The Subtleties of Abuse

A helpful list

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

It can be difficult to know if someone is being abusive to you. Abuse can be subtle, especially in the beginning. Here’s a list to help you see red flags in your relationship.

  1. Obvious physical abuse. I won’t go into details since this is a sensitive and triggering topic.
  2. “Accidental” abuse, including biting during kissing, unwanted and/or painful physical contact disguised as sexual play, pulling hair, etc. This behavior continues even after you ask them not to do it again.
  3. Show of violence — throwing things, especially at something near you, breaking things, kicking in doors. They are trying to intimidate you physically to keep you in line and under their control.
  4. Controlling your freedom of movement — blocking you into a room, blocking you as you try to walk by, getting in your face during an argument. This can include making it difficult for you to leave the home by disabling your vehicle, keeping you pregnant or tied down with toddlers, etc.
  5. Spying on you in any way — watching your phone usage, tracking your movements through your phone, using a GPS tracker to see where you are at all times, asking friends or family to check on you and where you were. Why don’t they just ask you where you were and what you were doing? Also, they could be asking you about every move you make. Or you know that you have to give an account for everything you did while you were away from home.
  6. Financial control — restricting your access to mutual accounts. You may have a debit card but are afraid to buy anything without permission. They will either not pay bills or pay late so the utilities are interrupted. Not paying the rent or mortgage on time which puts you at risk of losing your home. They may keep you from having a job or way of making your own income. If you have a job they may take control of what you earn.
  7. Abuse of your children or pets or other loved ones to hurt you. This looks like an extreme reaction or punishment when you ask for their parenting help. They make you regret asking them to parent with you.
  8. They will use anything to hurt you physically or emotionally. They are good at doing little things that seem innocent on the surface. This is a pattern of…



Julia Freeman, Trauma Recovery Coach in training

I believe survivors of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence deserve to live in freedom and peace.