People have a specific perception of domestic abuse. They assume it’s a weak wife or girlfriend who is the victim of physical violence from their partner. They picture bruises across her face and a timid personality.
However, it’s only one image of domestic abuse. Victims may be strong, independent men or women; they could hide the physical signs or shield people away from the true nature of their relationship.
Abuse doesn’t always mean violence
In most abuse situations, the significant other does not rely on their fists to keep their partner “in check.” They use other forms of manipulation to hold a significant other in a toxic relationship. For example, a partner may verbally degrade their partner in front of others to induce shame or anxiety.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, abuse only relies on one partner maintain power and control over another partner in a relationship. Some forms of abuse without physical violence includes:
- Economic – Partners may limit their spouse’s ability to keep a job, control their finances or taking their earned income.
- Intimidation – An abusive spouse may use threats or blackmail to keep a partner in a bad marriage or relationship.
- Emotional – An abuser may put down, call their spouse names or humiliate their partner as a form of emotional abuse. They may also use the children to pull on their partner’s emotion. For example; they threatened to take the children if the spouse tries to leave them.
- Isolation – Another form of domestic abuse is isolating your partner from other people, such as friends or family. An abuser may use separation to create a reliance on them or limit their reach to the outside world.
- Minimization – Along with manipulation, a partner often minimizes the abuse and makes light of the harm to their significant other. It ends in reducing the effects of the abuse and makes the victim feel at blame for the behavior.
When it comes to any form of abuse, it boils down to power and control over another person. In domestic violence, it means one spouse wants ultimate control over their partner and will use any method to maintain that power dynamic.
It’s also very likely domestic abuse remains hidden due to shame or anxiety on the victim’s behalf. The victim may also feel fear due to the threat of more emotional abuse or an escalation to physical or sexual abuse. If you are the victim of domestic violence, consider filing a police report or at least seeking support from friends and family. They will help you exit the relationship that keeps you and your family safe.