5 SIGNS YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE SITUATION
What to Look For
Below we have listed the 5 most common signs of an abusive situation. If you feel that you might be in an abusive situation, you can find resources through our "Seek Support" page. If you think someone you know is in this situation, see our "What to do if someone you know is being abused" page.
The abuser's first goal is to keep their victim completely under their control. This can include who they talk to, what they watch, what they eat, what they do with their spare time, and much more. There is no end to what the abuser may do to keep their victim from having any freedom in their life. One particularly common area of control is monetary restraint. Monetary restraint typically consists of not allowing the victim access to the money that they bring home, restricting access to credit cards, and prohibiting any form of financial control within their lives. This forces the victim to be wholly reliant on the abuser when it comes to financial support, which is a key motivator for the victim to remain in their current situation.
Breaking long term friendships, keeping their victim from talking to their family, prohibiting them from going out into the world, and sometimes even making them quit their jobs - all things that an abuser will do to keep their victim as isolated as possible. This will make the victim feel as if they are trapped in their situation and have nowhere else to go.
Abusers will often attempt to belittle and degrade their victims in order to increase their degree of power over them. Common tactics include directly insulting their victim, name calling, harassing them, yelling at them, patronizing them, and disparaging their accomplishments. Another very common form of psychological abuse is gaslighting. Gaslighting is when an individual manipulates someone by making them question their own reality. For example, if an abuser were to yell at a victim and then a few hours later turn around and tell their victim "What are you talking about? You are the one that yelled at me?", that would be a form of gaslighting. Each method of psychological torture is used in order to lower the victim's self-worth, and force them into thinking that the abuse is their own fault.
An abuser can assert their power by forcing their partner/child to commit sexual acts, not allowing forms of birth control, knowledgeably trying to give an STI, and condemning their victim for not providing them with sex.
Punching, kicking, biting, pushing, threatening with weapons, slapping - all of these seem like extreme circumstances in any relationship. However, in combination with the several other forms of abuse, the victim becomes desensitized to the situation, and will often brush it off as normal or permissible. If any of these symptoms are occurring within your relationship, seek help immediately.