someone, being in a relationship, or being married never means that you owe your partner intimacy of any kind.

Reproductive coercion is a form of power and control where one partner strips the other of the ability to control their own reproductive system. It is sometimes difficult to identify this coercion because other forms of abuse are often occurring simultaneously.

  • Refusing to use a condom or other type of birth control
  • Breaking or removing a condom during intercourse
  • Lying about their methods of birth control (ex. lying about having a vasectomy, lying about being on the pill)
  • Refusing to “pull out” if that is the agreed upon method of birth control
  • Forcing you to not use any birth control (ex. the pill, condom, shot, ring, etc.)
  • Removing birth control methods (ex. rings, IUDs, contraceptive patches)
  • Sabotaging birth control methods (ex. poking holes in condoms, tampering with pills or flushing them down the toilet)
  • Withholding finances needed to purchase birth control
  • Monitoring your menstrual cycles
  • Forcing pregnancy and not supporting your decision about when or if you want to have a child
  • Forcing you to get an abortion, or preventing you from getting one
  • Threatening you or acting violent if you don’t comply with their wishes to either end or continue a pregnancy
  • Continually keeping you pregnant (getting you pregnant again shortly after you give birth)

Reproductive coercion can also come in the form of pressure, guilt and shame from an abusive partner. Some examples are if your abusive partner is constantly talking about having children or making you feel guilty for not having or wanting children with them — especially if you already have kids with someone else.

Economic or financial abuse is when an abusive partner extends their power and control into the area of finances. This abuse can take different forms:

  • Giving an allowance and closely watching how you spend it or demanding receipts for purchases
  • Placing your paycheck in their bank account and denying you access to it
  • Preventing you from viewing or having access to bank accounts
  • Forbidding you to work or limiting the hours that you can work
  • Maxing out credit cards in your name without permission or not paying the bills on credit cards, which could ruin your credit score
  • Stealing money from you or your family and friends
  • Using funds from children’s savings accounts without your permission
  • Living in your home but refusing to work or contribute to the household
  • Making you give them your tax returns or confiscating joint tax returns
  • Refusing to give you money to pay for necessities/shared expenses like food, clothing, transportation, or medical care and medicine

Digital abuse is the use of technologies such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated online. You may be experiencing digital abuse if your partner:

  • Tells you who you can or can’t be friends with on Facebook and other sites.
  • Sends you negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets, DMs or other messages online.
  • Uses sites like Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and others to keep constant tabs on you.
  • Puts you down in their status updates.
  • Sends you unwanted, explicit pictures and demands you send some in return.
  • Pressures you to send explicit videos.
  • Steals or insists on being given your passwords.
  • Constantly texts you and makes you feel like you can’t be separated from your phone for fear that you will be punished.
  • Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
  • Tags you unkindly in pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
  • Uses any kind of technology (such spyware or GPS in a car or on a phone) to monitor you

You never deserve to be mistreated, online or off. Remember:

  • Your partner should respect your relationship boundaries.
  • It is ok to turn off your phone. You have the right to be alone and spend time with friends and family without your partner getting angry.
  • You do not have to text any pictures or statements that you are uncomfortable sending, especially nude or partially nude photos, known as “sexting.”
  • You lose control of any electronic message once your partner receives it. They may forward it, so don’t send anything you fear could be seen by others.
  • You do not have to share your passwords with anyone.
  • Know your privacy settings. Social networks such as Facebook allow the user to control how their information is shared and who has access to it. These are often customizable and are found in the privacy section of the site. Remember, registering for some applications (apps) require you to change your privacy settings.
  • Be mindful when using check-ins like Facebook Places and foursquare. Letting an abusive partner know where you are could be dangerous. Also, always ask your friends if it’s ok for you to check them in. You never know if they are trying to keep their location secret.
  • You have the right to feel comfortable and safe in your relationship, even online.
  • https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/

15 Common Forms of Verbal Abuse in Relationships

The abuser feels more powerful when he puts down his victim.

Withholding: Withholding is primarily manifested as a withholding of information and a failure to share thoughts and feelings. A person who withholds information refuses to engage with his or her partner in a healthy relationship. He or she does not share feelings or thoughts. When he or she does share anything, it is purely factual or functional information of the sort their partner could have looked up online, read on his or her Facebook wall, or figured out on their own. Examples of withholding communication that fail to engage the partner include: “The car is almost out of gas”; “The keys are on the table”; and “The show is on now.”

