3 Types of Abuse and How to Escape It: Words do Count.


Hello all,

A few weeks ago I talked to you guys about a book I recently began reading again called Games People Play. Find it at the end of the post if you would like read it. Some of you reached out to me and told me a little about your relationships and your concerns that The Marriage Blame Game (link here ) was being constantly played in your relationships. You feared that your partner was using blaming as a way to manipulate your actions. Although it may be easier for me to give advice based on what I think I know about this type of behavior, I want my blog to provide you with as much credible and researched information so that you may go back and reference it at your convenience.

All that being said, I wanted to focus this blog post on TYPES OF ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIPS. Maybe some of you may have heard of most or even all of these… but this information is aimed to help those who may need reminders of the types of behaviors that can lead to unhealthy and unstable relationships. We will discuss the following types of abuse: physical abuse which includes sexual abuse, psychological abuse which can include emotional and verbal abuse, and economic abuse. Many people relate or attribute abuse to hitting or pushing because some of us have been taught that abuse simply refers to physical abuse and that words do not count. Lets explore why this is not always the case.

First lets define what Domestic Abuse/Violence is what the Statistics are in the United States alone.

Domestic abuse or abuse in relationships may include violence or violent acts that cause harm. This harm does not have to be physical. The abuser uses different tactics in order to gain control over another person or person’s. Although domestic abuse refers to abuse that occurs in the home, abuse in relationships can occur among two people not sharing the same home.

  • Although statistics may vary by state or by country, according to a 2011 survey reported by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 MILLION men and women suffer physical abuse every year. Others report that number is nearing 12 MILLION (Huffington Post, 2012).
  • More than 20,000 phone calls are placed on an average day to domestic violence hotlines (NCADV.org)
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are reportedly at a higher risk (NCADV.org).
  • 90% of children who have been involved in domestic abuse are the observers. That is, they may not always be physically abused or victimized directly, but they have seen it happen in their home (NCADV.org)

*You can find national reports and statistics by visiting the website ncadv.org

Types of Abuse

*You may find that some of the types of abuse listed below have been grouped in categories. Some sources separate each while some group them together due to the similarities or overlapping behaviors in some types.

Physical Abuse including Sexual abuse:

Like mentioned, Physical abuse is the most common form of domestic abuse. This type of abuse includes sexual abuse, or any type of abuse that causes bodily harm. It can lead to loss of health or loss of life. Examples include: Hitting, pushing, physical force, sexual abuse, sexual assault, pulling hair, putting your hands on someone without permission or in a forceful manner with the intention to cause harm or gain control over the victim. Physical abuse is commonly accompanied by other types of abuse listed here. Sexual abuse and physical abuse can at times be classified into different types of abuse, but the physical component of sexual abuse qualifies it as a type of physical abuse.

Psychological Abuse including Verbal abuse and Emotional Abuse

Psychological abuse is any type of abuse in which the abuser uses verbal or non-verbal behavior to manipulate another’s behavior, thoughts, or feelings. This type of abuse can be partnered with other types of abuse such as sexual abuse and physical abuse. Emotional abuse and verbal abuse are typically used with the intention to make the victim feel bad and the words may be seen as abusive if they negatively affect the victim’s emotions and mental stability. Examples of this type of abuse are: humiliating the victim either in private or in public by calling them names or belittling them. The words may be used to attack the victim’s physical appearance or self-worth: You may hear things like, “You are so fat nobody would want you.” “You are lucky to have me.” “You are worthless and cannot do anything right.” Psychological and emotional abuse may also include isolation from friends and family as a way to control what the victim hears or tells others and as a result diminishes the potential for “saving” or help from others.

Economic/ Financial Abuse

Some have grouped economic abuse in other types of abuse, but I think it is necessary to explain more in detail what this type of abuse may look like. Emotional abuse can be used in order to control the victim by withholding or restricting money or financial assets, or earning opportunities. The abuser may not allow the victim to make his or her own money or may limit what they can spend it on. The victim then becomes dependent on the abuser and leaving him or her would mean they would have limited financial stability. I wanted to mention this type of abuse because victims of domestic abuse typically hide their abuse and many may not have financial stability because they are dependent on their partner or caretaker. This causes an immense fear and leaving their abuser becomes harder.

*Note: Any and all types of abuse may be centered or arise from the need to control and are typically powered by manipulation and fear instilling tactics.

  • Fear is used to gain control in a relationship.
  • The abuser may resort to manipulation tactics such as using blame to relieve themselves of any responsibility for their actions.
  • They may blame the victim for the abuse by stating that the victim “makes them do it.”
  • Physical abuse is not always present in all cases of domestic abuse, but when it does exist it does not exist alone.

