Am I Being Abused?

Domestic violence occurs when one person in a relationship uses a pattern of behavior to control the other person. While people most often define domestic violence as physical violence, it can also take other forms, such as emotional/psychological abuse, economic abuse, or sexual abuse.

Warning Signs

If your partner repeatedly exhibits one or more of the following behaviors in an attempt to control you, you may be in an abusive relationship:

  • Pushing, slapping, hitting, choking, biting, or kicking you
  • Threatening you, your children, your family members or friends, or your pet(s)
  • Using or threatening use of a weapon against you
  • Keeping you from seeing your family and friends or from going to work
  • Putting you down or making you feel bad about yourself
  • Keeping or taking your paycheck
  • Threatening suicide to get you to do something
  • Forcing you to have sex or perform sexual acts that you don’t want or like

Domestic violence often goes unreported due to societal stigmas that inhibit victims from disclosing their abuse. Victims may be too ashamed or frightened to admit they are being abused – even to close friends and family.

Or they may not see themselves as victims at all. They may think that domestic violence is defined solely as physical abuse. However, there are many types of domestic abuse.

Recognizing abuse is the key to understanding if you or someone you know is being abused. If your partner repeatedly uses one or more of the following to control you, you are being abused.

Using Intimidation

  • Making threatening looks, actions, or gestures
  • Smashing things in front of you and/or destroying property
  • Hurting your pet(s)
  • Displaying weapons

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Humiliating you through insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs
  • Playing mind games in an effort to make you think you’re crazy
  • Making you feel guilty about the abuse

Using Isolation

  • Increasing your dependence on him by limiting your outside involvements/activities
  • Controlling what you do, who you see and talk to, what you read, and where you go
  • Using jealousy as an excuse to justify abusive behaviors

Minimizing, Denying, and Blaming

  • Making light of the abuse or denying that it has occurred
  • Shifting responsibility for the abuse onto you
  • Making excuses for inexcusable behavior

Using Children

  • Making you feel guilty about involving the children
  • Using children to relay messages
  • Threatening to take the children away
  • Using visitation time to harass you

Using Male Privilege

  • Treating you like a servant, a child, or his possession
  • Expecting you to obey him without question
  • Acting like “master of the castle”
  • Making all family decisions without your input

Using Economic Abuse

  • Preventing you from getting or keeping a job
  • Making you ask for money or giving you an allowance
  • Taking your money
  • Preventing your knowledge of or access to family income

Using Coercion and Threats

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you
  • Threatening to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets
  • Threatening to leave you, commit suicide, or report you to child protective services
  • Forcing you to do illegal things
  • Making you drop charges against him

If you are involved in a relationship where you are being hurt or abused, remember that you are not alone, it is not your fault, and help is available.

Call the CHOICES 24-hour hotline at (614) 224-4663.