Countering: Countering is a tendency to be argumentative—not merely in political, philosophical, or scientific contexts but in ordinary contexts as well. The victim of the abuse may share her positive feelings about a movie she just saw, and the abuser may then attempt to convince her that her feelings are wrong. This is countering, or dismissing the victim’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences on a regular basis.

Discounting: Discounting is an attempt to deny that the victim of the abuse has any right to his or her thoughts or feelings. It may come out as criticism—but criticism of a particular kind. The abuser may tell the victim on a regular basis that he or she is too sensitive, too childish, has no sense of humor, or tends to make a big deal out of nothing. The abuser thereby denies the victim’s inner reality, indirectly telling a partner that how they feel and what they experience are wrong.

Verbal abuse disguised as jokes: The abuser may say something very upsetting to the victim of the abuse and, after seeing her reaction add, “It was just a joke!” Abuse is not OK in any form; jokes that hurt are abusive.

Blocking and diverting: Blocking and diverting is a form of withholding in which the abuser decides which topics are “good” conversation topics. An abuser practicing this form of abuse may tell the victim that she is talking out of turn or is complaining too much.

Accusing and blaming: In these forms of abuse the abuser will accuse the victim of things that are outside of his or her control. He or she might accuse a partner of preventing them from getting a promotion because the partner is overweight, or ruining his or her reputation because the partner dropped out of college.

Judging and criticizing: Judging and criticizing is similar to accusing and blaming but also involves a negative evaluation of the partner. As Evans points out, “Most ‘you’ statements are judgmental, critical, and abusive.” Some abusive judging and criticizing “you” statements are: “You are never satisfied”; “You always find something to be upset about”; and “No one likes you because you are so negative.”

Trivializing: Trivializing is a form of verbal abuse that makes most things the victim of the abuse does or wants to do seem insignificant. The abuser might undermine his or her work, style of dressing, or choice of food.

Undermining: Undermining is similar to trivializing, which consists of undermining everything the victim says or suggests, or making her question herself and her own opinions and interests.

Threatening: Threatening is a common form of verbal abuse and can be very explicit, such as, “If you don’t start doing what I say, I will leave you.” Or it can be more subtle, such as, “If you don’t follow my advice, others will find out that you are a very unreliable person.”

Name calling: Name calling can be explicit or subtle. Explicit name-calling can consist in calling the victim of the abuse a “bitch” or other hurtful words. But it can also be more subtle, such as when someone says things that are implicitly hurtful, for instance, “You are such a victim,” or “You think you are so precious, don’t you?”

Forgetting: The category of forgetting covers a range of issues ranging from forgetting a promise to forgetting a date or an appointment. Even if the abuser really forgot, it is still abuse, because he ought to have made an effort to remember.

Ordering: Any form of ordering or demanding is a form of verbal abuse. It falls under the general issue of control.

Denial: Denial is abusive when it consists of denying one’s bad behavior and failing to realize the consequences of this behavior. An abuser will always try to find a way to justify and rationalize his behavior. This is a way of denying that he has done anything wrong.

Abusive anger: Any form of yelling and screaming, particularly out of context. Even yelling “Shut up!” is abusive. No one deserves to be yelled at.

Reference

Evans, Patricia (2009). The Verbally Abusive Relationship (pp. 84-85). Adams Media. Kindle Edition

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mysteries-love/201503/15-common-forms-verbal-abuse-in-relationships

Cycle of Violence

The cycle of violence is a model developed to explain the complexity and co-existence of abuse with loving behaviors. It helps those who have never experienced domestic violence understand that breaking the cycle of violence is much more complicated than just “getting out” or leaving.

There are three phases in the cycle of violence:

(1) Tension-Building Phase,

(2) Acute or Crisis Phase, and

(3) Calm or Honeymoon Phase. Without intervention, the frequency and severity of the abuse tends to increase over time.

Over a period of time there may be changes to the cycle. The honeymoon phase may become shorter, and the tension and violence may increase. Some victims report that they never experience an apologetic or loving abuser, but simply see a decrease in tension before the start of a new cycle.

As the cycle starts, the victim starts going in and out of the relationship. It often takes many attempts to make a final decision to leave for good. Feelings of guilt, insecurity, and concern for children’s well-being play a strong role in the victim’s decision-making process.

https://www.shelterforhelpinemergency.org/get-help/cycle-violence