A Comprehensive Look At Physical and Non-Physical Abuse

Do you know the difference between the two?

Couple having an argument at home, woman trying to
Domino/ Stone/ Getty Images

Resources and Tips About Physical and Non-Physical Abuse in Relationships

Domestic abuse of any kind is about control. Whether the abuse is covert or overt, it is an immature reaction to a sense of helplessness and feelings of loss of control. An abuser will use either violent abuse or non-violent abuse to retain a feeling of control and keep their fears at bay.

There are many types of abuse a person can inflict upon their spouse. Abuse is either violent or non-violent in nature. Domestic abuse can leave you with either physical scars or emotional scares. Recognizing abuse for what it is and responding to it properly is imperative whether it is physical abuse, emotional abuse or verbal abuse.

Knowledge about why you are being abused and what the abuse is doing to you physically and emotionally is crucial if you ever wish to escape whatever is keeping you in such a destructive relationship.

Violent Forms of Abuse:

Physical abuse, being hit, pushed, shoved or kicked is what most people think of when they hear someone speak of domestic abuse. Physical abuse covers a broad range of behaviors that may include something as simple as pinching a spouse to something as frightening as choking or assaulting a spouse with a weapon.

Violent abuse is often thought to be worse than emotional or verbal abuse by some. No type of abuse should be discounted or thought to be less harmful. It is, however, imperative that you protect yourself if it is at all possible that you could be harmed physically or killed by a spouse or relationship partner. 

Below you will find links to information about physical abuse, how to protect yourself from it and how to leave a relationship in which you are being abused.

  • Are You Being Abused?
  • The Need to Control And It’s Relationship to Abuse
  • Types of Abuse
  • Negative Effects of Domestic Violence
  • Reasons People Stay In Abusive Relationships
  • Leaving an Abusive Relationship
  • What is a Restraining Order

Non-Violent Forms of Abuse:

Non-violent forms of abuse are sly and underhanded. Some examples of non-violent abuse would be withholding affection and intimacy, rolling their eyes when you state an opinion, constantly being late or forgetting and verbally demeaning you and your efforts.

Non-violent forms of abuse such as emotional abuse can cause the victim to question their own sanity. If the abuser is using gaslighting techniques, the victim can get to the point emotionally where they, quite literally, don't know up from down. 

If you are living in an atmosphere of fear, intimidation and unpredictability the links below will shed light on why you feel the way you feel.

  • Identify And Respond to Verbal Abuse
  • Are You a Victim of Emotional Abuse?
  • Withholding Sex as a Form of Punishment
  • Passive Aggressive Behavior, a Form of Covert Abuse
  • Recovering From Passive Aggressive Behavior

Leaving an Abusive Relationship:

Although removing yourself from an abusive situation can be difficult and at time dangerous it is possible. When preparing to leave it is important to have a plan and a good support system before making an actual move.

  • A 7 Step Plan For Leaving an Abusive Relationship
  • What is And How to Obtain a Restraining Order

If you are a victim of domestic violence and need assistance the first place you should seek help from is the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or, 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The link below offers resources such as state laws pertaining to domestic violence, programs offering assistance and other information to help victims and families of victims of domestic violence.

  • Help For Victims of Domestic Abuse