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How are abusive relationships categorized?

Some people can be confused as to what constitutes abuse so I’ve written this article as a check list to see if what's happening in your relationship is abuse or not. First of all, there’s no one category for abusive relationships - rather a number of sub-categories is required.

The 3 main categories are emotional, physical and sexual. In considering abusive relationships it’s important to understand what is at the heart of the problem - control. The abuser wants to control his victim and uses any means available to him to obtain this.

Research has shown that in abusive relationships; it's the male that is usually the abuser. Women can be abusers but its much less common.

The 3 Types Of Abusive Relationships

In considering the different categories of abusive relationships it's important to know that some abusive relationships can be a combination of two or more and not just confined to one type.

  1. Emotionally abusive relationships: Emotionally abusive relationships are where one partner constantly puts down and criticizes the other. The abuser can ignore you, call you names or insult in other ways. It also involves controlling the other partner in preventing them from meeting their friends or family as regularly as they'd like. It also includes a partner who threatens to hurt you or himself in the event of you leaving him.

  2. Physically abusive relationships: This is the easiest of the abusive relationships types to identify but it's not necessarily the most damaging. Some would conclude that emotionally abusive relationships are the worst. In physically abusive relationships, the abuser tries to gain control of their partner through striking, pushing, kicking or slapping them. One should know that threatening to hurt someone is categorized as a criminal offense as well as actually doing it.

  3. Sexually abusive relationships: This involves the abuser putting pressure on his partner to engage in sexual acts that their partner doesn't want to engage in. Often sexual abuse comes in conjunction with emotional abuse. Here the abuser accuses you of not really loving him to make you engage in the sexual acts he wants. Sexually abusive relationships also often see one partner taken unfair advantage of while being intoxicated or on drugs.

In trying to distinguish whether you're being abused or not it’s important to know that abusers will often excuse their behavior as being as a result of their "intense love for you". But abusive relationships are never the product of love – they are the product of the abusers need for control over his partner.

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