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Abusive Behavior Examples

Sometimes it is difficult to know when a person is being abused. Abuse is any behavior that is used to intimidate or control an intimate partner. These are just some of the examples of abusive behavior.

Does your partner:

  • Constantly ridicule or insult you?
  • Become extremely jealous?
  • Undermine your sense of power or confidence?
  • Make you account for every minute you are not together?
  • Manipulate you with lies, contradictions or promises?
  • Prevent you from seeing your friends and family?
  • Get angry when you disagree?
  • Make you ask for permission before you go out, get a job or go to school?
  • Abuse your pet to frighten you?
  • Destroy your property?
  • Restrain you?
  • Throw objects at you?
  • Threaten you with weapons or objects?
  • Threaten to hurt your children?
  • Hit, slap, punch, shove or kick you?

Another way to understand if you are a victim of abuse is by asking yourself questions about how your partner’s behavior affects you.

  • Do you feel you do not have the right to say “no”?
  • Are you afraid to disagree?
  • Have you stopped inviting guests to your home?
  • Have you stopped seeing your family and friends?
  • Do you feel responsible for the abuse?
  • Are you unable to go out, get a job, or go to school without permission?
  • Do you avoid talking to friends or acquaintances of the opposite sex for fear that your partner may become jealous and abusive?

Myths About Abuse

“Victims of domestic violence like to be beaten”

Evidence does not support this theory. Victims of domestic violence desperately want the abuse to end, and engage in various survival strategies, including calling the police or seeking help from family members to protect themselves and their children. In some cases, silence may be a survival strategy.

“Low self-esteem causes victims to get involved in abusive relationships”

Some assume that individuals with adequate self-esteem would not “allow” themselves to be abused by intimate partners or spouses. But studies demonstrate that victims of domestic violence fail to share common characteristics other than being female. However, some victims experience a decrease in self-esteem as a result of being abused.

“Batterers abuse their partners because of alcohol or drug abuse”

Substance abuse does not cause perpetrators of domestic violence to abuse their partners, although it is frequently used as an excuse. Substance abuse may increase the frequency or severity of violent episodes, but domestic violence is caused by a desire to exert power and control over an intimate partner, not drugs or alcohol.