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What Is Meant By Physical Abuse?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

When it comes to physical abuse, many people may think that it just consists of hitting another person or assaulting them, but it actually covers so much more than that. So, What Is Meant By Physical Abuse?

What Is Meant By Physical Abuse

Domestic abuse is actually an incredibly common phenomenon in today’s world, and it’s important to recognize the signs. 

If you’ve experienced any of the items that we will be discussing in this article today, make sure that you seek help.

To find out more about physical abuse and what exactly it means, keep reading below, as we take a look. 

What Exactly Is Physical Abuse?

Physical abuse happens when another person assaults you by partaking in a violent act. There are many different ways that this might happen. Some consist of outright punching and kicking you, or pinching or scratching you. 

Physical abuse can also mean throwing things at you or partaking in acts that make you feel as though you’re in danger.

For example, somebody driving a car very fast to the point where it threatens your safety is a form of physical abuse. 

Another form of physical abuse that many people don’t know about is denying food. The perpetrator might deny their victim basic things such as food items, which is designed to cause them physical harm.

On the other end of the spectrum, some abusers will force-feed their victims as a kind of physical abuse. 

Signs Of Physical Abuse

One of the key things that people who have been abused say, is that things started out with minor assaults like a slap.

This, however, eventually escalates into more dangerous acts later on in the relationship, such as punching and kicking. 

If you’ve been abused yourself, perhaps this is something that you will recognize in terms of the pattern of your relationship too. 

Another common feature of physically abusive relationships is that the abuser will often be incredibly apologetic after the act has taken place.

Abusers will claim to be remorseful for their actions, and claim never to do what they have done again. 

These are false promises however, and even if they manage to go through a period with no abusive acts, they relapse and succumb to their behaviors again. 

Other Types Of Abuse

It’s true that physical abuse is often accompanied by other kinds of abuse too, be they sexual or mental. 

Sexual abuse is considered a form of physical abuse too, and involves the victim being subject to sexual acts that she has not consented to.

They might be forced to perform sexual acts for their partners despite objections or against their own will. 

Sexual abuse can also involve being made to partake in nude photogrpahs. The abuser will make you pose for naked photography, then hold them against you as a form of abuse. 

There is also mental abuse, which often accompanies physical abuse, and can involve a whole host of different things. One of the most common practices in mental abuse is gaslighting.

Gaslighting involves making a person feel as though they’re gradually losing touch with reality, by making them question their own sanity. The victim then becomes completely reliant on the abuser. 

Another type of abuse is exploitation. Exploitation involves taking over another person’s finances against their will. It could mean forging checks, or giving the victim a strict income that they have to adhere to. 

How To Recover From Physical Abuse

How To Recover From Physical Abuse

If you’ve been a victim of physical abuse, then you’ll know that the recovery process can be incredibly difficult.

There are some steps that you can take, however, to make the journey far easier. By taking small steps each day in order to recover, you can make your way to a healthy and positive future. 


One of the key aspects in recovering from physical abuse is accepting everything that’s happened. It can feel as though it’s better to just forget all of the abuse that you’ve suffered, but ignoring it won’t solve the matter. 

Accept what has happened to you as a part of your past, and this will allow you to move on. 

Seek Therapy

One of the main things that you should be doing if you’ve recently gotten out of an abusive relationship is to seek out therapy.

Speaking to a therapist about everything that you’ve gone through can be incredibly healing, and having somebody impartial to listen to you can make things a lot easier than speaking to friends and family. 

The therapist will also have techniques in place to help you recover, as well as helping you come to terms with what happened.

Many people who have been victims of abuse will need the reassurance that it wasn’t their fault, and therapy can help with recognizing this. 

Focus On You

One of the best things you can do to help yourself recover from physical abuse, is to focus on yourself. Many abusers will have a great deal of control over their victims, even going so far as to tell them how to eat and dress. 

Getting out of that relationship means rediscovering yourself, along with all of your likes and dislikes outside of the relationship. 

You can start a new hobby, and get involved in something that’s completely personal to you. As well as this, you can also surround yourself with friends and family, as many abusers will seek to cause rifts between the victim and their loved ones. 

Self Care

Kindness is one of the most important steps to recovery, and by kindness, we mean being kind to yourself.

In order to recover, you’ll need to give yourself a lot of time and patience, and be proud of yourself for surviving everything that you’ve gone through. 

Journaling can be an incredibly helpful tool for recovery, and documenting your thoughts can help you keep track of any negative patterns.

As well as this, meditation can also be great for silencing negative thoughts, and help you to refocus your attention on the present. 

Exercise can also be a great way of dealing with trauma, and this could be anything from taking a walk to participating in a dance class. 

Oftentimes, when we go through a physically abusive relationship, we are apt to blame ourselves. But, it is never your fault. Be kind to yourself and keep reminding yourself of this. 

Talk To Others If You’re Feeling Suicidal

If you ever feel yourself getting to the point where you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, make sure that you call someone immediately.

If you are based in the US, you can call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline on 988. You’ll be able to speak to somebody live immediately. 

Final Thoughts

Physical abuse can cover an umbrella of different abusive actions. These could be physically kicking or punching somebody, pinching or scratching, or pushing.

As well as this, physical abuse also means restricting somebody’s food intake, or force feeding them. In addition, putting somebody in an unsafe environment also counts as physical abuse.

Read More about Narcissist Abuse and Domestic Violence

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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