Relationship Abuse is simply and purely about power and control. It is a pattern of behaviour and perpetrators employ many tools and tactics to control their victim. Coercive control is present in almost all circumstances and it is very dangerous, tantamount to brain washing.
While not all Relationship Abuse is violent, violence in relationships never comes out of the blue but is the consequence, if it occurs, of other non-physical abuse. And that's the problem because non-physical abuse can be difficult to spot.
Some behaviours are dressed up as pseudo-caring behaviours with abusers being extremely charming and manipulative. This is what is known as coercive control. Many victims don't even know they are being controlled and, if asked directly, are likely to defend their perpetrator.
What are some of these behaviours. This list is not exhaustive but gives an indication of some of the behaviours to watch out for:
Intimidation & making you fearful including looks, gestures, damaging your belongings, abusing or threatening to abuse your children, family or pets: basically any behaviour that makes you feel like you need to walk on egg shells;
Emotional abuse by putting you down, telling you that you're worthless, calling you names, giving you the silent treatment, ignoring your needs or opinions and generally making you feel bad about yourself;
Controlling you with rules and regulations which are designed to demean, humiliate or degrade you;
Using isolation to prevent you from engaging with your family and friends, by monitoring who you see or where you go, or even from preventing you from working;
Not taking responsibility by making light of abuse, joking about it, blaming you for it or by denying it completely;
Using your child/ren and pets to make you feel guilty, bu threatening to hurt them or take them away from you;
Using 'privilege' to treat you as a servant, by defining your role in the home or in life and expecting you to do the bulk if not all the house work and childcare;
Financial control and abuse including controlling the family's finances, preventing you from looking for or keeping a job, making you ask for money or giving you an allowance;
Using coercion and threats including making or carrying out threats, threatening to leave you or commit suicides;
If you recognise any of these traits in your relationship, please seek support.
If you are in danger, please ring 000
If you need support, please ring 1800RESPECT
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