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Abusive tactics in a relationship

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An abusive relationship does not mean only physical violence. Here is an advice about how you can judge such an abusive relationship. Read on to understand the other ways in which a person may be abused.

Domestic violence literally implies physical abuse. Yet, a relationship may turn abusive without the abuser having to resort to actual violence. In such a situation, the victim is suffering from spousal abuse. Abuse can strike both men and women in a relationship. However, women are five times more likely to be victims of spousal abuse. Abuse is also not confined to people belonging to a particular religion or strata of society.

How does a victim know if she is an abusive relationship? This is especially difficult if a victim does not encounter actual physical abuse. Here is a help to know some of the other tactics that abusers use to subjugate their victims.


The biggest factor that affects an abuser is control. An abuser needs to feel that he is in control of himself as well as the victim. This allows him to think that he is in charge of the relationship. One way of trying to keep the victim subjugated is to dominate every aspect of her life.

The abuser perceives his victim as not being capable of looking after herself. To ensure that he retains control over her, he will try to take over every aspect of her life. He will make decisions for the victim and the other members of the family without consulting them first. He will dictate terms to the victim and order her around, expecting her to obey without question. The abuser does not see the victim as his wife or partner. For him, she is nothing but a servant or possession.


Abusers enjoy tormenting their victims by humiliating them. Humiliation is not just harsh words said in the heat of the moment. It is a systematic and concerted effort to break down the victim mentally and emotionally. An abuser is always looking for ways to lower his victim's self-esteem. He will seek to destroy her confidence by constantly finding fault with everything she does.

The goal of the abuser is to make the victim believe that she is useless. This is because if the victim herself believes that no one else would want her, she is less likely to leave the relationship. Humiliation techniques include flinging insults at the victim and her family, making her behaviour seem shameful, finding fault with her, and publicly putting her down.


For an abuser, one of the most effective ways for him to gain control over his victim is to isolate her completely. By cutting her off from the outside world, he is increasing his victim's dependence on him. An abuser will seek to isolate his victim by preventing her from having any contact with her family and friends. This is not only restricted to physically meeting them. He will also not allow his victim to telephone or have any sort of communication with them.

The main reason an abuser attempts to isolate his victim is so that he can make her feel powerless. The abuser will tell his victim that he placing these restrictions on her for her own good or to keep her safe. However, he is actually attempting to control all her movements. The victim may eventually find herself having to ask her abuser for permission to go anywhere, meet people or perform any tasks. In extreme cases, the victim may not even be allowed to leave the house, unless accompanied by the abusive spouse.


An abuser will often use intimidation to keep his victim passive and prevent her from fighting back. He is looking to ensure that his victim remains in a submissive state. Some of these intimidation tactics are shouting, making threatening gestures, throwing objects around the room, displaying weapons, and destroying public or private property. Another often-used tactic is to harm family pets. The message behind these tactics is simple; If you do not listen to what I say, I will be forced to hurt you.

All these tactics are precursors to actual domestic violence. If a person finds herself in any of these situations, it is imperative that she try to seek counselling as soon as possible. This will help to keep her from being victimised.

What abusive tactics have you heard of in relationships? Should non-physical abuse also be treated as a crime? Do you support counselling sessions for offenders? To share your views and experiences,click here.

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