* 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.
Victims of abuse often have trouble identifying themselves as victims, due to the stigma surrounding types of abuse that aren’t physical.
There is a tendency to think that because you were not abused physically, then you are not a “real” victim of abuse.
Or, you may find it difficult to see that you are being abused because it is not physical.
This is not true.
Truthfully, there are many different kinds of abuse, and not everyone will experience the same kind. However, none of these should be downplayed as “not as bad” as another type.
In this article, we will discuss the most common types of abuse in order to help you identify the signs and begin to take the steps you need to protect yourself.
Often, people in emotionally abusive relationships are made to believe that they are “too sensitive” and that no abuse is actually happening.
Emotional abusers will state that the word “abuse” is too harsh. However, just because it is a harsh word, does not mean that it’s not accurate.
Many things can be emotional abuse.
For example, if someone is putting you down repeatedly in your relationship (this goes for all kinds of relationships, not just romantic) and makes you feel bad about yourself, then they are likely doing it to make you feel so low you begin to believe nobody else will want to be with you.
This form of abuse is a way for an abuser to keep their victim around, because it is much easier to control a person when they think no one else will love them.
Additionally, you can define emotional abuse by the word “control”. Emotional abusers may try to control you by:
- Always needing to know where you are, who you are with, and keeping track of your every move
- Isolating you from friends
- Isolating you from family
- Telling you who you are and aren’t allowed to be friends with
- Not allowing you to go to certain places, such as nightclubs
- Threatening you, your family, or pets, if you disobey their rules
Sometimes, emotional abusers may even threaten to hurt themselves as a way of controlling and manipulating you.
It is important to remember that you are not responsible for their actions.
Emotional abuse can be subtler, too. Abusers may try to humiliate you in front of family and friends, or they may badmouth you to make you seem like a bad person.
Financial abuse can happen in a few different ways.
When an abuser uses their finances to abuse another, they know that it is much harder for a victim to leave them if they cannot afford to do so.
Financial abusers may keep money from you, and will not permit you to know the amount of money they have in the bank.
They may also try to stop you from working so you are totally dependent on them for money.
Once you are dependent on a financial abuser for money, they may stop you from buying things that you need, but in turn, they will buy things that they definitely don’t need.
It is important to remember that their wants are not as important as your needs.
Financial abuse can also happen in a different way. Sometimes, it can come from someone who does nothing all day and constantly takes money from you, with no intention of paying you back.
Living with someone who refuses to pay their way can make things difficult for you financially, and this is also abuse.
Everyone should be responsible for their own financial needs and you do not need to support another person who refuses to do so.
Being married or in a relationship is not the same thing as consent. This means that you do not owe your partner sex, and you are not required to have sex if you do not want to.
If someone tries to physically force sex or sexual acts onto you, then this is sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse does not need to be physical, either. Abusers can try and manipulate you into doing things you do not want to do by instilling fear.
They do this by threatening to break up with you or cheat on you if you do not do what they want.
Abusers will make you fear saying no to sex. A loving partner would not do this, and it is important to not let them make you do anything you do not feel comfortable with.
Like the other types of abuse we have covered, physical abuse can vary.
The most obvious form of physical abuse is someone punching or slapping you. However, physical abuse can be more subtle, too.
For example, someone stopping you from eating or sleeping is a form of physical abuse.
A lack of food and sleep can do some serious damage to your mental state and your body.
Additionally, if you are physically injured, then an abuser may try to stop you from seeing a doctor or the police. This is because they know that the signs of abuse will be evident.
It is also physical abuse when an abuser places you in scary situations that you may struggle to get out of.
For example, driving at fast and reckless speeds while you are in the car, or abandoning you in an unfamiliar place is an attempt to “punish” you.
For example, if you and the abuser get into an argument, they may make you get out of the car and leave you isolated in an unfamiliar place with no idea how to get home.
What To Do If You Are Being Abused
If you are being abused, or you suspect that abuse is happening, then it is important to get out of the situation in the safest way possible.
It is a good idea to speak to family, friends, or a professional, such as a doctor if you are a victim of abuse.
They can help you take safeguarding precautions and reassure you that the abuse you have suffered is not your fault.
Always remember not to blame yourself for being a victim of abuse.
It is also a good idea, once you are out of an abusive situation, to cut off all contact with the abuser.
You should also give yourself time to heal, and remember this healing will not always be linear.
Abuse can happen in any kind of relationship, and can take many different forms.
The most common types of abuse are emotional; where the abuser will manipulate and control their victims through gaslighting, name-calling, and isolating you from places and people, financial; where abusers force their victims to be financially dependent on them or cause them to struggle financially by sponging off them.
Abusers can also be sexual, where the abuser will force their victim into sex or manipulate them to make them feel afraid of the consequences when they say no to sex.
Finally, there is physical abuse, where an abuser will physically harm their victim, abandon them, put them in dangerous situations, and disrupt their eating and sleeping habits.
It is important to remember that you are a valid survivor of abuse no matter what form it took and that you should not blame yourself for what happened.
Above all, make sure you are safe and well, and give yourself time to heal.