When we think about abuse in a household, we immediately account for physical violence. Perhaps that is because we see visible wounds, bruises, and scars. However, that is not often where abuse starts or ends. Different types of violence are not limited to physical aspects only. It can be mental, emotional, and everything in between. For us to address it, we must first understand what constitutes as abuse so that we can know what we can do about it, especially if we realize that we are being abused.
Physical Violence – Physical violence is a common type of abuse that abusers practice in a household. It is their way of getting what they want when their words do not seem to work. Abusers resort to violence every time there is refusal from family members. Usually, physical abuse often starts with a strong grip in the arm, a slap on the face, and a forceful pull of the hands. There is hitting, choking, pushing, tripping, and throwing things as well. Eventually, when they get used to the habit of physically assaulting people in the household, the abusers end up, ultimately beating up their victims. Sometimes, they even kill them.
Controlling Behavior – In most abusive family relationships, especially on married couples, the abusers often control every aspect of their partners’ lives. Usually, it involves invading of privacy such as wanting to know who they are talking to, where they are going, or who they are planning to meet up with. Sometimes, it also flows in controlling what they should and shouldn’t wear, and how they should respond to requests and favors. Some of these include asking for frequent text on certain intervals when out or requiring to send pictures for time stamp. The abusers do not take days off in controlling their victims’ lives.
Guilt Trips – It is a strategy that abusers often do to their victims to get their way. Usually, they use the phrase “if you love me, you would or wouldn’t do this.” This guilt trip method aims to make the family members feel bad for letting the abusers down. Typically, this strategy targets the emotional aspect of individuals. As a result, the people in the household give in to whatever the abusers want. Guilt trips work best when family members unintentionally make the abusers feel sad and lonely. From there, they end up doing all sorts of favors to make the abusers feel better.
Intense Humiliation – Humiliation often happens in a household, especially when one person is in control of everyone. It is a behavior that can be done in front of other people or the public. It usually serves as a tactic to keep the victims down. The abusers’ goal is to make the victims feel weak and vulnerable so that they won’t find a chance to stand up for themselves. In a family scenario, usually, the father often turns out to be the abuser. That is because they have the authority to feel entitled in handling people in the family.
Blaming Game – Abusers are manipulative, and they will use this tactic to force their victims to take responsibility for hurting them. It is a strategy that pushes the family members to focus on prioritizing the abusers’ desires and needs. It makes them put the abusers’ happiness above all. It is an action that often makes people feel that everything that disappoints the abusers is their entire fault. In a normal situation, the blaming game works typically, especially when there are pressure and retaliation.
Use Of Ultimatums – Ultimatums are the abusers’ lucky card. It is often put on the table to get the family members to say yes all the time. It is an offensive strategy that uses force without laying a hand. The abusers hold something from their victims and use it to gain absolute control over the situation. Ultimatums target the emotional aspects that make the line “if you leave, I will kill myself” very useful. Abusers find this strategy pleasurable because of the less effort they have to put up with it. Thus, members of the family begin to do things they don’t want to do.
Bad Temper – One of the red flags of abuse is bad temper. Usually, the abusers will just blow up over something that is not even a big deal. It is not as simple as having anger issues but is another form of manipulation. The goal of this behavior is to scare the victims to become more obedient and subservient. Usually, abusers know that this tactic works, and perhaps it is the most apparent signs that family members should watch out for.
These are not the only red flags of family abuse. But if these things are something in your household, it feels like emotional and mental torture, find the courage to seek help immediately.