True or False: If nobody hits you, you're not being abused.
The correct answer is False!
Abuse comes in many different shapes and forms, with physical violence being just one visible type of abuse. Emotional abuse is one type of domestic violence which is very difficult to recognize from outside the relationship.
While many people may assume men are more commonly the abuser in a relationship, abuse including emotional abuse can come from either partner, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race or economic background.
According to loveisrespect.org, emotional abuse is “non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or 'checking in', excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.”
Emotional abuse can affect your physical and emotional well-being. Other signs of emotional abuse may include trying to scare you into doing or not doing something, false accusations, humiliating you in front of other people, or threatening to hurt you or someone you love.
Emotional abuse often starts with placing blame, such as overreacting to situations or claiming the response was the partner’s fault for “pushing buttons.” This may take the form of shouting or criticism.
More common “silent” forms of emotional abuse include disengaging from conversations or activities, or “stonewalling” by refusing to listen or consider someone else’s perspective.
This kind of behavior can make you feel like you don’t count, don’t have value, or don’t have a partner in parenting and other areas of life.
Domestic violence, including emotional abuse, centers around trying to get power and control over a partner. The abuser often believes he or she has the right to control the other person and that only the abuser’s feelings or needs deserve to be considered.
If you are concerned that you might be in an abusive relationship, compare your situation to a healthy relationship. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, a healthy relationship includes two key elements:
Both partners understand and respect each other.