What is an abusive relationship…
Abusive in relationships is a topic that we may find ourselves falling down a large rabbit hole as we start to uncover it all, but for the focus of this blog I will keep it at a high overview level.
Let’s start with a defining what is abuse, as for many this can vary, dictionary.com defines abuse
abuse [verb uh–byooz; noun uh–byoos]
- to use wrongly or improperly; misuse:to abuse one’s authority.
- to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way:to abuse a horse; to abuse one’s eyesight.
- to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
So this gives us an overview of abuse, but how does it show up in relationships? It can take on many forms and they are all similar but different and if I was to rank them then I’d say there is a clear winner on which form of abuse is the worst kind. And it might not be what you think, stay turned to find out my thoughts at the end. For now here are the main categories that I’ll be covering in this blog.
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
Perhaps you know someone who has experienced on or many of these forms of abuse, perhaps it’s been yourself? Either way one of the things I see happening a lot is that these fall under the umbrella of topics that many feel are taboo to speak of. Yet it’s more common than you think it might be and for many of the women I coach and mentor they beat themselves about it asking themselves “how could I be so silly to ‘be that girl’ I know better!”
So let’s jump straight in.
What is Physical Abuse?
As the name implies it is when any form of physical encounter takes place, for many of the women I have spoken to they will explain how they have had their head pushed against the wall by their partner, have been dragged down stairs by their hair or more commonly pushed/hit.
All of this is pretty obvious as to how you know if you’re in an abusive relationship right? AND you would think it would trigger enough alarm bells to pack up and walk away from the relationship? Yet for many women they stay, for some it’s the fear of what he will do to me if I left that keeps them in the relationship and for others (and probably more dangerous) is they justify why it was ok, why they ‘deserved’ it or ‘why it wasn’t REALLY him….’ All of these are BS stories that are keeping these women from actually seeing the red flags that are in front of them! This is the real issue, a topic I will dive into in another blog. For now we’ll keep moving.
(NOTE: Ladies, if you’re stuck in this cycle of justifying staying with an abusive partner -> click HERE to schedule a free clarity call with myself for coaching support through it.)
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse as a topic is very broad, although can be covered as any physical touch that is deemed by the individual to be of a sexual nature and outside of what they are comfortable with. Again this isn’t a topic I will dive too deep in here and will create a new blog focus on the deep dive into the topic.
Sexual abuse doesn’t have to mean unconnected / forced sexual acts ie sexual penetration of any kind, touching of sexual places or forced to do any of these to another person.
Sexual abuse isn’t just about someone (man OR women) forcing you to receive the unconnected activities but also you being forced to perform them on someone else that you don’t want to.
There are some grey area’s in this topic, one to bring light to when I refer to sexual abuse, I’m not referring to consented sexual activities that you later regret. Assuming during the sexual activity you were in full consent, if however it started with your consent and then during it you no longer consented to the activities, this I am referring to as sexual abuse. And of course if at no time it was consensual than this comes under the category of sexual abuse.
(NOTE: Ladies, if you have been a victim of sexual abuse and are finding it impacting your life -> click HERE to schedule a free clarity call with myself for coaching support through it.)
What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse comes down to personal boundaries, life experience, belief systems and a number of other factors that allows a clean definition of what it is. As for one woman an interaction might not be classed as emotional abuse, yet for another woman she might feel it to be emotional abuse.
So let’s create an overarching definition or way of classing what ’emotional abuse’ is.
“Emotional abuse is any interaction with another person that leaves you feeling disrespected, unappreciated and questioning your value or worth.”
Heck even in that there are a number of grey area’s such as if you’re in a consensual conversation and the other person is providing you with feedback that might trigger any of the above then I’m not classing this as emotional abuse. I am classing any remark that is unwarranted and aimed as a way of breaking you down and inflate the other persons ego as emotional abuse.
Hopefully we’re on the same page with this and again I will dive deeper into this in its own blog. Although some insights are shared in this blog ‘He doesn’t REALLY want to change’.
(NOTE: Ladies, if you have been in or are in an emotional abusive relationship and feel like you’re broken. -> click HERE to schedule a free clarity call with myself for coaching support through it.)
What form of abuse is the worst?
At the start I mentioned that not all abuse that shows up in an abusive relationship are the same. Now that we’ve outlined an over arching understanding of what physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse is let me dive into why not all abuse is the same.
Whilst they are different in definition there is a large factor that brings both physical abuse and sexual abuse into the same category. They are both physical events in time that are hard to ignore when they took place. What I mean by this is that victims of physical abuse or sexual abuse are consciously aware when the event took place. Even if they mentally checked out they are still aware of it happening. This can be beneficial to victims of either physical abuse or sexual abuse because it allows them to then disassociate from the event in their memory. They are able to compartmentalize their life and ‘act as though it never happened’ at least to the best of their ability they can push the memory aside and push it down choosing to this method as a coping strategy to be able to have their focus on their life at present.
Where as emotional abuse isn’t so obvious! I like to refer to it as being similar to the weeds that grow in your garden. You don’t know they are there growing until it’s too late and your garden is taken over by weeds. Emotional abuse is very much like this! With every small comment being one small weed that is slowly growing. Then one day you start to question
if what you’re being told is actually true about you. All those comments that many women I work with have experienced – being told they aren’t lovable, they are broken, lucky to have their current partner or simply worthless.
When the self belief barriers are broken down by the consistent attack of these seemingly ‘harmless’ comments this is around the time the weeds are taking over the garden. They self belief system starts to switch from ‘I know who I am!’ to ‘Who am I?’.
It’s for this reason I find emotional abuse to be the form of abuse that is most detrimental to a woman’s life. As it targets her internal processing system ie subconscious mind and slowly the thoughts she knows to be true about herself are being replaced by those false projections from other insecure people around her.
SO if you’re a woman struggling with any one of these forms of relationship abuse than I encourage you to schedule a free clarity call with myself straight away.
As if you’re here now reading this then it’s evidence that this issue has been lingering around for you for some time now. Don’t you feel it’s time to be free of it and rekindle that beautiful bright shining internal light that you know you have?
AND if you know any gf’s that are going through this and are needing this support than I encourage you to share this blog with them.