Listen Up: Abuse Comes In Various Different Ly's (Physically, Emotionally and Mentally)

Abuse is not just physical. Abuse comes in different forms and you should be familiar with them all (I call them the Ly's). In addition to physically, there is emotionally and mentally. Emotional and mental abuse don't leave visual scars and therefore may not easily be recognized as abuse, however, they are. If you think that just because you aren't being physically abused nothing is wrong, think again.

Abusive and controlling guys don’t come out swinging on the first date. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In the beginning they are extremely affectionate and rush girls to get into a committed relationship very quickly. At the time, the girl is probably thinking that he is too good to be true — and he is. Women don't choose to be in abusive relationships and most of the time they don't realize it until it is too late.

Emotional and mental abuse are forms of abuse in which a partner uses verbal assault, fear, or humiliation to undermine the other person's self-esteem and self-worth. Emotional/mental abuse is every bit as damaging as physical abuse and can have devastating consequences on both physical and mental health.

What are the signs that you are in an emotionally/mentally abusive relationship? First, you have to recognize the fact that you are in an emotionally/mentally abusive relationship. Denial can keep us in toxic situations far longer than is safe or necessary. Until you acknowledge the behavior as abusive, you won’t be motivated to take action.

Here are a few of the signs to look for:

1. Demands to know your whereabouts; threatens to leave or throw you out if you live together; forces you to socialize, even if you don’t feel like it; withholds affection or attention; tells you how to dress.
2. Acts like a different person in public than he is around others; blames his mistakes on others; denies saying or doing something that you know he did; has unpredictable mood swings; tells you that you're too sensitive; twists your words and uses them against you.
3. Damages your property; humiliates you privately and in public; says things that make you feel good but does things that make you feel bad.
4. Causes a separation between you and your family; makes all of his friends your friends; slowly makes you stop spending time with your friends; needs you in sight at all times and therefore won't let you go anywhere without being present.
5. Disrespects you with verbal assaults, name calling and trash talking about the closest people in your life.
6. Uses manipulation to try and make you feel sorry and may even cry to convince you that the apology is real.

If you are experiencing these things in your relationship, seek help immediately. It's hard to imagine that someone who "loves you" could abuse you -- and besides, it's just words, right? It's not like you're being BEATEN. Sad truth is, while broken bones heal, the wounds left from emotional abuse can last a lifetime.

In abusive situations like this, you have to be very careful in how you plan to leave this type of relationship because it can be very risky because the abuser doesn’t want to lose his “property” and control so don't ever verbally threaten to leave an abuser. Make sure you tell someone close to you about the abuse. Also, document the abuse with pictures and if you are living with the abuser, put some money aside and contact shelters in your area if you can't go stay with a family member, obtain a restraining order if necessary and leave quietly. Remember that the most dangerous time for an abused woman is the time right after she leaves the relationship. Never meet up with your abuser at anytime after you leave the relationship,

In a similar situation or know someone who may be? Below are hotline numbers to call for help. You deserve the best! Don't ever settle for any type of abuse!

Free and confidential advice & counseling:
National TEEN Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 TTY: 1-866-331-8453
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)