There are many types of physical and emotional abuse that I have witnessed and or experienced.
I have experienced them from family members, housemates, coworkers and random strangers.
When I was a teen I used to ride my bicycle through the parking lot of the corner bar. While a bar might be a place for a 13-17 year old kid to avoid. It was usually the safest and most convenient route. I avoided a busy street that way, it led to the convenience store and people smoked inside in those days, so no one was in the parking lot to hit with my bike.
One night this "safer" route was scary. A woman in her twenties was running out of the bar crying as a similar aged man yelled and grabbed her.
He said some thing like, "You can't" run away from me because, "you're my girlfriend."
I decided to keep riding my bike. I was no match for an angry drunk. No one, especially my mother, would have blamed me for riding away and saying nothing.
And I did. But in my head I rationalized doing so not using a healthy fear of being injured by this asshole. But for a moment I actually thought, "I guess that's okay if she's his girlfriend."
Before I could ask my self if that was true, a woman charged out after him yelling, "Oh no you don't. Get your hands off of her."
She was followed by at least two supporters.
This 5 foot 7 teenager didn't wait to see how this fight played out.
But the courage of her response inspired me to see abuse differently. To see all abuse as unacceptable. And to have the courage later in life to challenge some abuse that I felt safe handling.
Threats of physical violence while pursuing someone and screaming at them is obviously abuse to most people. Psychological and emotional abuse are much harder to recognize and based on my own observations, more likely to be tolerated by people who would never tolerate the more aggressive types of abuse.
Examples of abuse:
"Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain. Examples include intimidation, coercion, ridiculing, harassment, treating an adult like a child, isolating an adult from family, friends, or regular activity, use of silence to control behavior, and yelling or swearing which results in mental distress."
Accusing, blaming, and denial
This behavior comes from an abuser’s insecurities. They want to create a hierarchy in which they’re at the top and you’re at the bottom.
Here are some examples:
Jealousy. They accuse you of flirting or cheating on them.
Turning the tables. They say you cause their rage and control issues by being such a pain.
Gaslighting- Denying something you know is true. An abuser will deny that an argument or even an agreement took place.
It’s meant to make you question your own memory and sanity.
Using guilt. They might say something like, “You owe me this. Look at all I’ve done for you,” in an attempt to get their way.
EX: "You blame a lot on ____'
Goading then blaming. Abusers know just how to upset you. But once the trouble starts, it’s your fault for creating it.
Denying their abuse. When you complain about their attacks, abusers will deny it, seemingly bewildered at the very thought of it.
Accusing you of abuse. They say you’re the one who has anger and control issues and they’re the helpless victim. (Example - Someone screams at you five times, but when you yell back to ask them to stop they accuse of screaming at them.)
Trivializing. When you want to talk about your hurt feelings, they accuse you of overreacting and making mountains out of molehills.
When someone hit me and I brought it up later I was told to man up and take it like a man by two people. The hitter and a buddy.
Here's a song about trivializing written by Jimi Hendrix and performed wonderfully by
Saying you have no sense of humor. Abusers make personal jokes about you. If you object, they’ll tell you to lighten up.
Blaming you for their problems. Whatever’s wrong in their life is all your fault. You’re not supportive enough, didn’t do enough, or stuck your nose where it didn’t belong.
Destroying and denying. They might crack your cell phone screen or “lose” your car keys, then deny it.
Scapegoating - Building up a negative image about another.
"I hope someday they figure out what kind of person such and such or so and so is."
Personal Experiences with abuse:
People have used intimidtion on me by calling the police on me when I didn't obey them in my own home.
People have used intimidation on me by calling a friend to gang up on me during an argument
A neighborhood gang smashed my bike when I was a teen in Colonie New York. They let me know I wasn't welcome in that neighborhood. I didn't go back.
I believe that teaching kids to hate another co-parent is a form of abuse.