Saturday, April 19, 2008

Are you under someone's control? Recognizing Abusive Behavior

In a previous article, I mentioned that abuse is not always physical. It can start with mind play, a.k.a. emotional abuse. Threats and manipulations delivered to the victim increases until the victim becomes passive, withdrawn and emotionless. Victims try to protect themselves by not doing anything so that it doesn't provoke anger from the abuser. It's hard to realize how serious it is when a person is emotionally out of control and when the victim turns numb to the absence of controlling behavior. Emotionally-abusive partners do the following:

  • Stalking or following your every move
  • Intimidation: Threatening to kill himself when he doesn't get his way
  • Freewheeling spending resulting in placing the other person in debt
  • Puts you down and says you can't do anything right, derogatory name calling
  • Destroy a family heirloom or harms the family pet
  • Isolates the other from friends and family
  • Gives unexpected gifts, makes unwanted phone calls and unannounced visits
  • Frequently questions and interrogates about where you were and who you were with
  • Accuses the other of inappropriate behavior or having an affair
  • Sexually assaultive: Forces the partner to engage in unwanted sexual acts.
Men who batter are seeking a sense of power or control over their partners. Some men batter because it is the only way they know how to be close to or relate to a partner. Sometimes a batterer is very dependent upon the woman and any signs or movement towards the woman's independence is considered a threat.

Victims of psychological or emotional abuse may even begin to believe they are stupid, useless or deserve the way they are being treated. Feelings of inadequacy makes the victim tolerate the abuser and therefore both continue to persist in the cycle of abuse.

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