6 Ways to Identify Abuse

We’ve all been in relationships. Some of them have gone well. A few have gone not so well. But have you ever wondered if one of your past relationships or maybe even your current one was more abusive than you could have ever thought? I think sometimes, we all need an outside perspective, especially when it comes to our romantic life, so here are six ways for you to identify if your relationship is abusive.

1.  Physical Abuse

This one is one of the most common types of abuses out there and one of the most easily recognizable, most of the time. A black eye or a bruise is noticeable; in fact, it's the sign that I think most of us look for first when we suspect that someone is being abused. However, not all signs of physical abuse leave marks as obvious or even any marks at all. Shoving, yanking, tripping: each of these things don’t leave marks in most cases. Expectations play a huge roll in this type of abuse. If the signs aren’t obvious, then we might not realize that abuse is happening, or we might not even categorize it as abuse at all. Think about this: if you saw a girl shove her boyfriend down a hill, would you consider that act playful or abusive? Our first reaction might be that it was playful, but what if the roles were reversed? A double standard exists when it comes to physical abuse; actions aren’t weighed equally across genders, but abuse is abuse no matter the gender of the person performing it.

See here for more information about physical abuse.

2. Emotional Neglect

Have you ever felt like your partner didn’t care about your emotions or self-absorbed and not concerned at all with what was going on with your life? This sort of behavior from your partner is called emotional neglect, and it’s a type of abuse. On the surface, these kinds of relationships might seem happy, but in truth, one or both people in this relationship simply does not understand or care how the other is feeling. This kind of abuse is not always conscious, sometimes the person doing the neglecting has simply gotten too comfortable in the relationship, causing them to stop giving as much effort as they once did.

See here for more information about neglect.

3. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is the act of twisting, omitting or otherwise misrepresenting events to make the abusers seem reasonable or right and the victims believe that they’re wrong, stupid or, in some cases, feel like they’re losing their mind. You’ve experienced this kind of abuse if your partner often undermines your memory with phrases like “It didn’t happen like that” or “that never happened.” If you’ve ever questioned your own perception of reality because of your partners insistence to the contrary, you might have been gaslighted.

See here for more information about gaslighting.

4. Isolation

Has your partner ever tried to monopolize your time? At first, it might seem sweet since it just means your partner wants to spend as much time as possible with you. But does it go further than that sometimes? Does your partner ask you to break off activities with friends or family? What about not wanting you to even make plans to begin with? This type of abuse is hard to see in the beginning because at first it just seems to be the usually possessive puppy love of a new relationship. Soon, however, you might find yourself cut off from all your friends and family. It might even get to the point where your partner asks you to quit your job or abandon your career for the sake of your relationship.

See here for more information about isolation.

5. High highs and low lows 

Every relationship has its ups and down. Periods of bliss interspersed with the periodic bouts of stress. However, in some cases, it goes to an extreme that is anything but healthy. If you were to put this kind of abuse on a line graph, then you would see the relationship jump from the very top to the very bottom repeatedly. You experience this kind of abuse if your relationship is characterized by short bursts of nirvana-like happiness, but after a time, your partner suddenly doesn’t have time for you or even insults you instead. Eventually, however, just as you’re about to work up the nerve to break things off, your partner is miraculously devoted to you again and all is as it once was until the cycle repeats itself.

6. Domination

This kind of abuse is like isolation in that your partner is using carrot of the relationship to make you do things you would never do under normal circumstances. However, unlike isolation, domination is your partner actively taking control of your life away as opposed to passively encouraging you to give it up. If your partner often tries to tell you what to eat, how to spend your time or money on or what you are and aren’t allowed to do, then you might be experiencing abuse. Examine the relationship closely. Ask yourself “when was the last time I did something for myself?” If you can’t think of an instance in the last month, then it’s probably time to break it off.