What is the definition of abuse?

Old 11-01-2010, 09:39 PM
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What is the definition of abuse?

I am wondering if anyone can give me a solid definition of abuse. I feel quite silly for asking me, but it seems this has just dawned on me.

My ABF still has not admitted to me that he's drinking again, although I have found him with a bottle every day this week. We are constantly fighting with his ever erratic mood swings. Lately, I won't fight back (choose your battles, right?) I just try to stay calm and quiet, pretty much just ignoring his rants.

When it's really bad, he'll throw things, break things (including a window, and our front door frame from slamming it so hard). The worst part about it is not just putting me down (by calling me lazy etc. because he washed the dishes this week), but it's the guilt trips. Saying I treat him so badly and that I hate him and all he ever does is buy me things and try to make me happy.

When he gets "short", he blames it on my attitude, but I know it's because he's been drinking.

He also gets very paranoid whenever I leave the house on my own. He'll text me, call me a dozen times and when he doesn't get a response, he calls my parents asking where I am.

It just seems like it's a neverending guilt trip on me and in his eyes he never does anything wrong. I hear everyday....."you treat me like sh*t".

Is this considered abuse?????

Thanks for your help andclarification
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:53 PM
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Hi, Pearl,

There are lots of behaviors that could be considered abusive, but one sure sign is if the behavior is something for which you could get a restraining order. When the law recognizes it as abuse (or domestic violence) then you can feel pretty confident that it is.

Throwing and breaking things, and sending many, many texts and phone calls, are legally defined as harassment most places, and would be grounds for criminal charges and/or a restraining order. Subtler things, such as constant put-downs or insults are emotionally abusive even though the law might not treat it as harshly. It can certainly be very damaging to the person on the receiving end, with malicious intent, so I think it would qualify as abuse for purposes of recognizing the behavior as such.

Why do you ask? Are you considering a restraining order?
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:15 PM
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I ask because I never actually viewed it as abuse, however recently someone told me he was being abusive. I'm just looking for clairification, I hVe seen the light an now consider his words and actions emitionally abusive. Just wondering if I'm going too far off the limb here. Not considering a RO, unless I leave and this behaviour continues.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:27 PM
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Have you read our stickie posts UsedToBeAPearl?

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Old 11-01-2010, 11:41 PM
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What you describe sounds abusive to me.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:20 AM
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Hi UsedToBeAPearl.

Sorry to hear that you are in this situation however I am delighted that you have had this realization. Being aware of the situation we are in is the first step to resolving it, I think. (Part of the 3 As - Awareness, Acceptance, Action).

The sticky link that Dee posted has loads of useful stickies and I think Wheel of Power and Control is one of the clearest representations of forms of abuse I have seen. Worth digging around that site too because it has other useful info such as Dynamics of Abuse. Also, this book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft is excellent.

The physical aggression is particularly worrying. It is a threat - it could be you I break next time, if you don't keep in line. When I was in a similar situation, one of my biggest lightbulb moments was when I realized that this was not loving behavior. Would someone who loved me act in this way? Sounds crazy that this was a suprise to me, but that's all part of the dynamic. I got so ground down and unsure of my own feelings because of his manipulation that I was in a fog. Speaking of the fog, this is a great website. It is for those involved with someone with a personality disorder but the resources are some of the best I've seen for dealing with an abusive partner.

This is not your fault. The things he is blaming you for are the things that he is (not) doing. Whenever he accuses you, keep in mind that he is telling you who he is. But make sure you keep that in your mind, though, because sharing that awareness could be dangerous.

Can you contact a local domestic violence center for some real life advice?

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Old 11-02-2010, 03:59 AM
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hi pearl-

yes, what you have described is abuse.

after five years, mine began by breaking things. then he began throwing things. then he would break thru doors (after i moved into the guest room). as i began to seek help here and change my response, it escalated. then he started throwing me around, to intimidate me. he didn't hurt me, but it was very threatening.

once when he threw me around, i fled to a neighbor's after he had passed out. once he came to, he took a bat, smashed through the neighbor's glass door and assaulted my friend. i remember sitting in the neighbor's living room, trying to determine if i could jump out of the third story window and land on the hedge? the police weren't coming quick enough.

finally, i left. he still tracked me down one night and threw me down a concrete stairwell, thinking i was having an affair. (i was at a friend's, having a cup of tea and listening to music) he broke my shoulder.

pearl, what you have described in your post is raising some red flags for me. the breaking of things, slamming doors and in particular, the obsessive tracking down of you if you are out of his sight.

i want to recommend to you that you have an exit plan, in case you are threatened again. what i mean by this is a bag that you can grab and flee. i hope you don't have to use it.

i had one and i did use it. what i put in mine was a piece of paper, with important phone numbers and bank numbers and logins, some cash, extra car keys and a pay as you go mobile phone topped-up.

i took a further step of taking my important documents off-site, out of our home...things that are difficult to replace, like passport, birth certificate, my college transcript, etc. these i stored at a friend's house.

i don't want to alarm you but i want to make you aware.

a drunk man who has shown a tendency towards violence and possessiveness can be dangerous when they feel you might be leaving.

you take care now,
naive x
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