Is What I am Experiencing Abuse?

At MCEDV, we define domestic abuse and violence as a pattern of controlling behavior in the context of a current or former relationship, in which one person purposefully seeks to limit the human and civil rights of their partner. The actions of the abusive person are purposeful, chosen, and are based on a belief system that says they are entitled to be at the center of their partner’s world, and to have their needs always come first.

Abuse looks different for everyone, because abusive people will seize on whatever tools they have available to them to maintain their status in the relationship. Still, there are commonalities that many survivors report experiencing, and which should give us reason to pause and take stock of what is happening.

If you are wondering if what your partner is doing is abusive, ask whether they…

  • Call you disrespectful names, or criticize your choices and decisions?
  • Monitor where you go, what you do, and who you spend time with?
  • Physically attack, punish, or “discipline” you by slapping, pinching, biting, hitting, kicking, pushing, strangling, burning, or punching you?
  • Threaten to harm you or those you care about?
  • Make it difficult for you to work?
  • Insist that you engage in sexual activity when you don’t want to?
  • Misuse technology such as phones, computers, and apps to track your whereabouts and monitor your contacts with other people?
  • Use aspects of your identity – such as your sexual orientation, gender identity or race — as a way to put you down or control you?
  • At times apologize, promise to make changes, be a better partner, and affirm that they love you and would never hurt you?
  • Make all the money-related decisions, deny you access to money, or make you account for all the money you have or earn?
  • Joke about or threaten to use a weapon against you or someone you care about?
  • Frequently accuse you of having affairs?
  • Act disrespectfully or violently towards your children, property or animals?
  • Speak or act harshly and then later say that it never happened, or that it wasn’t as bad as you are making it out to be?

These are signs that your partner is not treating you as you deserve to be treated. Living with these behaviors from someone who is supposed to care deeply about you can be confusing, saddening, and scary. Call us to talk. An advocate can offer support and help examining your options.