Abusers use many forms of mistreatment to control, dominate, and punish their victims. Types of mistreatment include: abuse (e.g. physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, and financial), isolation, abandonment, and intimidation. Abuse happens to people from every age group, culture, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, educational background, and religious upbringing. Abuse does not show prejudice or favoritism. There is no standard victim.
Most abuse begins harmlessly enough with the abuser acting devoted, protective, and even generous, only to later exaggerate those benign affections into something scary, controlling, and painful. Often, abuse will initially occur in remote incidents with the abuser apologizing, rationalizing, and blaming the abuse away.
Abuse can lead to serious lifelong psychological and physical problems. Common problems for abused adults include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and actions, mental illness, social phobia, homelessness, and panic disorders. Abused children face similar problems; however, those problems are compounded by school troubles, developmental disorders, violent behavior, and low self-esteem.
If you are being abused, speak out and seek help immediately. All too often those who are abused stay victimized. Report the abuse to someone you trust - family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or doctors. If your safety is threatened call the police.
Are you a victim of abuse?
• Are you afraid of the abuser?
• Have you been threatened or physically battered by the abuser?
• Are you forced to participate in sexual activities that are unpleasant?
• Do you constantly worry about the abuser’s frame of mind?
• Do you change your behavior to mollify the abuser?
• Does the abuser control your activities, finances, and relationships?
• Have you cut family and friends out of your life to appease the abuser?
• Does the abuser threaten suicide if you terminate the relationship?
• Does the abuser use substance abuse or an abusive childhood as an excuse?
• Are you frequently accused of deceit?
Keywords: psychological abuse, physical abuse, abuse, improving your life, psychologist, help
What is a safety plan?
National Domestic Violence Hotline
What are healthy vs. unhealthy relationships?
Department of Health & Human Services
How do I help a friend?
The Red Flag Campaign