Recognizing Domestic Violence Abuse

Being in an abusive relationship is scary, especially if that abuse is physical. When abuse goes undeterred, it may escalate with time, putting you at risk for physical, emotional, and mental detriment. The good news is that there is hope, and you can escape from an abusive relationship. The following reviews tips for recognizing domestic violence abuse, the common types of domestic violence, and what your options are for protecting yourself.

Tips for Recognizing Domestic Violence Abuse

If you are in an abusive relationship, recognizing that abuse can be difficult to do. In fact, many abused people will deny the abuse, or make excuses for their partner. If you think that you may in fact be in an abusive relationship – especially one that may become violent – here are some signs to watch out for, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Your partner calls you names or insults you frequently.
  • You are discouraged or prevented from leaving the house, obtaining work, acquiring education, or spending time with your family and friends.
  • Your finances and spending habits are strictly monitored and possibly controlled.
  • Your partner tries to control what you wear and what you do.
  • You are forced to have sex or engage in sexual behaviors against your will.
  • Your partner is prone to angry outbursts when he or she has been drinking or using drugs.
  • Your partner verbally threatens you or displays a weapon.
  • Your partner physically and inappropriately touches or harms you, your children, or your pets.
  • Your partner destroys things that are important to you (i.e. burning a book you love or breaking something you own).
  • You are blamed for the violence or aggression against you.
  • Your partner accuses you of having an affair or doing something else to harm your relationship.
  • Your partner threatens to take your children from you, harm your pets, reveal a secret about you, or something similar.

In addition to the above, if you feel afraid of your partner, feel helpless, or avoid certain topics because of fear of your partner’s anger, you may be in an abusive relationship. Recognizing that abuse is occurring is the first step to getting help.

Common Types of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can come in a variety of forms, from the obvious physical abuse to the less obvious psychological abuse and even financial abuse. Although some types of abuse may be more endangering – from a physical standpoint – than are others, no type of domestic abuse is acceptable or excusable.

Physical abuse is typically what people think of when talking about domestic violence. This is any type of abuse that is intended to cause physical injury, even if that injury is minor. Physical abuse is not limited to hitting or beating alone. Rather, physical abuse may include pinching, slapping, biting, shaking, hair pulling, or anything else that causes physical pain. Physical abuse often goes hand-in-hand with sexual abuse. Even if you are married, you have the right to say “no” to sex or sexual contact. Sexual abuse refers to any and all forms of unwanted sexual contact, including forced use – or lack thereof – of contraception.

Psychological abuse and emotional abuse can be harder to pinpoint. Many victims even wonder whether or not this is really considered to be “abuse.” Psychological abuse means using fear or threats to instill control or intimidation. This might include blackmailing, threatening, stalking, prohibiting from doing certain things, making restrictive rules, or otherwise manipulating. Psychological abuse and emotional abuse are very similar, with the latter defined as actions that are intended to diminish the victim’s self-worth. Consistently insulting, humiliating, criticizing, or belittling may be considered emotional abuse.

Some abusers also try to control money in the relationship in a way that inhibits the other partner’s freedoms. For example, denying a person access to bank accounts, prohibiting a partner from working or obtaining an education, and withholding money are all types of financial abuse.

What to Do If You Are in an Abusive Relationship

It is possible to get out of an abusive relationship once you are able to recognize the behaviors and acknowledge that abuse is taking place. Abusers are extremely good at controlling their behavior and manipulating their victims. If abuse is occurring, you need to get out. You should confide about the domestic abuse in a trusted loved one and find a safe place to stay. If you do not have anyone to whom you can report the abuse, contact a domestic violence shelter.

There are multiple domestic violence shelters throughout North Carolina. Use our interactive map of North Carolina domestic violence shelters to find one that is near you. The staff at the shelter can help you and your children get out of your home and find refuge in a safe place.

How Our North Carolina Domestic Violence Attorneys Can Help

If the relationship that you are in is violent or has the potential to become violent, and you are worried about your safety or/and the safety of your children, you should report the domestic violence to the police. Then, you should contact the law offices of Charles R. Ullman & Associates, PLLC, immediately. Our attorneys can help you to file a request for a domestic violence protective order, also commonly known as a restraining order; get custody of your children; file a request for spousal support; and file for a divorce.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to get out of that relationship as soon as possible in order to protect yourself. Because abusers are often persistent in their desire to control and cause harm, it is important that you seek legal protections. To schedule a case consultation with our experienced Raleigh domestic violence lawyers, and to learn more about domestic violence resources and what you can do, contact our offices as soon as possible. Let us help you get started on the path to a safer, happier life.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.