You’ll Be Shocked By How ‘Normal’ Some Of These 30 Signs Of Intimate Partner Abuse Are

Are there any of these signs of intimate partner abuse in your significant relationship? You have to read this list of signs – to understand why you don’t feel completely comfortable with him.

Recently there was a viral video of a young man beating his ex-girlfriend mercilessly in Delhi, and his friend making a video of the incident. As is the case with most of such incidents some debates on social media blamed the woman for not retaliating, and in a way shifted the focus from the abuser to the abused in the typical victim blaming fashion of our society.

While all cases of abuse are not sexual in nature, psychologists have proven that the main factor remains the power equation, that leads to assertion of that power by violence by the stronger person on the weaker one.




Learned helplessness – conditioning of women

The concept of learned helplessness becomes significant here as women in most conventional societies like ours are made to believe, or conditioned to believe and accept that they are weaker, and secondary to men, and they can’t resist a man’s dominance in any way.

Often commonplace beliefs like boys will be boys, and that husband/father/brother have a right to hit, you make girls/women totally unaware of even the fact that they are being abused in intimate relationships. In the face of such complicit normalisation of violence, it is a bit too far-fetched to assert or believe that one fine day the victim/survivor shall find strength or voice against such systematic oppression.

A research at the Korlinska Institute of the South General Hospital in Stockholm Sweden has proposed in a research that often victims of violent abuse exhibit “tonic immobility”, a reflex action of being frozen, found even in animals in the face of a predator attack.

What is intimate partner abuse/ violence?

CDC, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines intimate partner abuse as: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner.

Essentially, the abuser can be a husband/ partner/ boyfriend/ lover, and this abuse need not be the overt kind which causes any physical damage or leaves visible scars, and a lot of it is normalised in the name of tradition or culture, and often if someone speaks up, they are in turn blamed or slut shamed, instead of taking the abuser to task.

Society needs to understand that while it is imperative to empower girls for self-defence and physical strength, if in a situation they are not able to resist a violent attack they must not be blamed. Along with this girls and women need to understand what behaviour can be categorised as intimate partner abuse.

Signs of intimate partner abuse

Your husband/partner/boyfriend/lover is abusive if:

  • He makes fun of you in front of his friends and family.
  • He insults you in public or privately.
  • He stops/ withholds any kind of permission/ affection/ praise as punishment.
  • He puts down your ambitions and achievements.
  • He criticises you, uses abusive language for you, or shouts at you often.
  • He often overlooks your feelings.
  • He makes you feel that you are incapable of making your own decisions.
  • He makes fun of your religion/ caste/ spiritual beliefs/ socio-economic status/ class.
  • He scares you into agreeing with him and providing consent.
  • He tells you that you are nothing without him.
  • He pushes you, holds you forcefully, or does anything that causes physical pain visibly like pulling cheeks or pulling hair.
  • He uses physical strength on you as if it is a wrestling match.
  • Calls or texts you again and again to determine your whereabouts, and sometimes reaches your workplace or wherever you are to ensure that you are not lying.
  • Is always jealous and keeps imagining scenarios where you can be unfaithful to him.
  • He blames you for his bad, abusive behaviour and feelings.
  • Insults your friends and family.
  • He prevents you from doing what you want – meeting friends/family, going out alone etc., isolates you.
  • He tries to deceive you by telling lies about himself or incidents/facts.
  • He insists on deciding what you should wear and how you should look –  like get thinner/fairer etc.
  • Blames alcohol for the abuse, or any other kind of intoxication for his abusive behaviour.
  • During sex insists that you do something that you are not comfortable with.
  • Has forced sex with you (rape), or makes you do certain sexual acts forcefully.
  • After an argument he doesn’t let you leave, or leaves you somewhere to ‘teach you a lesson’.
  • He snatches away your phone, money or vehicle keys.
  • He makes you feel that you can never quit this relationship.
  • He threatens suicide.
  • He drives dangerously with you.
  • He throws things at you.
  • He abuses a pet in order to express his anger for you.
  • Choking you, slapping you or pushing you is common for him.

If even one of these behaviours is being displayed by your partner, he is abusive, and it needs to be dealt with. Please think about ways to make him change his behaviour or make amends for this relationship. If that doesn’t work, the only solution is to quit, but first ensure your safety or safety of kids if any involved in this situation with you. You must also get physically, psychologically, mentally, and financially stronger, try to learn a method of self-defence, and not be so emotionally dependent in a relationship that you “allow” continuous long-term abuse.

You can learn here more about intimate partner abuse, and ways of coping and self-care in such a situation.

A version of this was first published on the author’s FB page.

Header image – stills from Provoked & English Vinglish

I believe I am poet's soul who is an online content consultant/writer/editor/

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