Many people experience abuses in relationships which become a pattern of behaviors from one partner. That partner’s goal is to gain and maintain power or control over their partner in one way or another. There is a general misunderstanding when talking about abusive relationships. Most people think of abuse as physical violence but that’s not the case. There are other forms of abuse that can occur in a relationship.
Types of Abuse
Here are the types of abuse that could occur in a relationship:
– Physical Abuse – an intentional and unwanted contact such as punching, scratching, biting, pulling hair, grabbing clothing, etc. towards one or the other partner’s body or something close to it. Even if the abusive behavior isn’t painful and causes any type of scars or bruises, it’s still unhealthy.
– Emotional/Verbal Abuse – typically includes non-physical behaviors like insults, treats, constant monitoring, humiliating, intimidation, isolation, excessive texting, or stalking.
– Sexual Abuse – any type of action which is pressuring or forcing the partner to do something sexually that they haven’t consented to. This can include actions such as forcing the partner to do sexual activities such as anal or oral sex, raping the partner, or restricting access to condoms or birth control. Consent is crucial and it doesn’t mean that the partner agreed to something if they didn’t say no. Even if they don’t resist an action or approach doesn’t mean that they agreed or want to do it. Sexual abuse can also occur when one partner is either intoxicated or under other substances. Being under substances can impair one’s mind and cannot give consent. If a person takes advantage of them while intoxicated or under other substances, then that person is abusing the other.
– Financial Abuse – when it comes to this kind of abuse, it can be very subtle. Financial abuse can include actions like telling the partner what he/she can or can’t buy or insisting on sharing bank accounts. Whether you’re dating someone or are married to them, they don’t have any right to use your money or control you how to spend it.
– Digital Abuse – with the modernization of the world, everything became digital. Many people live lives on social media and share their everyday actions. This abuse uses these technologies (social networks and texting) to bully, stalk, harass, or intimidate a partner. This abuse is connected with emotional and verbal abuse but through the internet.
– Stalking – usually occurs when one person or partner constantly or repeatedly follows, watches, or harasses you. During these actions from your partner, you feel very unsafe and afraid.
In a healthy relationship, both partners need to feel the support and connection toward each other. However, they also need to feel independent. The two major components in a healthy relationship are boundaries and communication. Both people in the relationship need to decide what is healthy and what’s not healthy. If there is any action that doesn’t feel right or one partner doesn’t want, then both partners need to communicate to solve this and make a compromise if possible.
Another very important component of a healthy relationship is consent. Both partners need to openly talk to each other and know what they want and what they are looking for. If both partners say ‘yes’ to an action, then consent is given.
Both partners need to openly and constantly look and ask for consent. It’s bad to assume that consent is given when it hasn’t been. Even if one partner consented and act before, it does not mean that they consent to it every time.
Whether it’s marriage, friendship, or dating, never assume consent by yourself. Always insist on getting consent from a partner. Remember, consent can always be taken back at any time. The person might have been uncomfortable before or during the act so if they say to stop, you should stop the action at once.