Domestic violence is not physical violence alone. Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member. Abuse is a learned behavior; it is not caused by anger, mental problems, drugs or alcohol, or other common excuses.
Types of abuse & control can be:
- Emotional abuse:
Possessiveness; isolation; jealousy; threats of arrests or child protection reports; the feeling of walking on eggshells; the feeling you can never do enough or anything right; “gas lighting,” or calling you and/or your suspicions crazy; using past or current substance abuse to keep you from leaving.
- Verbal abuse:
Name calling, especially in front of children; belittling; threatening to kill you, themselves or your pets; “If I can’t have you, no one can.”
- Physical abuse:
Keeping you awake at night; choking; not allowing you to leave or be alone in a room; throwing and breaking items, including cell phones; hitting, punching, and kicking; hurting family pets; pressure to engage in unwanted sexual activity such as not using a condom or outright sexual assault.
- Financial Abuse:
Not allowing you to work or not working themselves (either creates financial instability to keep you from leaving); withholding money; giving you an “allowance” for food or gas; withholding access to bank cards and accounts; withholding access to vehicles or the home.
Power and Control Wheel
Everyone and every relationship are different but listed below can be some general red flags:
- Moving the relationship along very quickly even if it’s uncomfortable for you (example: pressuring for intercourase, or moving in together)
- Keeping you from friends and family and maybe even work (example: saying “they don’t have your best interest in mind, only I do.”)
- Demanding to check your phone and asking for passwords to your social media accounts
- Showing anger, a short temper, and an inability to cope; blaming everyone else for this behavior