Is it abuse? A definition, 5 types, and 2 two questions.

abuse

Abuse is often over-used or used incorrectly. And yet, when it is needed to be said, the word isn’t uttered due to shame. It’s time to set the record straight. The word “abuse” is defined by Merriam-Webster as

  • a corrupt practice or custom

  • improper or excessive use or treatment

  • a deceitful act , deception

  • language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily

  • physical maltreatment

Abuse comes in many forms.  Following are 5 major types:

  • Physical (when physical touch hurts.  Period. Yes, hair pulling, pushing and grabbing is abuse.  It’s that simple.  Throws a punch to the wall next to you also counts.  That is intimidating and not safe.)

  • Emotional (bullying, threatening and intimidating behaviors; you don’t feel safe; you feel crushed, minimized, by  the person that’s supposed to love you, limits your/denies you time spent with friends/family.  Unpredictable responses.  Embarrasses you in public. Framing things as you being over sensitive. Blaming you for their bad behavior.)

  • Financial (withholds information about and/or access to money; stealing/embezzling from accounts for their expenses and not telling you about it)

  • Verbal (when words said by others hurt and/or leaves you feeling confused.  Yelling/screaming/calling you names.)

  • Sexual (forces you to do something you don’t want to do)

    Regardless of the type, they are all difficult to experience.    The first step is to define it for what it is.   For example, you must first accept you are being verbally abused when someone swears at you and calls you names.  You have to say to yourself, “I am being verbally abused” and accept your reality, before you can confront the perpetrator.  But, what if you aren’t sure?  What if you were asleep in the back of the car and he started throwing popcorn at you and laughing.  Is that emotional abuse (embarrassing you in public)? No.  Juvenile? Yes.

    I will add to be framed “abuse” it needs to be a trend or chronic situation, in all abuse categories, with the exception of the physical.  One-and-done is all it takes and the police are called.   Please have some common sense about this.  Don’t count opening the kitchen cabinet door in your face, accidentally, four years ago as abuse.  Especially if nothing remotely similar has happened. That was an accident; and a funny memory you two can share.

Still wondering if is abuse or not?  The best way is to get educated about the topic.  If the dictionary definition didn’t help, here are some excellent resources to get you started (emphasis on emotional and verbal abuse because it isn’t as obvious or defining as physical abuse):

  • The Emotionally Destructive Marriage (Christian perspective on the verbally/emotionally abusive marriage) Book and website.  She exposes the subtleties and subliminal attitudes and behaviors of the abuser that so often confuse and conflict the victim.
  • Love is Respect.org website dedicated to helping young people prevent and end abuse, but everyone can benefit.    Fabulous breakdown of the different types of abuse.  Helpful quizzes and resources.   On-line, 24-hour chat.  You have to take a quiz to activate it.
  • 7 Signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship YouTube video created by Adam LaDolce, of SexyConfidence.  Excellent and entertaining.

Finally, I leave you with what may be the two most important questions to ask yourself to determine if what you’re experiencing is abuse:

  •  Does the person behave appropriately to the circumstances?
  •  How do you feel after an encounter with them?

Please remember to leave your kind words or comments below.

Blessings and Joy,

How to Help Those You Hurt (when you made a BIG mistake)

We all make mistakes.  Even my totally cute, perfect friend, Jan.  I don’t know when she did, but she’s a human being so I’m sure she forgot to put the butter away some time and her dog got into it.  Love ya, Jan! <3  But, the other 99.999% of us have made many mistakes and some of them are big, hairy, icky, makes-you-want-to-shake-the-memory-out-of-your-head mistake. How do you get that out of your head? How do you shake that guilt, embarrassment, and yes, shame? How do you know you won’t do it, again?

trust is like paper once its crumpled its not perfect

As a woman of faith, I am thankful Christianity gives me the gift of grace.  It’s God’s “do-over” plan. But, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Just because I was forgiven by my creator doesn’t mean I can take a pass and commit the offense over and over.  I need to be remorseful and turn from committing the same crimes/sins/mistakes.  Christian or not, that’s a great way to live a life.  Only when we are released from that guilt and shame can we be and do our best.  

If you made a BIG mistake, which sadly means usually hurting those we love, there is a formula to move on:

  • Quickly ask for forgiveness from those you hurt.
  • Never, never say, “because you did “y,” I did x.”  That is deflecting.  Also known as blaming.  That’s what children do.  Take responsibility for your actions, own up to your faults. This is not giving in, it’s growing up.
  • Repeat your mistake, and how you hurt them, in your words. You may not have the exact words, but it shows you’re trying to understand their pain.
  • Let them speak their pain regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel.  Sit with it. Your discomfort is fairly low on the “we care” scale, at the moment.  It’s part of the process.
  • Empathize with them.  You must feel their pain for you to grow.  If you don’t feel their pain, seek counseling.
  • Give those that you hurt time to heal on their time-frame, not yours.  If that means getting fired, put on administrative leave, losing someone or something, or any kind of separation, accept it.
  • Let those you hurt re-hash the “event” for awhile.  It’s part of their recovery.  But, after some time, they and you need to move on if healing is going to occur.
  • Make restitution when necessary. Even if it takes the rest of your life.
  • Recognize some mistakes and hurts can’t be overcome.  Be prepared to lose the one(s) you hurt.  This may be the lesson you need to grow and learn.
  • Get help if you need it.  Don’t wait for a court-mandated order or your loved one insisting on it.  Take the initiative and seek professional help. This is taking action.  Action is always esteemed over words.
  • If the relationship continues, recognize it will be different.
  • Don’t do it, again.  Actions speak louder than words and memories fade more quickly if not repeated.

Blessings and Joy,

Annette