Understanding The Different Types of Abuse –
In Intimate Relationships
Abuse in intimate relationships often remains hidden, not just from the external world, but sometimes from the victims themselves. Abuse is often hiding in plain sight, leaving the victim suffering because she/he doesn’t recognize the behavior as abusive. There are many reasons a victim may not recognize the behavior as abusive. One common reason is the abuse is so covert, she/he doesn’t know it is happening; and a second common reason is the victim is conditioned to the abuse because of childhood trauma / abuse.
Abuse within intimate relationships is a grave and complex issue that takes on various forms, can span a range of actions, words, and attitudes, each distinct, but all aiming to exert control over a partner. To make it even harder to recognize, abuse doesn’t happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, abuse is intermittent, and generally starts out slowly, building over time, making it very hard to detect, especially at the beginning of a relationship. As the victim is exposed to the abuse over time, she/he slowly becomes conditioned to the abuse, putting up with more and more, much like the old adage of a frog put in a cold pot slowly being boiled to death doesn’t recognize the pot is getting hotter. It is common for the victim to not see some forms of abuse as abusive due to the slow ramping up of abuse over the relationship.
While many of us see images of bruises, broken bones and black eyes (physical assault) when we think of abuse, there are many other forms of abuse, both overt and covert, that have a deep impact on a person’s well-being. In this article, I delve into the different types of abuse, shedding light on the common signs and the subtle signs to look out for. By understanding the various types of abuse and forms abuse can take, it will help victims identify problematic behavior so they can seek help, and work towards healthier relationships.
1. Physical Abuse:
Physical abuse or assault is perhaps the most overt form of abuse and what most think of when abuse is mentioned. It is the intentional use of physical force to harm someone and involves any act that results in bodily harm or physical harm and damage. Physical abuse is always used for the purpose of controlling, intimidating, manipulating and even punishing their victim.
- Common Signs: This can range from hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, shoving, biting the victim, to more severe forms like choking, strangling or restraining. Throwing objects at or near the victim, punching holes in walls or doors, breaking or hitting objects, using weapons or other objects to threaten or harm is also physical abuse.
- Subtle Signs: Withholding medical care, depriving sleep, abandoning the victim in unfamiliar places, even driving recklessly.
discover if your relationship leans towards unhealthy patterns.
Remember, it’s always better to be informed and proactive rather than regretful. Your well-being and peace of mind are paramount.