Domestic abuse is common in the United States; statistics from USA Today show that these incidents happen every 15 seconds, but what happens when you are not aware you are being abused? Not all types of violence are physical and many go unreported, especially when the behavior becomes an ingrained part of the marriage or partnership.
Learning to recognize the signs and warnings of domestic abuse may help you or someone you love out of a situation that could otherwise end in tragedy.
When you think of domestic abuse, you may think of physical violence that includes punching, kicking or slapping, but emotional abuse can be just as harmful when it comes from your partner. This type of abuse may occur in a variety of ways and in both private and public, including:
- Criticizing/mocking your belief system
- Keeping you away from your family and friends
- Emotional manipulation
These actions may occur in tandem with each other in an attempt to keep you in your partner’s control.
Much like emotional abuse, mental abuse takes on many forms and happens so subtly that you might be unaware it is happening. One of the most common types of this abuse is known as gaslighting, where your partner speaks in a way that makes you question your own memories and perceptions. He or she may accuse you of imagining hurtful events or words, make you feel as though disagreements are always your fault or make statements that keep him or her in control of your relationship.
Domestic violence may include a combination of physical, emotional and mental abuse. Talking to a close friend or loved one could help you understand whether you are suffering and what steps you might take to stop the behavior.