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Domestic abuse often escalates from verbal abuse to violence. As a result, the victim suffers not only from physical injury, but also from severe emotional and psychological caused.
Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-esteem, lead to depression, and give you a sense of helplessness. Recognizing that your situation is abusive is the first step to being free.

Signs indicative of an abusive relationship

Feelings of self-loathing, feelings of helplessness, feelings of desperation, fear of your partner, walking on eggshells around your partner, constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up, your partner belittles you, your partner controls you.

Below you will find the common TACTICS abusers adhere to in order to exercise their control

Dominance - Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They tell you what to do all the time and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.

Humiliation - An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself. Such an individual makes you feel worthless and not appreciated by anyone for you not to dump the current relationships. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public belittlement are all artillery of abuse.
Isolation - To increase your dependence on him/her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world by keeping you from seeing friends and family, or even prevent you from going to work.

Threats - Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, or other family members, and may threaten to report you to child services.

Intimidation - Such a partner may use a variety of intimidation tactics for you to be obedient. These include making threatening gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, or putting weaponry on display.

Denial and blame - The abuser may deny the fact of abusing or minimize it. What is more, he or she will commonly shift the blame onto you.

Survival strategies of abused women

Abused women develop astonishing ways of surviving the violence. Others rarely understand these strategies because they often seem unhelpful when viewed from outside the relationship.

Often, a woman's survival strategies are used to support the myths around abuse and to blame her for the abuse.

Denial or minimizing and making light of the abuse - Pretending that the abuse isn't happening because it is too overwhelming to face what it means in her life. "I needed to believe that he'd never do it again...I still cared about him...I wasn't seeing...Denying what was happening to me was my way of hanging onto my sanity".

Learning not to fight back - Fighting often escalates violence and causes her more harm. Substance abuse: can help her numb the pain. "I was so nervous that I gulped down the Valium".

Suicidal thoughts or acts - A woman in pain may see suicide as the only way out. "I thought about killing myself".

Paralysis - Not taking any actions, because it makes things even worse. "I would freeze... I was totally numb and dead... eventually I got paralyzed with fear."

Isolation and fear of intervention from outsiders (includes a woman refusing to contact the police or withdrawing charges) - people who do not understand the situation often end up making it worse. "I did try to tell my neighbour and my doctor, but it was obvious they didn't want to hear about it. I felt humiliated and I was terrified someone would criticize me as he did. I lost so much self-confidence that it felt safer to be at home than to go out on the street. I was glad when the phone didn't ring or the day would pass without anyone coming to the door".

Trying to please the abuser - In order to prevent violent outbreaks. "At home the harder she tried, the more she failed...I really did a lot of work trying to keep the lid on things, keep things happy... I became compulsive... I did everything right... did everything to perfection."

Hyper-vigilance (walking on eggshells) - Also to prevent violent outbreaks. "I got good at anticipating every problem."

Playing "Superwoman" - Attempting to prevent violent outbreaks. "I could do anything - leap tall buildings, outrun locomotives... you would be amazed what I could accomplish in 24 hours to keep him happy."

Belief that she is inferior - The abuser insists that she accept his opinions and be submissive, passive and indecisive. He needs her to be dependent and subservient so he can feel in control. If she is not, he is likely to become violent.

Taking steps to heal and move on

The horrible experience of such relationships can stay with you long after you've escaped the abusive situation. To go through all this it's important for you to indulge in counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors - it can help you process what you've been through and learn how to build new and healthy relationships.

After the trauma you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can't kick.

Furthermore, you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. It can take a while to feel safe again.

However, treatment and support from family and friends can speed your recovery from emotional and psychological trauma.
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