Are You in an Abusive Relationship? Find Out Here.
If you would rather watch/listen than read, you can find the video to this article HERE.
Do you wonder if you're in an abusive relationship? Maybe you already believe you are and just need confirmation, but maybe you're not sure. Maybe your partner is loving, charming, even fun to be with a lot of the time, but something feels off. Your gut is telling you that something is wrong.
This series was created for people who want to know the basics of romantic relationship abuse (also known as domestic violence and intimate partner violence). If you want to find out if you're in an abusive relationship, and you don't find the answer in this series (this is article 1 of 4), feel free to email me. If you know that your partner is abusive and you're looking for deeper information, this article is probably too basic for you.
In this article, we will look at what is commonly considered Intimate Partner Abuse/Domestic Violence. It will cover general information and these related topics:
- Male Privilege
*** Links to the other articles in this series - Financial Abuse (#2), Sexual Abuse by a partner (#3), and Emotional Abuse (#4) are at the bottom. ***
Intimate Partner Abuse/Domestic Violence
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines Intimate Partner Abuse (aka Domestic Abuse, Relationship Abuse) as: A pattern of behavior used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. That definition is very broad and open, which I believe is their point.
I prefer the term Intimate Partner Violence over Domestic or Relationship Abuse because it is kind of all encompassing, whether you’re dating or married or living together, heterosexual or homosexual, it covers them all.
These behaviors may cause physical harm, which is what I believed intimate partner violence was for most of my life. In fact, media largely portrays domestic violence as physical abuse. So, like many of the women I have talked to, I believed that physical violence was the only thing that was domestic violence and what I was in didn’t qualify.
Physical violence includes obvious things like
It also includes violence towards things other than your body like
- breaking your things
- punching walls or other objects
- burning or scratching your face out of pictures
- abusing pets
Intimidation is looks, actions, or gestures that make us afraid. Some methods of intimidation are:
- smashing things
- destroying our property
- abusing pets
- displaying weapons
- punching the walls
- sliding their finger across their throat
- acting like they’re shooting us with their fingers
- shooting us with bb guns
- making threats using technology
If what they're doing scares you, it's not ok.
Most abusers use isolation to limit our access to help and to positive outside influences. If we don't have anyone but them, they are correct in believing we're more likely to stay and deal with the abuse.
Some ways they isolate us:
- controlling what we do
- controlling who we talk to
- cutting off or limiting our
technology use and access
- tracking/monitoring our
whereabouts to prevent us from
- using technology to discredit us
personally or professionally
- sending damaging or inappropriate
messages/emails/social media posts pretending to be us
Male Privilege (in heterosexual relationships)
Many abusive men grew up being taught that women are less than them. Male privilege is that belief system being acted out. Some things things that might happen when this is going on include:
- acting like the “master of the castle”
- believing he's the one who should decide male and
female roles in the family
- treating the woman (and often daughters) like a
- making all of the big decisions (giving the woman no
part in them)
NOTE: Abuse comes from a belief system that the abuser has. They believe that they are more valuable than you. They believe that their needs and wants are more important than yours. Eventually, they can devalue you so much in their minds that they barely see you as human.
Although there is much for information on male abusers and female victims, I know that isn't always the scenario. Belief systems don't care about one's sex. If you're being abused, whether you're female or male, it matters. You matter! Please seek out resources and support. Reading this article is a good start. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 anytime. You can also chat with them on their website. You can also email me and we can chat if you need someone to listen. You matter.