Many people living in abusive relationships say they were glad when their partner first hit them. Now, I don’t mean glad in the “happy” sense. I mean “glad” in the “thank God for helping me see” sense.
Physical Abuse Shakes You Awake
If you are hit, slapped, shoved, kicked, or subjected to any kind of physical force by your partner, you more likely see it for what it is. That is “more likely” compared to how you recognize, or don’t recognize, other forms of abuse (financial, sexual, mental and emotional abuse).
The light may go “on” and you realize, “This is abuse!” At first, all you see is the physical abuse. However, domestic abuse in all its layers has been there all along. You’ve lived in (and with) this full enigma and didn’t recognize it for what it is until the day it became physical.
This Is Abuse?
Each time I see a patient awaken to the fact that they are in an abusive relationship, they find comfort in identifying the mental, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial forms of abuse. It’s as though they can say to themselves, “No wonder this hurts; it is abusive!”
Domestic Abuse and Social Violation
Central to understanding domestic abuse is recognizing the violation. This is why it is so much easier when we are talking about physical abuse.
If your partner forcibly violates your physical body with a physical assault, you know you got hit. A part of you may choose to minimize, rationalize or distort what actually happened. But, the fact remains…you got hit! And a serious violation has occurred.
Equally serious, yet more difficult for many people to recognize, are the “non-physical” forms of abuse. For example, let’s say your partner is requesting that you engage in some sexual activity that you do not desire. And the request becomes a plea…a demand…something forced upon you at all cost.
Your participation is clearly your responsibility and the part that you must be accountable for… And your partner’s pressure, demands and insistence against your will represent the violation…and absence of honoring you. When you see the core violation with respect to the absence of honoring you, the light goes “on,” and the abuse/control/violation becomes clear.
If you are wondering whether you are in an abusive relationship, take a hard and honest look at the many dimensions of your interaction with your partner. Be mindful of your experience. Ask yourself if you are honored and respected by your partner. Your knee-jerk reaction to this thought holds a wealth of information for you.
For more information about domestic abuse signs, visit www.preventabusiverelationships.com/identify_domestic_abuse.php and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention