Many people are still not clear about what abuse is. Having a good understanding of abuse is important particularly if your partner’s behaviour is starting to worry you. Definition: Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviour used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation, and intimidation.
Please read the following list of abuse types carefully.
Verbal – yelling, insulting, threatening or swearing at you
Rejection – pretending or failing to not notice your presence or value
Put downs – name calling, public embarrassment, calling you stupid or being blamed for everything
Being Afraid – purposefully causing you to feel afraid, intimidated or threatened
Isolation – limiting your freedom or movement, stopping you from contacting other people (like family or friends).
Money – controlling your money, withholding money, preventing you from working, stealing or taking your money.
Bullying – purposely or repeatedly saying of doing hurtful things
Physical Abuse – touching, pushing or causing physical contact or harm with any part of your body in an obstructive or aggressive manner.
This may not be an exhaustive list but I wanted to include the specifics of what abuse is, because the chaos of an abusive relationship can confuse and blur the behavioural lines and leave you feeling it’s your fault and that you deserve the abuse anyway. Violent and controlling behaviours can sneak into relationships so slowly you don’t realize how bad it has become. Or you may have grown up in a manipulative family environment where emotional and physical aggression was normal.
However, whether violence emerged slowly or whether violence is normal to you, it is not okay. The ongoing trauma of aggressive or psychologically and emotionally controlling relationships can affect multiple generations.
Disagreement Vs Abuse: Having relational conflicts from time to time does not mean that you are experiencing DV. It is normal that couples will have disagreements and we all need to get better at disagreeing with each other. Can you disagree with someone without getting aggressive, vindictive or defensive. Do yourself a favour and learn how to disagree respectfully without having to make personally attacking and belittling comments to your partner. However if you are having big arguments and bitter (verbal accusations and threats and threatening behaviours) conflicts regularly (every week or two) where you were either attacked or were the attacker, then that's too hard, and not really marriage but dependency.
Don’t be afraid to contact a Domestic Violence Service near you to learn more and clarification your situation and access vital support as these organisations exist to help you through this type of situation. In Australia call 1800737732