What is abuse? Abuse is a scenario in which a person receives detrimental treatment. It may be physical viciousness, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, monetary abuse. It includes physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, child abuse, and so on.
Abuse may take place at any age, gender, and lifestyle. It happens when you do not expect as much. The abuser might be your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or someone else. It is important to know how to identify signs of abuse.
Types of Abuse
Following are several types of abuse:
1) Physical Abuse:
It can occur at any time. Your partner or your spouse might get aggressive with you. A person may get physical by hitting, punching, or kicking you out of frustration. The bruises and the wounds that result from the assaults are a sign of physical abuse. To hurt or kill you, a physically abusive person may also throw objects at you in anger. These may include vases, lamps, and heavy objects.
The situations mentioned can also show signs of physical abuse. These are: Seeing yourself injured, including those on your face regularly; If your partner has thrown things at your head while arguing with them.
Physical abuse hurts the victim physically, emotionally, and mentally due to fear of assault. They have to always protect yourself from your partner.
2) Emotional / Psychological / Verbal Abuse:
Emotional/psychological/verbal abuse is a situation in which words, actions, or behaviors hurt one person. You may be emotionally abused if your partner punishes you for their mistakes and blames you for them. They may threaten to harm you or the children or threaten to leave you without support.
Your partner may emotionally abuse you using profanity. They might even destroy your property. Your spouse may psychologically manipulate you through constant criticism. He/she may also blame you which leads to low self-esteem or confidence on your part. Making false accusations and saying harsh things about you can also result in psychological abuse.
Understand the difference between a frustrated spouse and one that is abusive. A frustrated spouse may argue with you, but they will not necessarily hurt your feelings. On the other hand, an abusive partner may make you feel that it’s all your fault.
Sometimes, if the abuse is severe, an abuser can even demean and humiliate you in front of others. They want to punish or embarrass you.
3) Financial Abuse:
It occurs when your spouse spends money in an abusive manner. They might buy unnecessary things without thinking of the family’s welfare. They may also use all the money for pleasures while leaving them with nothing.
Financial abuse is also a situation where one person may control another’s access to financial resources by hurting, killing, or threatening the other person so that they become slaves to them.
There are many signs of financial abuse. A partner monitors what you spend and how much you have withdrawn from your account. Your partner may prevent you from having a bank account or making financial decisions on your own.
If they take away your paycheck before giving it to you, these are signs that something is wrong with this relationship. If your partner sells your valuables, gets a credit card in your name, or controls the cash flow, there are signs that financial abuse is taking place.
4) Sexual Abuse:
It happens when your partner forces you to have intercourse or do any activity against your will. You may be abused sexually if your spouse has forced you into sex with another person. Especially when he/she wants you to perform some sexual act that hurts you. Also if he/ she humiliates you about sexuality or uses the same for violence.
This also includes cases where the abuser threatens the victim not to divulge anything about their relationship. It is because they are in high offices or might hurt the victim’s family should he /she report their actions. When a married couple shares an account on social media but forbids access by others is also a sign of sexual abuse.
You may decide not to have sex with your spouse on certain days. However, he/she may use an excuse such as you have been working hard and should be granted sex. If someone forces you into having oral or anal sexual intercourse against your will, this is a sign of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse may result in rape, rejection, or neglect when you resist a sex act that makes you uncomfortable. A person who forces you to have unwanted sexual intercourse with him/her is abusive.
Difference Between Abuse and Violence
The difference between abuse and violence is that abuse is a pattern of behavior, while violence is a single act. The things I mention here are not necessarily abusive in every case. But, they make up an overall control system meant to keep you in fear of your partner.
This is one primary form of emotional/psychological abuse often found with physical and sexual abuse. In everyday conversation, gas-lighting means “making someone doubt their sanity.” It’s where someone tells you something happened which didn’t occur or denies saying or doing something they did do (or vice versa.)