Effects of Abuse: Now and Later

  • Domestic abuse and victimization may lead to cases of depression and suicidal behavior in victims and observers (NCADV.org)
  • Children exposed to or who have been victimized are more likely to repeat the observed patterns of behaviors in their adulthood. This may lead them to seek or create unhealthy relationships or to victimize their own children or partners.
    • This can be do to many factors not limited to: increased exposure  may lead to normalization of behavior; they may become desensitized and may believe that it is a normal part of a relationship.
  • Victims of child abuse may be at a higher risk for mental health problems and substance abuse.
  • Physical abuse may lead to death in severe cases.
  • Abuse may also lead to unwanted pregnancies, health complications, PTSD, Anxiety, and other neurological disorders. (NCADV.org)

Who are the victims?

This is very important. Typically women and children are seen and described as victims of domestic abuse or violence. Children and persons with disabilities are at a higher risk for abuse. The truth is that MEN can also be victims of any type of abuse but because of the stigma or possible ridicule from others, they may fail to report it. Like I mentioned above, women and children may be at a higher risk for victimization, but men who fall into this category of abuse are also victims and for that same reason they should also be supported and protected. Abuse is abuse despite of age, gender, or any other variables that can often be susceptible to discrimination.

How and Where to Seek Help

How: Domestic abuse and violence may not always be an easy escape. Abusers build a very strong barrier between their home life and their public life. The victim may fear what may happen if they leave. They may feel fear for the safety of themselves or their children. The first step is to recognize the existence of abuse. Abuse is not a normal part of a relationship, and the law protects you. Use this to your benefit.


  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)
  • TheHotline.org
  • TTY 1-800-787-3224
  • Visit sites like the ones listed below that provide you with more resources and help. Many of these sites have a “quick escape” option that allows you to leave the site immediately in order to protect you
  • Contact the local authorities
  • Seek support groups that can help you with the transition out of violence and abuse. Find a family member or friend that can help you plan

Get informed!!! Read the sources below.

Thank you all for reading. Please share, comment or simply use this information to help someone you may think needs it. As always I would love to hear what you are interested in learning about, or share your stories with me and I can publish them with your permission on “Once Upon A Mind.” click for page here

If you would like to read the book I mentioned above I will provide a link below. Disclaimer: If you would like to read this book I highly recommend it. Follow the direct link to purchase through Amazon. I may receive monetary compensation or small commission from sales acquired using the direct link. The opinions expressed regarding this book are genuine and I have read the book myself and continue to read it daily.


References and Other Electronic Sources

-Milletich, R., Kelley, M., Doane, A., & Pearson, M. (2010). Exposure to Interparental Violence and Childhood Physical and Emotional Abuse as Related to Physical Aggression in Undergraduate Dating Relationships.Journal Of Family Violence25(7), 627-637. doi:10.1007/s10896-010-9319-3

-https://ncadv.org/statistics – NCADV. (2015) Domestic Violence national statistics. Retrieved from www.ncadv.org

-Raes, F., & Hermans, D. (2008). On the mediating role of subtypes of rumination in the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and depressed mood: brooding versus reflection. Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269)25(12), 1067-1070. doi:10.1002/da.20447

Visit The American Psychological Association, The World Health Association, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about statistics

Here are some links to these sources:




Look on Twitter with the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou for more stories of abuse

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11 Responses to 3 Types of Abuse and How to Escape It: Words do Count.

  1. Mayra says:

    Good post. It’s sad how many cases there are in the world. Thanks Elena.

  2. joleisa says:

    I have shed so many tears just thinking about the abuse that people experience in this life, I don’t know if I am strange but it always occurs to me that at all times, somewhere in this world, someone is being abused. This is because of the extent of it. God help us to be there for each other.

    • Joleisa, I often think about it too. There truly is so much suffering. That’s is why I am thankful when people share their stories and manage to break away from it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  3. Kristi says:

    The sad part is, most of us in abusive relationships, particularly ones that are emotional in nature, are the ones we are oblivious to. Having been there myself, I really had no idea that I was being abused. It took me years to recognize it, and it’s taking me a long time to recovery from it through therapy. Thank you for raising awareness about the different kinds of abuse because the toll any form takes on a person is HUGE!

    • Thank you Kristi for reading and sharing a little of your experience with this topic. You are right that any form of abuse can have very lasting consequences. Thank you for sharing this post as well.

  4. Anissa says:

    Very touching post that hits home for a lot of people. I see it often in my line of work. Thank you for sharing reading

  5. You are right. Your statistical figures are correct. The effect of the abuse is totally horrible. I know a friend who has yaken this abuse to his marital life and its causing problems for the person. We live in an extremely sensitive world bow and times have really changed a lot.

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