Types of abusive relationships

The definition of abuse is commonly known as “a pattern of behaviours that is used to maintain power and gain control over the other person”. A lot of people think abuse only means physical violence but that’s not always the case; abuse comes in many forms. Here are a few.

Emotional abuse 

Emotional abuse may not cause you physical pain or give you visible bruises, but it will scar you emotionally. If you allow this kind of abuse to continue, then you might end up believing all of the hurtful things that your partner is saying and this will affect your self-esteem and confidence. 

Psychological or Mental abuse 

This form of depression occurs when your partner exposes you to behaviour that may result in anxiety, psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder or even depression. It also includes gaslighting, which is a manipulative way of making you doubt your version of events and make it seem like you’re crazy. 

Sexual abuse

As much as it’s not easy to identify sexual abuse in a relationship, it happens quite a lot and rape in a relationship can easily be mistaken as being a compromise for your partner and keeping them happy instead of abuse. Your partner doesn’t own your body and you’re not obligated to fulfil their sexual needs when you don’t want to. If they force you to then that is sexual abuse and you can report them. 

Technological abuse

This sort of abuse has to do with the use of technology as a way to control, manipulate or maintain the power in the relationship. For example, if your partner always demands to see your social media pages, hacks your WhatsApp and emails, and stalks you – then they’re using technology to abuse you. For more ways your partner could be controlling you, read here. 

Relationships are not always a smooth ride and you will have your ups and downs – but those moments should never leave you feeling worthless, hopeless or scarred. Even if you’ve known this person for a long time and are afraid that you’ve wasted all these years, I want you to bare in mind that the number of years that you’ve known a person don’t mean much if they’re being abusive to you. I’d advise you to walk away from an abusive relationship should you notice some of the signs above. Walking away can be hard, but it’s important to put yourself and your safety first by seeking help and support. For advice on dealing with abuse and on leaving an abusive relationship, read: 

Are you in an abusive relationship? 

Getting out of an abusive relationship 

If you feel stuck and need someone to talk to, you can speak to me for advice or help here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).