Regardless of who you are, where you’re from, or your background, no one deserves an abusive relationship. We understand that this is your significant other, and if they were abusive, you never would’ve stayed in a relationship with them, let alone married them. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the more subtle or uncommon signals of an abusive partner. It doesn’t always include violence. An abusive relationship can involve your significant other trying to control you or making you uncomfortable. Some spouses try to avoid the reality of an abusive relationship, or when they do notice the signs, they tell themselves, “They’re just having a bad day.” But not everything can be explained away with a bad day. Plus, there are several different types of domestic abuse. If you’d like to learn more, we’ve put together a guide for your reference below.
The most explicit form of domestic abuse is physical. If your partner is causing you physical harm, you need to get out of the situation. Physical abuse can include everything from pushing and shoving to hitting, slapping, restraining, or forcing sexual contact. While physical abuse is usually between partners, it doesn’t have to be. In extreme situations, pets and children may also become victims of physical abuse, which is even more unacceptable. Alternatively, your partner could have aggression problems and punch holes in the drywall or slam doors. In essence, any action that causes harm or intimidation can constitute physical abuse, often in conjunction with one of the following.
Controlling and intimidating behavior
Many individuals have partners with controlling personalities, which can be a form of domestic abuse. In any relationship, each person has the right to do what they want within reason. One sign of a controlling partner includes keeping you from having a social life. Everyone has friends that they want to go out with occasionally, but if your partner consistently keeps you from doing so, that’s a form of abuse. A controlling partner may become overly jealous and find ways to intimidate their significant other into only spending time with them. They might make threats or employ manipulation to prevent you from doing something they don’t want you to do. Threats they might make can include harming you, harming themself, or ending the relationship.
Another form of controlling behavior is what’s known as technological abuse. Since many of us frequently use our devices, controlling partners may demand to see your phone, text messages, emails, and passwords to social media, none of which is normal behavior. In extreme cases, some partners will hack into the other person’s devices and go through their personal information behind their back. Additionally, some individuals will put a GPS tracker on their partner’s devices, cars, or personal belongings. Healthy, loving relationships depend on trust, and if your significant other won’t trust you, then you probably can’t trust them.
Emotional and verbal abuse
One of the most common forms of domestic abuse is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to a partner speaking to you or treating you in a way that forces you to act the way they want. Much like controlling behavior, many emotional abusers are seeking control over their partners. It’s not uncommon for an emotionally abusive partner to call their significant other names or insult their appearance or personality. In other words, emotional abuse is often verbal communication that leads to tearing the other person down. The end goal of most emotional abusers is to try to make their partners feel less than so that that partner feels helpless without them.
Financial abuse has a wide range of possibilities. If you’re married, your spouse could be the primary income source with insurance, and an abusive spouse might keep those assets or that insurance from you. Being financially dependent on anyone is a risk, but this is especially true in abusive relationships. Naturally, you might want to begin building your savings and find a job, but your partner might keep you from working or make working difficult. An abusive partner might keep you from receiving the education you need for a better job, or they might harass you at work. In the case that you’re married, your partner may attempt to intentionally damage your credit score by taking on more debt or maxing out credit cards in your name. Financial abuse is one of the most difficult forms of domestic abuse to notice because much of it occurs behind closed doors.
Keeping you from practicing your basic rights as a U.S. citizen
Some abusive partners will go as far as attacking and retaining access to the rights that our founding fathers worked so hard to earn us. An abusive partner may keep you from speaking openly by having you followed or denying you access to a phone or computer. Other abusive partners might keep you from practicing your desired religion or attending your place of worship. As an American citizen, you have every right to do these things, and your partner shouldn’t stop you.
You’ve probably noticed a common theme throughout many of the different types of domestic abuse––the abusive partner often seeks control. Unfortunately, some individuals fall into the “helpless without the controller” trap and find themselves in denial about the abuse. There are two reasons many people deny their abuse. First, they’ve experienced their partner’s hurtful words and actions for so long that they’ve begun to believe they deserve it. Furthermore, and this goes for all types of abuse, no one wants to believe they’re in an abusive relationship. However, facing the truth and admitting that you need to get out of the relationship is the first step to a better you. Once an abuse victim has accepted the unfortunate reality for what it is, the next step is to get an attorney involved immediately. Those who are trying to escape an abusive relationship, in particular, should seek a domestic violence attorney.
For the best domestic violence lawyers in Chicago and surrounding areas, look no further than Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP. Our attorneys take immense pride in serving our clients and always working in their best interests. Between our education and experience, we will help you navigate your options and help you get back on your feet in a safe and healthy environment. If you have any questions or would like to begin a consultation, contact us today.