You may have been shocked to hear that your friends think you are in an abusive relationship. Your partner may be a little short-tempered and “act out” sometimes, but he doesn’t hit you. They just don’t understand how the two of you work, and are worried over nothing... right?

Maybe not. There are many types of domestic violence that can cause victims to suffer years of fear and instability—all without ever being struck by their partners.

Domestic Violence Is About Control, Not pain

You can be the victim of violence without suffering physically. Any behavior that gives your partner power over you and your actions could potentially be abuse—especially if your partner consistently justifies their abusive behaviors, and uses similar tactics in the future to maintain control over you.

Could You Possibly Be Suffering From These Lesser-Known Types of Domestic Violence?

  • Isolation – How much time has passed since you saw your family? How about close friends, neighbors, or even your regular doctors? Abusers will often isolate their victims, making the victims dependent on them and more reluctant to leave the relationship.
  • Emotional abuse – Does your partner call you names, make you believe that you are stupid, or tell you that you are imagining things? These are all ways to make you feel inferior and powerless.
  • Financial domination – Does your partner handle all of the money matters? Are the house and car in his name? Do you legally own anything in your marriage? Abusers often use money to dominate their victims, leaving victims—and their children—without financial support if they ever leave.
  • Sexual discomfort – Rape and sexual assault are obvious forms of abuse, but partners who are coerced to have sex when they don’t want to or in places that they find uncomfortable may not realize that this is also a violent act.
  • Depression or alcoholism – Too many victims will accept mistreatment as a by-product of the abuser’s depression or chemical dependency. Abusers may threaten suicide if their partner leaves, making it seem as if the partner is staying in an abusive relationship willingly.

Did you make excuses for a spouse’s horrific actions only to break free years later? You can help others in abusive relationships realize their situation before it’s too late. Leave us a comment below to tell us your story.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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