What Is Abuse?
Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse and financial abuse. Many of these forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all backgrounds and education levels.
It’s not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive. Many abusive partners may seem perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.
Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. One thing abusive relationships may have in common is that the abusive partner does many different things to have more power and control over their partners.
If you or someone you know is beginning to feel as if their partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for.
- Telling you that you can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these in their relationship, call any of the following for help.