It occurs to me that I have not yet clearly defined the 6 types of abuse we most commonly run across. I’d like to take the opportunity to use this post to delve a little deeper into defining what the 6 main types of abuses are.

First of all, abuse of any kind is intended to create a control and power imbalance in your personal relationship. Abuse creates an environment of mistrust, tension, violence and chaos. We hear all the time about physical abuse. In fact, I stayed in my marriage for years because he never hit me. I didn’t realize, neither did my parents, that abuse almost always begins with verbal and emotional abuse. These abuses are intended to break the victim down. They are meant to scramble the brain and create brain fog. In the end, abuse is intended to hurt you, keep power over you and make it impossible for you to leave. Abusers don’t abuse all the time. They can go hours, days, weeks, months and my case even a year before they choose to abuse again. During their ‘non abusive’ times, they are often charming, kind and engaged or, at least, they seem to be.



Emotional abuse is usually where abuse begins in a relationship. Emotional abuse is how the abuser establishes his right to be in control. He decides what is expected in a relationship. He chooses what you do, right or wrong. He picks what is allowed and not allowed. This sets up your requirements to meet his needs. It teaches you to be nervous and downright scared of his reactions when you haven’t lived up to his expectations. An emotional abuser will make you feel guilty, evil, shameful or wrong for simple, innocent actions and thoughts. Emotional abuse is worse then physical abuse. You cannot see it physically on a person, but the scars and damage caused are long lasting. An emotional abuser will stop at nothing to control his victim.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


Verbal Abuse is added in pretty quickly to an abusive relationship. Verbal violence often goes hand in hand with the emotional violence. Abusers use words to break you down, change your mind, make you give up and believe the lies that are told to you and about you. Verbal abuse is often insidious. It creeps in first with comments that are explainable, words that seem innocent and even loving but are actually very hurtful.  It is wielded like a sharp sword directly at your deepest hurts. It causes open wounds to your soul instead of to your skin. Verbal abuse will define you if you allow it to. Its easy to allow this to happen since the person who is giving you this feedback is supposed to love you and care for you. They know you better then anyone else does so why wouldn’t their opinion about you matter? Why wouldn’t it be true? Verbal abuse puts the victim in a constant state of having to defend and explain herself. Verbal abuse is bullying. If you would call it bullying between children, then it’s bullying between adults.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


Financial abuse is a great way to control someone. If they have little or no access to money, checks, credit cards and have to answer for ever single penny they spend, then it is easy to control their every move. Financial control also enables the abuser to do whatever he wants to without being easily caught. Financial abuse is an integral part of any abusive relationship. Finances are already a huge stressor for most relationships, but in an abusive relationship, it is a vital form of control. A financial abuser can take your money, control the money, make you explain every receipt. They will give you financial decisions and then blame you for making those choices. They will accuse you of stealing. They won’t let you get a job and if you do, then you have to pay for all your household expenses. Financial abuse in abusive relationships is the reason why approx. 50% of homeless women are homeless. Most importantly, financial abuse keeps the victim from having a way to get out and stay out.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)



Spiritual abuse is an abuse that is very difficult to deal with. It strikes at the core of a victim. She is working so hard to keep her family and marriage together when often her church and religious family have no idea what is going on. Abusers will use the spirituality, moral compass and beliefs of a victim against her. He will twist, turn and change her belief system by throwing it back at her, putting her or her beliefs up on an unreachable pedestal and then abusing her when she can’t live up to the high expectations. Another way spiritual abuse happens is when the abuser goes to great lengths to befriend the pastor and elders, bishops, rabies etc. of their religious community. They begin to slowly undermine her relationships and reputation within the community therefore essentially cutting her off from any spiritual support she may have had.

