There is blatant physical abuse like hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, and then there’s non-physical abuse (psychological or emotional) that involve emotional manipulation, power and control, threats and financial restraint.
All are extremely toxic and damaging, and emotional and psychological abuse in particular can go unnoticed or overlooked.
Below are five clear signs of abuse that you may not have noticed or been aware of:
- When your partner threatens your financial security– You may not be contributing to the household financially, but you’ve taken on other equally important responsibilities like staying home with the kids, keeping the house afloat, taking over the budgeting and finances or making sure the laundry is done and every meal for the family prepped. Sometimes financial dependence may have have resulted from job loss or pay cuts. Either way, committing to a lifetime partnership with your significant other means that you’ve agreed to be equals in different ways. There’s a lot that goes into keeping a family together, and all have equal merit. A partner who callously threatens divorce or breaking up often, rips up your credit card in times of distress or vocalizes at various times that you’re not pulling your weight is exerting power over you and threatening your stability.
- When your partner questions your trust for unfounded reasons– Whether obsessively checking your phone, demanding access to your personal emails and bank accounts in order to monitor your use or accuses you of cheating, these are telltale signs that your partner is attempting to control your every move. You soon become in a position to ask for permission to do anything and everything. This behavior is abusive.
- When your partner manipulates your viewpoints or version of reality– They make you feel stupid, inferior or “crazy.” An example might be to give off the impression that you can’t think for yourself or do anything on your own. Stating that your input is invalid and they need to hold your hand or take control of every decision in the relationship is also dangerous. They may show contempt, condescension, disrespect or dismissiveness. This type of psychological abuse is another form of manipulation.
- Displaying violence or threats during disagreements– When your partner aggressively throws things, kicks furniture, punches the wall, gets in your face or threatens suicide. Examples may include: “You’re making me so upset that I want to kill myself,” “You’re the reason my blood pressure is so high, I’m depressed, I’ve gained weight (fill in the blanks),” “If you say one more word, I’m going to hit you.”
- They make you feel that their pain is your fault, you’re the problem and in turn, you experience immense guilt– When your partner makes you believe that if you treated them better, loved them more, not made the mistake of wearing that revealing outfit or puts you down that they would be nicer, kinder and would do anything for you.
If you can identify with any of these, it’s important to put a stop to it. Seeking help is always an option, especially if you fear for your life. Contact the National Domestic Hotline for assistance at 1-800-799-7233.