How Do I Know If This Is Abuse?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or violent behavior used to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner or household member. It happens through a variety of means, such as  emotional, sexual, religious, or physical abuse. Specific physical examples include slapping, shoving, hitting, choking, physically restraining, throwing things, and sexual assault.

In some cases, no physical assault or battering is involved. Crushing verbal attacks, cruelty, bewildering "mind games" and humiliation are often enough to intimidate and control. 

"The Continuums of Violence" describe some common domestic violence behaviors.  

"Types of Verbal Abuse" describes abusive communication tactics. 

"Psychological and Emotional Abuse" -- questions to help you understand non-physical domestic violence.

Talk to an advisor at a domestic violence program in your community to better understand the specifics of your situation.