Not all relationships work that way no matter how much we might want them to. When there is violence, the relationship can become really destructive which can make it both physically and emotionally dangerous. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Slapping, hitting, and kicking are forms of physical abuse that can occur in both romances and friendships. Emotional abuse, like teasing, bullying, and humiliating others can be difficult to recognize because it doesn’t leave any visible scars. Threats, intimidation, putdowns, and betrayal are all harmful forms of emotional abuse that can really hurt not just during the time it’s happening, but long after too. Sometimes, abusive relationships are easy to identify because some of the abuse may be very subtle. In general, abusive relationships have a serious power imbalance, with the abuser controlling or attempting to control most aspects of life.
While appearing to be powerful, abusive individuals are often very dependent upon their partners for their sense of self-esteem. Sometimes they expect their partners to take care of day to day tasks which most adults handle for themselves. Abusive partners often feel powerless in the larger world. The relationship may be the only place where they feel a sense of power. Attacking their partner’s abilities or sense of self-worth is one way that abusive individuals maintain a sense of power, esteem, and control. At a deep emotional level, abusers often feels that they are not good enough and fear abandonment. By keeping their partners in a fearful or dependent state, they attempt to ensure that their partners will not leave them.
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