Gaslighting can be subtle, for example, telling you “no” when you ask to go somewhere or do something with them on the weekend. They try to deny all their controlling behavior and even blame you for it. It’s usually an ongoing pattern with abusive relationships that get worse over time.
Corruption of Character:
This is where abusers will harm the victim’s friends and relatives to keep them isolated from outside help. They may accuse family members/friends of breaking up the relationship or endangering the children if they are married.
The victim feels trapped between wanting to please their partner. It is because they love them and fearing retaliation by harming someone else he cares about. Over time, victims lose contact with almost everyone except their abusive partner(s). Abusers like this want complete control of your life, so there’s nobody left who can tell them “no.”
The Silent Treatment:
This is another powerful tool of the abuser to keep you fearful, isolated and controlled. The silent treatment can last hours, days, or even weeks. They may have a method of demanding you for not doing what they want or saying what they need to hear. They might also use it as a bargaining chip when trying to get something out of you (like sex.)
On its own, silence can be so intimidating that many people will say/do anything to break. Thus become more vulnerable to manipulation by the manipulator/abuser. While we all feel overwhelmed at times and say things in anger that we later regret, abusive partners use this situation deliberately as a means of control.
This can be abusive in itself and also a method to gain further control over you. If there are young kids engaged, this is every so often where the victim’s sense of guilt kicks in as well.
Abusers might use threats against the children or even tell them things that aren’t true about their partner (bad-mouthing). They manipulate the other parent into doing what they want or saying what they need to hear.
The abuser may also take away time/visitation with your child(ren) without any real reason as punishment and add extra difficulties for those trying to see their kids by claiming not enough money for food, clothing or daycare expenses, etc.
A number of sufferers are left feeling they have not a single person on their side, no friends or loved ones to assist them, and nowhere else to go for help.
Threats of Suicide:
This is a very common form of emotional/psychological abuse. In this abuse, an abuser will threaten suicide to keep you from leaving the relationship or doing something they don’t want. They give you a choice between their life or yours, making it extremely difficult to leave in fear that your partner can’t live without you.
Suppose there’s any history of mental illness within the family (including alcoholism). This becomes even more frightening because you’re not sure what they might do if pushed over the edge by your decision.
Most people who have attempted suicide didn’t intend to die. Many were trying to get someone’s care, so they get the emotional/psychological help they needed. Most often, their cry for help went unanswered (and sometimes even unheard.)
Threats of Physical Harm:
This is where an abuser will threaten to do things like “destroy” your car, punch holes in the wall or hurt you physically if you don’t obey them. They may use a weapon to intimidate and control, like knives, box-cutters, etc. They may also break things belonging to you as punishment, such as property, appliances, or pets (if any).
Some victims report having choked or had guns put against their heads during arguments. Many eventually experience severe anxiety attacks due to fear about past threats which never go away.
When someone uses force or violence to get what they want, it comes in the category of domestic violence/abuse.
Many victims aren’t even aware their partner is sexually abusive because everything seems “normal” in the relationship at first.
Some abusers start as great boyfriends or loving husbands who slowly begin acting out sexually over time (without any explanation for why) and eventually show signs of sexual addiction or deviancy.
However, some victims are slow to realize there’s a problem until they’re forced into an uncomfortable situation where their health is at stake.
They do not know how to respond or resist. This lack of resistance can be explained by the fact that victims often have shame about sex which was instilled during childhood (especially among males.)
Effects of Abuse
Severe emotional abuse may be as harmful as physical violence and lead to despair and poor self-esteem. The research also suggests that emotional maltreatment may lead to chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia and chronic tiredness syndrome.
Severe maltreatment is an issue that has been gaining more and more attention in the last decades. Some researchers would even say it should be considered a separate form of abuse since it can be as harmful as physical violence. However, others would argue that there are essential differences between emotional abuse and physical violence that make them two completely different categories.
