Are You Suffering from Abuse? How to Recognize Its Many Forms

A dear friend of mine recently opened up to me about the years of abuse she had been enduring. As she shared her experiences and story with me, it became obvious that one of the worst forms of abuse she suffered had been psychological in nature because it had eroded her self-worth to the point that she no longer recognized the many other forms of abuse she had been subjected to.

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I heard her tell me she had started to believe that she was the stupid, worthless, ugly person her husband had been telling her she was. As she shared more and more details, I informed her that these things she had begun to accept as “normal” were not normal at all; many were criminal behaviors while all of the behaviors constituted abuse.

But to her they had become a way of life that gradually eroded her happiness (she was one of the happiest people I ever knew) and left her with little self esteem. She had become enslaved to this monster of a man who mistreated her at every turn.

Hearing her story made me realize that there are countless other people who don’t recognize the many guises of domestic violence. Most people still think domestic violence takes the shape of beatings or sexual assault, which of course it does, but there are so many other forms of domestic violence.

I decided to share information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline and The Duluth Model about the many forms of domestic violence in an effort to empower readers. It is my hope that anyone suffering from domestic violence find freedom from its clutches. Based on the information presented by these organizations, as well as information from the United States Department of Justice, here are some of the many forms of domestic violence:


Photo: Copyright The Duluth Model


Physical Abuse

Any type of unwanted physical touching, beating, slapping, hair pulling, holding someone down, burning someone, are all forms of physical abuse. This is not a complete list of possible forms of physical abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Based on the United States Department of Justice information, sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Obviously, that includes rape but any form of forced sexual touching, including groping a person or grinding against someone without their consent also fits the definition of the criminal act.

Using Coercion and Threats

Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt a person; threatening to leave a person or commit suicide, or to report a person to welfare; making a person drop charges; and making a person do illegal things.

Using Intimidation

Making a person afraid by using looks, actions, gestures; smashing things; destroying her/his property; abusing pets; and displaying weapons.

Using Emotional Abuse

Putting a person down, making a person feel bad about herself/himself; calling a person names; making a person think she’s/he’s crazy; playing mind games; humiliating a person or making her/him feel guilty.

Using Isolation

Controlling what she/he does, who she/he sees or talks to, what she/he reads, where he/she goes; limiting her/his outside involvement; using jealously to justify actions.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

Making light of the abuse and not taking her/his concerns about it seriously; saying the abuse didn’t happen; shifting responsibility for abusive behavior; and saying she/he caused it.

Using Children

Making her/him feel guilty about the children; using the children to relay messages; using visitation to harass her/him; and threatening to take the children away.

Using Male Privilege

Treating her/him like a servant; making all the big decisions; acting like the “master of the castle”; and being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.

Using Economic Abuse

Preventing her/him from getting or keeping a job or business; making a person ask for money; giving a person an allowance; taking her/his money; and not letting her/him know about or have access to family income.

It is only when we recognize abuse in its many forms that we can find freedom from its damaging effects. If you are being abused, please seek help from The National Domestic Violence Hotline which you can reach at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Even if you have been made to feel worthless, please know that you are a worthwhile human being who does not deserve to be abused or mistreated in any way.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada and Scentsational Wellness, and a best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your LifeFollow her work.



Leo C
Leo C6 days ago

Thank you for posting!

Patricia A
Past Member 6 days ago

thanks for sharing

Leo C
Leo C10 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Leo C
Leo C13 days ago

thank you for sharing!

B B14 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Vincent T
Vincent T14 days ago


Leo C
Leo C17 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Daniel N
Daniel N21 days ago

thanks for sharing

Sarah A
Sarah A23 days ago

thank you

Amparo Fabiana C
Amparo Fabiana C23 days ago

Wow, stay woke, help them.