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What Are Signs of Abuse in A Romantic Relationship?

Abuse is a strong word, and it’s easy to associate abuse with physical violence, such as hitting someone. However, abuse can come in many forms, including financial and emotional abuse. Unfortunately, abuse happens somewhat commonly in romantic relationships, and it doesn’t always look like bruises or yelling swear words.

Knowing the signs of abuse in a romantic relationship is crucial, as it can help you see a bad situation and get help to leave. Understanding the signs of abuse can also help you offer support to victims. 

Learn some of the main signs of abusive relationships, including signs based on the type of abuse.

Getting Help As An Abuse Victim

Abuse is never the victim’s fault. If you have experienced abuse, there are resources available to help you get to safety. To start with, you should call 911 if your physical health or safety is at risk.

You can also contact the domestic violence hotline at 800-799-7233, as it’s open 24/7. Lastly, contact the police if you need help or seek an experienced attorney for more assistance. 

Signs Of Abuse Everyone Should Know

As mentioned above, abuse doesn’t just look like bruises and hitting. While physical abuse is awful, other types of abuse can be very damaging.

The main types of abuse we will discuss in this guide are physical, sexual, emotional, and financial. 

Let’s review some of the signs of each.

Physical Abuse

While physical abuse is usually the easiest to identify, it’s easy to miss some of the signs. 

Physical abuse can look like:

  • Preventing you from eating or sleeping
  • Threatening violence
  • Harming your children or pets
  • Driving recklessly while you’re in the vehicle with them
  • Punching, slapping, kicking, biting, or using weapons against you
  • Keeping you from medical treatment
  • Trapping you or blocking you from leaving a room or your home

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is an especially difficult topic to discuss, but everyone needs to know the importance of consent and safety in sexual relationships. 

Some common signs of sexual abuse and violence include: 

  • Forcing or manipulating you into doing sexual acts
  • Bringing another person into sexual acts without your consent
  • Controlling what you wear
  • Refusing to use contraception
  • Spreading STIs on purpose

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse, which encompasses verbal abuse, is a broad category that is often the most difficult to identify. Emotional abuse tactics can be manipulative and covert, so you might not notice at first.

However, you should pay attention to these behaviors and patterns:

  • Criticizing you or calling you names
  • Acting incredibly jealous and possessive
  • Monitoring what you do
  • Controlling how you look and what you wear
  • Gaslighting behavior
  • Threatening you, your pets, or your children
  • Throwing or damaging your belongings

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, also called economic abuse, is often forgotten when discussing types of abuse. However, it’s as harmful and controlling as any type of abuse.

With economic abuse, one partner exerts power and control in the financial life and decisions of the other partner. This can look like:

  • Setting an allowance or budget and making you share every detail of your spending
  • Keeping you from accessing bank accounts
  • Taking your money and putting it into another account you can’t access
  • Getting you fired or keeping you from getting a job
  • Stealing from you or your loved ones
  • Expecting you to cover all the finances and refusing to work

Remember that abuse is never your fault. It’s easy to minimize the abuse or believe that the abuser will change, but you deserve to feel safe physically, emotionally, and financially. 

If you’re concerned about how a partner treats you, talk to your support system or call domestic violence resources. 

Featured Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash