Relationship Abuse: What Is It?


  • Author Felice Block
  • Published June 28, 2011
  • Word count 425

Does your partner do any of the following: hurt or injure you, emotionally, physically or spiritually, force sexual activity on you, use hurtful or insulting language, or repeatedly tries to make you mistrust what you know to be reality?

If the answer to any of these is yes, then you may be in an abusive relationship. Here are some specific signs that you are being abused:

  • Your partner blames you for his/her problems

  • Your partner tries to control your behavior

  • Your partner criticizes or humiliates you frequently

  • Your partner feels he/she owns you and has certain rights over you

  • Is extremely jealous, even of friends & family

  • Isolates you; needs to know where you are at all times

  • Angers easily

  • Believes in traditional strong male/female roles-men should be in control, women should be quiet & passive

  • Makes you afraid of what he/she will do if you end the relationship

  • Threatens & intimidates you

  • Limits your access to money

  • Has a history of violence

  • Your relationship swings back & forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close

  • You stay in the relationship because of fear

Recovery from any type of relationship abuse takes time. I have developed a 7-Step model called Relationship Recovery which covers the following:

  • Realization-Replacing Denial

  • Education

  • Cultivation of Support & Self-Care

  • Ownership, Taking Responsibility

  • Value Your Personal Boundaries

  • Embrace Grief

  • Rebuild your Life

Why does the victim of abuse need counseling when they have done nothing wrong but be a target for their partner's rage?

The answer is repeated exposure to abuse affects the victim's self esteem, mood and overall functioning. It can rob them of their confidence in the best-case scenario, in the worst case scenario can leave permanent physical or psychological wounds.

Recovery is possible especially with professional help. Relationship Recovery focuses on self-care, support, and knowledge. The program requires a commitment to putting self-care and recovery as a priority for one day per month over the course of six months.

Resources for

Domestic Violence

A Safe Place or call (847) 249-4450 -

LaCasa or call (847) 872-7799 -

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence -


The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns & Reclaiming Your Life by Beverly Engel

Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst

The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

When Love Goes Wrong: What To Do When You Can't Do Anything Right by Ann Jones

For more information about Felice Block, please visit her website at to learn about her counseling, public speaking, and training services.

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