When a woman is encouraged to pray for, have long suffering or submit, as well as told that she should forgive and forget, this is spiritual abuse. The abuser is never held to the same standard as the victim within the community. Instead, she is seen as the problem, the sinner. She is not doing her part to keep an abusive marriage together instead of holding him accountable for tearing their marriage apart. Spiritual abusers and enablers believe that every marriage should and can be saved. They do not believe that abuse is a severe enough reason to divorce and they diminish the effects it has on our families and communities.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


Sexual abuse in a relationship is very difficult to talk about. Sexual abuse happens all the time within dating and marriage relationships. Marital rape is a reality. Marital assault is a reality. These are things that happen and cannot be ignored even if they are difficult to talk about. Being married, is not a valid excuse to rape your partner. Marriage is not a license to your partners body. Marriage should be a relationship of safety. An abuser sees it as a relationship of ownership. He owns you, your body and your soul (he thinks). He will cross all boundaries to get his needs met while he disregards yours.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, there are three types of marital rape:

  • Battering rape – battering rape occurs when physical and sexual violence occur together. Victims may experience the physical and sexual violence at the same time or one may occur after another. The rape may occur after the physical violence as an attempt to “make up.”
  • Force-only rape – this type of rape happens when physical violence is not present. As with all rape, this type of spousal rape is spurred by a desire to exert power and control over another person. This desire manifests in acting as if sex is an entitlement to one party from another.
  • Obsessive/Sadistic rape – obsessive or sadistic rape is rape that involves torture or perverse sexual acts. This type of marital rape tends to be very violent and result in physical injuries.
  • Unwanted touching
  • Demanding sex
  • Forcing sex
  • Name-calling with sexual epithets
  • Demanding sex after a violent incident
  • Forcing you to engage in prostitution or pornography
  • Forcing you to have sex with others besides your partner
  • Insisting on anything sexual that frightens or hurts you
  • Refusing to use safe sex practices
  • Preventing you from using birth control
  • Controlling your decisions about pregnancy and/or abortion
  • Withholding sex as a form of control
  • Videotaping or photographing sexual acts and posting it without your permission
  • Alleging that you have a history of prostitution on legal papers
  • Telling you that “as a matter of law” in the United States that you must continue to have sex with him whenever he wants until you are divorced.

We don’t like to talk about marital sexual abuse, but it is important to shed light into the darkness and set the captives free.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


Physical abuse is obviously, and unfortunately, the one kind of abuse that is the most recognized in our society because it is the one that leaves physical, noticeable bruises, wounds and scars. It is horrible, scary and acceptable. Physical violence is the end of the road for abusers. Once they choose to be physically violent with the victim, murder is just one little step away. Abusers abuse in order to maintain control. When they feel that they have to increase the violence in order to maintain control, they are, at that point, willing to do anything.

Statistics state that every 14 hours a woman is shot by an intimate partner (in the USA). Today is Jan. 8 and to date there have been 13 women murdered by their spouse in 2017. Every year 10 million people are physically abused in the US by a partner or ex-partner. Again, physical violence is the end of the line for abusers. There is nowhere else to go but to increase the violence and then murder. Physical abuse can start with things that are not considered violent but are instead intimidating. The abuser flips the kitchen table in a rage. The abuser slams his fist into the wall next to your head. He locks you in a room, he holds you down, pushes you or throws something at you. These are all the beginning of physical abuse. Physical abuse always includes emotional and verbal abuse.

Few abusers start a relationship by hitting their partner. Just about every single person would run away from a relationship with that person if that were the case. Abusers must get a victim to the place mentally, financially and physically where they can abuse and get away with it.

FOR HELP CALL THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE:                                                         1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


This was just a quick and short synopsis of what abuse is made up of. There are so many ways that an abuser gains control over his victim. The Bible does not condone it and neither should society. Speaking up will help end the shame and bring education to our society. No more victim blaming, no more shame and no more abuse!




6 thoughts on “LET’S TALK ABUSE…

Add yours

  1. Thank you Sherry. I went back to go over my information and I find that statistically women are still the primary victims and perpetrators are still primarily male.

    Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J. & Stevens, M.R. (2011). “Sexual violence victimization.”
    National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Atlanta, GA.


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