Ask Liz: Abusive Relationships



"How do i know I'm in an abusive relationship if they're not hitting me?"-Anonymous

Dearest Anonymous,

What makes you think you're in an abusive relationship? This is a question only you can answer as you already seem to know it. Here's a little bit of help to get you started in answering that question.

There are many different types of abuse besides physical. There's sexual, financial/economic, emotional/verbal, mental/psychological,  and cultural/identity.

Physical Abuse is any type of physical space that makes you feel unsafe. For example, punching, hitting, kicking, driving recklessly, invading your physical space, etc.

Sexual Abuse is utilizing when an abusive partner uses sex as a weapon. For example, rape, forced sexual acts, judging their partner on how they're not good at sex, etc.

Financial/Economic Abuse is when an abuser controls all aspects of finances in the relationship. For example, not allowing the survivor to have access to their own bank accounts, spending money, opening credit cards and running up debts in the survivors name, etc.

Emotional/Verbal Abuse is when an abuser uses words and emotions to control the survivor. For example, name calling, making their partner feel guilty, playing mind games, making their partner feel bad about themselves, etc. This form of abuse is harder for family and friends to recognize.

Mental/Psychological Abuse is when the abuser uses words or actions to wear away at their partners mental well-being and health. For example, moving car keys or a purse, dimming the lights, denying things have taken place, isolation, etc.

Cultural/Identity Abuse is when an abuser uses the survivors cultural identity to inflict suffering as a means of control. For example, not letting someone observe dietary customs of their faith, racial slurs, threatening to "out" someone who identifies as LGBT/Q, etc.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please reach out to the state-wide domestic violence hotline at 1-866-834-4357. They will connect you to the local domestic violence agency. 

As always, best wishes, and less stress!


If you or anyone you know is struggling please reach out to the statewide crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112

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