When discussing the topic of romantic relationships, people often inquire about the characteristics of an abusive relationship. It is important not only to know the characteristics of an abusive relationship but it is equally important to know what constitutes a healthy relationship. A health relationship has been defined as one where it functions to increase self esteem of both participants in the relationship. An abusive relationship is one in which the victim’s sense of self is diminished. Let’s look closer at the characteristics of both types of relationships.
- Partnership: There is shared responsibility.
- Economic equality: Freedom exists related to issues of work, school, and money.
- Emotional Honesty: Both parties feel safe to share fears and insecurities.
- Sexual Respect: Accepts that no means no.
- Physical Safety: Respects partner’s space and discusses issues without violence.
- Supportive/Trusting: Listens and understands, values partner’s opinion, and sensitive to other’s needs.
- Domination: Abuser decides. Servant-Master relationship.
- Economic Control: Withholds money.
- Emotional Manipulation: Uses jealousy, passion, and stress to justify actions.
- Sexual Abuse: Treats partners as sex object.
- Physical Abuse: Hit, choke, kick, punch, pull hair, twist arms, trip, bite.
- Controlling: Isolates partner from friends.
- Intimidating: Charming in public but menacing in private.
The behaviors listed above are not comprehensive. The information should simply serve as a brief overview and to encourage the reader to seek more information.
For further information on the topic of domestic violence, there are many websites that can provide comprehensive information including but not limited to: http://www.thehotline.org; and http://www.ncadv.org.
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