The 4 Most Common Types Of Abuse

While connecting with other people who have experienced domestic abuse, it seemed that many of us have something in common. Victims of domestic abuse struggle with identifying themselves as real victims. There is this stigma we place on ourselves that says unless we are being brutally beaten, we are not “real” victims. The truth is that there are many layers to abuse, and most of us just experience different levels of it.

Regardless of the ways we try to downplay our situations, abuse is abuse. The sooner you can identify the types of abuse you are facing, the easier it will be to take steps towards protecting yourself. Here are four common types of abuse and what they look like.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is very common and comes standard with any type of toxic relationship. Sometimes we are pushed into believing that we are just overly sensitive and we are not actually being abused. People will claim that “abuse” is a harsh word, and that may be true. However just because it is a harsh word doesn’t mean it’s not an accurate one.

Emotional abuse can involve many things, even as simple as being put down repeatedly. Someone who continues to make you feel bad about yourself may likely be doing it in an attempt to make you feel so low that you think no one else will want you. It’s easier to control someone when they think no one else in the world could possibly “love” them like their abuser does. This is a form of manipulation that helps an abuser keep their victim.

Emotional abuse can also be defined by control. An abuser may isolate you from friends and family, control who you are allowed to be friends with, deny you the freedom to go certain places, or demand that you allow them to keep constant tabs on your every move. They may threaten you if you cross any of their strict lines, or they may threaten to hurt your pets or your family.

It is also not uncommon for abusers to maintain control by threatening to harm themselves. It is extremely unfair for a person to threaten self-harm and make you feel like you would be responsible if something were to happen to them. You are not to blame for their threats, and they use this as a tool to force you to give in to their demands.

Emotional abuse may be more subtle too. Your abuser might make a habit of humiliating you in front of friends and family, or they may speak badly of you to others to make you look problematic. This can help them maintain control if you ever reach out for help because they have already created a false track record in your name.

Financial Abuse

This type of abuse can happen in a few different ways. When someone uses finances to aide their abuse, it can be because they know it is harder for their victim to leave if they do not have the funds to do so. The abuser may withhold money from you, or not allow you to know how much money is in the bank at any given time. They could try to deny you from working so that you are solely reliant on their income.

They may say that you cannot use any money for things you need, but then turn around and use however much money they want for things they don’t need. At one point I had an ex who told me we could not afford to pay for my birth control pills, but that same night he spent over $40 at the bar on drinks for himself. Don’t allow someone to put your financial needs on a backburner to their own. Your needs are not less important than their wants, and you deserve access to the funds that are rightfully yours to use as you desire.

Financial abuse can also look a lot like someone who sits on your couch and mooches off your income. If someone refuses to pull their weight financially and creates money troubles for you, that is also abuse. Each person is responsible for their own financial needs and you are not required to support someone who refuses to contribute.

Sexual Abuse

Marriage and/or relationships status is not consent. That statement really struck me when I first heard it. There is no obligation to anyone at any time for sex. It does not matter if you are in a relationship, living together or if you have a ring on your finger. You can always say no, and anyone who tries to force you into it anyways is an abuser.

Even if they don’t physically force you, an abuser may manipulate you or guilt you into doing what they want. If you give in to their demands because you fear what consequences you might face by saying no, you are being abused. Instilling fear into a victim is the easiest way for an abuser to always get their way, which is completely unfair to you. Don’t allow them to make you do anything you are not comfortable with.

Another way that an abuser can sexually abuse you is by threatening to cheat if you do not give them what they want. They may say that if you do not do what they are demanding, they will just find someone else who will say yes.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can take on many forms, similar to the other types of abuse we have already gone over. There are some ways that an abuser can hurt you physically that are more complex than punching you or slapping you. They may purposely get in the way of you sleeping or eating. Lack of sleep and food can cause a train wreck of havoc to your body and mental state. It’s important to see through that type of abuse even if it happens in subtle ways.

Sometimes when the abuse is physical and you are injured, an abuser may prolong the abuse by forbidding you from seeking medical attention or asking the police for help. They know that the second you go see a medical professional, the signs of abuse will be too obvious for you to hide.

Another way an abuser can harm you is by putting you into scary situations you cannot escape. For instance, they might drive recklessly and at high speeds when you are in the car with them. Not only does this cause you a lot of anxiety, but they are putting your life at risk. You could crash and end up hurt or worse. You could even be the victim of road rage violence stemming from their driving too.

They may abandon you in unfamiliar places as a form of punishment. Let’s say you get into a disagreement and they force you to get out of the car so they can drive away without you. Now you are stuck somewhere you don’t know without a way to get yourself home. That is just one more way that someone can be abusing you.

If you find yourself wondering about your relationships dark side and scrolling through articles about abuse, chances are that you are experiencing some form of it. No avenue of abuse is acceptable, regardless of why some people think certain forms are “worse” than others. As mentioned before, abuse is abuse. You deserve to have happy relationships free of turmoil and manipulation. If you need help, remember that it’s okay to reach out. It’s okay to leave, and it’s okay to fight for yourself.

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Colorado native, cult escapee.

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