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types of abuse

Types of Abuse

There are numerous types of Abuse.

Examples of behaviors for seven different types of abuse are listed below.

The seven types of abuse discussed include:

  • Emotional-Psychological-Verbal Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse During Pregnancy
  • Financial Abuse
  • Social Abuse
  • Environmental Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Physical Abuse

The following are suggestions NOT recommendations on how to navigate such situations.


Emotional-Psychological-Verbal Abuse

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Making one’s partner do illegal things *
  • Having a double standard for one’s partner
  • False accusations
  • Saying one thing, meaning another
  • Name calling, finding fault
  • Denying or taking away one’s partner responsibilities
  • Verbal threats
  • Not keeping commitments
  • Yelling
  • Insisting on accompanying one’s partner to the doctors
  • Making one’s partner think she/he/they are crazy or stupid
  • Threatening one’s partner with loss of immigration status
  • Overpowering one’s partner emotions
  • Preventing one’s partner form taking a job
  • Disbelieving
  • Brining up old issues
  • Making one’s partner drop charges
  • Inappropriate expression of jealous
  • Telling degrading jokes
  • Degrading one’s partner
  • Refusing to deal with issues
  • Turning a situation against one’s partner
  • Not coming home
  • Minimizing one’s partner work or contribution
  • Brainwashing
  • Pressuring one’s partner to stay around drug/alcohol abuse
  • Laughing in one’s partner face
  • Coming home drunk or stones
  • Refusing to do things with or for one’s partner
  • Pressuring one’s partner
  • Egging one’s partner on, challenging one’s partner to physical violence
  • Neglecting one’s partner
  • Friendship with or support of abusive individuals
  • Expecting one’s partner to conform to a role
  • Demanding an account of one’s partner time/routine
  • Comparing one’s partner to others
  • Real or suggestive involvement with other individuals
  • Never really forgiving, holding drugs
  • Threatening to get drunk or stoned unless…
  • Lying
  • Not passing on messages
  • Treating one’s partner as a child
  • Manipulation
  • Starting arguments
  • Withholding affection
  • Displaying degrading or violent pictures, videos or games

Emotional Abuse During Pregnancy

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Forcing one’s partner to have an abortion *
  • Not supporting one’s partner or helping out after she/he/they comes home with the baby
  • Insulting one’s partner body
  • Demanding sex after childbirth
  • Refusing sex on the ground that their partner’s pregnant body is ugly
  • Blaming one’s partner because the infant is the ‘wrong sex’
  • Refusing to support one’s partner during the pregnancy time
  • Pouting, sulking or making one’s partner feel bad for spending time with the baby
  • Refusing to support one’s partner during the birth (not being there, showing up at the birth drunk, not showing up to bring her home from the hospital)
  • Sleeping around while one’s partner is in the hospital

Financial Abuse

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Taking one’s partner money
  • Withholding money
  • Spending money foolishly or beyond means
  • Pressuring one’s partner to take full responsibilities for finances
  • Not paying fair share of bills
  • Not spending money on special occasions (e.g. birthday)
  • Spending on addictions, gambling or sexual services
  • Pressuring or controlling one’s partner work conditions
  • Keeping the family finances a secret

Social Abuse

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Controlling what one’s partner does, who she/he/they sees, talks to, reads and goes
  • Put downs, or ignoring one’s partner in public
  • Making a scene in public
  • Not allowing one’s partner access to family or friends
  • Interfering with one’s partner family or friends
  • Change of personality with others
  • Being rude to one’s partner friends or relatives
  • Dictating one’s partner mode of dress
  • Dictating one’s partner behavior
  • Habitually choosing friends, activities or work rather than being with one’s partner
  • Making one’s partner account for herself
  • Censoring one’s partner mail
  • Treating one’s partner like a servant
  • Not giving one’s partner space of privacy

During separation or divorce

  • Buying off kids with expensive gifts
  • Not showing up on time to pick up kids, not having them back on time
  • Pumping kids for information about one’s partner (boyfriends, etc.)
  • Telling kids that one’s partner is responsible for breaking up the family
  • Using kids to transport messages (sending notes home to one’s partner in their suitcases)
  • Denying access to children

Using Religion

  • To justify abuse or dominance
  • Using church position to pressure for sex or favors
  • Using one’s partner then demanding forgiveness
  • Excessive spending on religion
  • Interpreting religion your way
  • Forcing/preventing one’s partner attending religious institutions
  • Requiring sex acts or drug use as religious acts
  • Mocking one’s partner beliefs

Using Children

  • Assaulting one’s partner in front of the children*
  • Embarrassing one’s partner in front of the children
  • Forcing one’s partner to stay home with the children
  • Teaching children to abuse one’s partner through name calling, hitting, etc.
  • Not sharing responsibility for children
  • Putting down one’s partner parenting ability
  • Threatening to abduct children or telling one’s partner they will never get custody *

Environmental Abuse

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Abuse in the home
  • Breaking things *
  • Driving too fast or recklessly *
  • Driving while intoxicated *
  • Harming pets *
  • Ripping clothes *
  • Locking one’s partner in or out *
  • Forcing one’s partner into the vehicle *
  • Pushing one’s partner out of the vehicle when it is in motion*
  • Threatening to kill one’s partner by driving off a bridge or into an oncoming car etc. *
  • Throwing out or destroying one’s partner possessions
  • Slamming doors
  • Throwing objects
  • Taking the phone or denying one’s partner use of phone

Physical Abuse

(Asterix (*) Indicates activities which are illegal)

  • Any unwanted physical contact *
  • Kicking, punching or pinching one’s partner *
  • Pulling or pushing one’s partner *
  • Slapping, hitting or shaking one’s partner *
  • Cutting or burning one’s partner *
  • Choking or smothering one’s partner *
  • Squeezing her hand, twisting one’s partner arm *
  • Spitting on one’s partner *
  • Force feeding *
  • Throwing objects at one’s partner *
  • Hitting one’s partner with an object
  • Restraining one’s partner in any way *
  • Tying one’s partner up *
  • Urinating on one’s partner *
  • Breaking one’s partner bones *
  • Knifing or shooting one’s partner *
  • Murder *
  • Threatening to kill or injure one’s partner *
  • Pushing one’s partner down the stairs *
  • Ignoring one’s partner illness or injury *
  • Denying or restricting food or drink *
  • Pressuring or tricking one’s partner into alcohol or drug use *
  • Standing too close/intimidating one’s partner *
  • Hiding or withholding one’s partner necessary medications *

The following information is adapted from the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre Peer Support Handbook