As per the American Psychology Association (APA) definition, “Psychological or emotional maltreatment refers to a range of behaviors by a caregiver or other person in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes significant damage to the child’s psychological development.”
The abuser may not intend or even recognize his/her behavior as hurtful; instead, it appears reasonable to them due to being accustomed to such behavior so much over time that it has become part of their personalities. They are not able to communicate smoothly. Such abusers can be people residing with the victim, close relatives, and even friends.
The victims of such abuse often undergo severe mental stress, which may have long-lasting effects in the future. Emotional child abuse is not a recent topic as it was mentioned in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, “It is a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Abuse May Result in Death
It is important to note that psychological or emotional abuse does not only lead to mental damage; it also causes physical problems and may result in death. This kind of abuse may affect the body by causing chronic pain, migraines, digestive issues, sleep loss, fatigue, etc.
In children as well as adults, abuse leads to increased anxiety and depression. It affects their behavior and even causes personality disorders resulting in antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), etc.
According to some studies, severe psychological abuse in childhood may cause serious problems throughout life, including chronic depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorder. Both adults and children who were psychologically abused have higher psychiatric symptoms such as mood disorders, sleep disturbances, or eating disorders than those who weren’t emotionally abused. This was particularly evident in victims under 18 years old.
Another study indicates that 90% of patients with early childhood trauma, including severe psychological abuse, were more likely to develop PTSD as adults.
Solutions For Abuse
What should we do to stop abuse?
When they see abuse, people usually post a status on Facebook or tweet about it, but this doesn’t stop the abuser from doing it.
The only way we can fight domestic violence is by educating people.
If you’re in an abusive relationship and your friend tries to help you get out of it, there are steps they should take:
– first, ask ‘why are you staying with him?’ if she answers “because I love him,” then tell her that real love won’t hurt her. Remind her that she’s not alone and has friends who care about her well-being, so why does she want to stay with someone who could harm her?
Tell them the side effects of being abused: depression, loneliness, an eating disorder, and that they’re being taken advantage of.
Tell your friend that she should know who the abuser is and the victim. And if you love her, stop her from staying with him because, in the end, he will only break her heart if she doesn’t leave now.
We should also try to stop abuse by watching their actions cause in this way; we’ll find out who the abuser is. If a man always grabs his girlfriend’s arms or pulls her hair, then there might be a point where he pushes her down on the floor and starts kicking her! So it’s better for us to analyze before doing something like reporting them to police.”
If we can do our best in the fight against domestic violence, we can all make this world a better place.
How to know whether your relationship is abusive or not?
Can you answer YES to some of these points? Then there’s a possibility that your relationship may become abusive.
– The other partner always blames you for everything wrong that happens to them
– The abuser will say things like, “I’ve told you a thousand times not to do this.”
Their perspective is always proper, and yours is always wrong.
– your partner has hit/slapped/pushed you before but then apologized immediately after, so it’s okay now?
If what they’re doing can result from pure carelessness and there was no reason behind it (like accidentally bumping into each other), then hitting or slapping won’t correct the situation.
Once violence occurs, more violence can happen later on to ‘correct’ the mistake. So if a slap isn’t enough, he might even end up killing his girlfriend to erase the pain he caused. So if someone ever beats or hits you, don’t be afraid to report them to the police because there’s a strong possibility that they’ll do it again or even worse.
Resource Guide for Domestic Violence – Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/domestic-violence-resource-guide
Guide to domestic abuse for friends and family … – Safelives https://safelives.org.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Domestic-Abuse-Friends-and-Family-Help-Guide-updated.pdf
Domestic Violence and Abuse – HelpGuide.org https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm
Child Maltreatment: A “What to Do” Guide for Professionals … https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/prevention-resource-centre/children/child-maltreatment-what-guide-professionals-who-work-children.html
Recognising and responding to domestic violence and abuse … https://www.nice.org.uk/about/nice-communities/social-care/quick-guides/recognising-and-responding-to-domestic-violence-and-abuse