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What Are The Main Types Of 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.

Those of us who have been the unfortunate subjects of abuse, know that it can appear in many different forms. But What Are The Main Types Of Abuse?

What Are The Main Types Of Abuse

Those who are less educated on the matter, may think that abuse is just limited to the realms of the physical, but this simply isn’t the case. 

Abuse can present itself in a number of different ways, including emotional and mental. Those who have been the subject of narcissistic abuse in particular, will be well aware of the intricacies of the matter. 

If you want to find out more about the subject of abuse, and all of the different forms that it can take in a relationship, keep reading, as we take a look below. 

Table of Contents

What Is Abuse? 

Before we delve into the topic together, first let’s take a brief look at what abuse actually means. Abuse has been defined as repetitive behavior designed to target an individual, making them feel helpless, all the while providing the abuser with a sense of power and control. 

The key thing to remember about abuse is that it consists of repetitive behavior, not just one single incident.

Those of us who have been the subject of abuse will be all too familiar with this, as the person often promises that they will change, only to succumb to the same behaviors time and time again. 

To find out more about some of these different abusive behaviors, keep reading. 

What Are The Main Types Of Abuse?

What Are The Main Types Of Abuse?

Physical Abuse

Let’s start out with abuse which consists of physical maltreatment. When we think about the subject of abuse, this is often the first one that springs to mind. Particularly physical abuse which has been committed against women. 

This includes a plethora of different violent behaviors including slapping, kicking, choking, punching, hitting, or holding a person back against their wishes.

There are also other ways that an abuser might make their partner feel uncomfortable, such as invading their personal space. 

Driving past the speed limit in a reckless manner could also be considered a form of physical abuse, as it’s designed to make the person feel unsafe and under threat, removing all control from the situation. 

Financial Abuse

A less well known form of abuse that many people experience, perhaps you yourself might have, is financial abuse. This essentially involves the abuser taking all financial control of the household. 

You yourself might be a victim of financial abuse, if your partner doesn’t allow you to have any financial responsibility in the household. Financial abusers will use money as another means of power to dominate their victims.  

Some people who have suffered financial abuse have no control over their own finances, including their bank accounts, credit cards, or even work their own jobs in order to make money.

Some abusers take this behavior to a whole new level, and create debts on their partners credit cards. 

This can lead to a lot of problems down the road, as it could mean that the abused party has a lot of credit card debts that they’ll need to explain to their bank.

This can lead to a plethora of different problems, where you might struggle to purchase a house, car, or a loan because of poor credit ratings. 

There are resources out there if you’ve been a victim of financial abuse, including access to cash assistance, health insurance, and food stamps. 

Sexual Abuse

This is another form of abuse that many experience, both as children and as adults. Although we might say that this is another branch of physical abuse, it stands on its own because it includes mental elements too.

Sex can be quite a complicated form of abuse, because it could mean that you’re experiencing rape at the hands of your partner, or you’re being tormented with your partner denying you sex as a means of weaponizing it.

They may demean you and say that you’re not worth having sex with. 

Another way that sexual abuse takes form is through the partner implying that sex is the only reason why they’re with you.

It is shocking to find out in many states, rape that took place during marriage wasn’t considered to be an illegal act until the 1990’s. 

We all need to educate ourselves about the different types of sexual abuse that exist in the world today. 

Cultural Abuse

Cultural Abuse

Another less well-known form of abuse that we might not be familiar with, is cultural abuse. This is something that might happen in a mixed marriage, where the parties come from different faiths or races. 

One person might subject their partner to derogatory comments based on their race, or even just disallow them from openly practicing their faith.

They might not be able to follow their customary diet according to their religion, and as a result, have a large portion of their identity taken away. 

This kind of abuse also happens in the LGBTQ + world. For example, your partner might regularly threaten to tell your family about your sexual orientation before you are ready to do so.

On the other hand, it can also take form in the manner of homophobic or transphobic slurs. 

Psychological Abuse

As you may already know, psychological abuse can be one of the most complicated forms of abuse in existence. It has so many different facets and layers that it can be difficult to pinpoint sometimes. 

For example, the act of gaslighting is now recognized as a very real form of abuse, where the victim is led to believe that they are the problem, and are fed a whole host of different lies. 

Gaslighting is a particularly manipulative form of abuse, and many sufferers report how their abusers used to hide common items from them, such as their house keys, then blaming them for losing them.

Because of this, the victim will start to doubt themselves and their own sanity, subsequently becoming more and more dependent on their abusers. 

Your partner may also use demeaning language, playing on your worst insecurities, perhaps telling you that you’re ugly, fat, stupid, or worthless.

Unfortunately, it is more difficult for friends and families to recognize the signs of mental abuse, because unlike the physical, they often remain hidden. 

If you have been the victim of psychological abuse, there is help out there for you. Mental scars take a long time to heal, so it’s recommended that you visit a therapist to help you with your journey. 

Final Thoughts

There are many different types of abuse, and many of them aren’t what we’d typically think of when we first hear the word.

As human beings, we tend to associate abuse with purely physical acts, but as you can see from the article above, this simply isn’t the case. 

Abuse can take many forms, including physical, mental, emotional, cultural, financial, and sexual. They’re all valid, and are experienced by many people living in the world today.

We need to educate ourselves about these categories in order to make a positive change.

If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:

For more information on mental health, please see:

If You Need A Crisis Hotline Or Want To Learn More About Therapy, Please See Below:

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) – 1-800-656-4673
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
  • NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – 1-800-950-6264

For More Information On Mental Health, Please See:

  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter, SAMHSA LinkedIn, SAMHSA Youtube
  • Mental Health America, MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest, MHA Youtube
  • WebMD, WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Instagram, WebMD Pinterest
  • NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), NIMH Instagram, NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube
  • APA (American Psychiatric Association), APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram

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