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Am I Being Abused? A Quick Checklist

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE

Computer use can be monitored by an abuser, even when you attempt to conceal or clear it. If you need assistance but are worried that your Internet use is being monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. For more about Internet and social media safety in abuse situations, visit Tech and Social Media Safety.

Am I being abused

When we think of an abusive relationship, we may picture violent, frightening, and dramatic images from TV, movies, or other media. Although abuse may resemble these images in real life, it could also vary greatly, depending on the form of abuse that is occurring.

Another aspect of abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV) is that abusive behaviors are usually not noticeable or predictable at the start of a relationship—they may “sneak up” on us.

In fact, the potential for unexpected experiences of abuse to occur exists in any relationship. Typically, the abuser’s need for power and control emerges and intensifies as the relationship develops.

Have you ever wondered if your own relationship might be abusive? Perhaps you are not sure because no physically harmful touch (as described below) has occurred. It is important to keep in mind that there are multiple kinds of abuse, and not all are physical in nature. We’ve put together this quick abuse checklist as a 2-minute “check-in” and guide to help you determine if your partner has become abusive in your relationship.

Quick Abuse Checklist

Am I being …

Do I...

Am I living in a situation in which…

An affirmative “YES” in response to ANY of the questions above indicates that you are living through what many professionals refer to as “Intimate Terrorism.”

Intimate Terrorism is a form of abuse that occurs when violence and a number of pre-conceived tactics are used to gain power and keep control over an intimate partner. There are six types of abuse associated with “Intimate Terrorism”  (physical, emotional, sexual, financial, reproductive coercion, and digital). For more information about these types of abuse, go to “What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?” This information will help you gain understanding about your situation and the experiences associated with each type of abuse.

Although all affirmative responses to each set of questions above demand serious attention, the last set of questions in particular presents the greatest sense of urgency in terms of seeking assistance. Please go to “How Do I Get Help if I Am Being Abused?” to find resources for immediate assistance.


By Silvia Echevarria-Doan, PH.D. LMFT, LCSW
Founder & Therapist, The Alma Therapy Institute, LLC in Gainesville, FL
Associate Professor, Emeritus, Counselor Education, University of Florida

References

Characteristics of abusers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ilrctbay.com/upload/custom/abuse/content/abusers.htm.

Johnson, M. P. (2008). A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (n.d.) Dynamics of abuse. Retrieved from https://ncadv.org/dynamics-of-abuse

National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2016). Abuse defined. Retrieved from http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/.


Return to Topic: Relationship Violence and Abuse