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They may be verbally assaulting or physically assaulting you. Maybe the signs of abuse are even more subtle. Any act such as confinement, isolation, humiliation or intimidation all can be considered abuse. Domestic violence is stereotypically categorized by society as physical violence, but abuse can turn into a dark psychological game. One moment you think that they love you and next they are berating you, so it can become a maze of mental chaos. The abuser convinces the victim that they are to blame and unfortunately too many victims suffer in silence and don’t know who or where to go for help. Additionally, not all relationships come in the same package and look alike. "They can be your neighbor, your pastor, your friend, your child's teacher, a relative, a coworker -- anyone. It is important to note that the majority of abusers are only violent with their current or past intimate partners and 90 percent of abusers do not have criminal records," the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported. Here are 6 ways victims and their loved ones can distinguish if they’re in an abusive relationship.

You're becoming physically sick.

"If you were to eat poison, your body would immediately try to throw it up," relationship expert Sofia Milan shared with the Reader's Digest. The same thing happens to the body when you're in an abusive relationship. "You start having physical issues like ulcers, throwing up, dizziness/passing out, chest pains or new skin flare-ups, your body may be trying to get your attention." Who is to blame for this? It's whoever first comes to your mind as they're most likely the source. Your body is showing physical symptoms of an abusive relationship and warning you of the danger.

You fear them.

One of the most treacherous things of being in an abusive relationship is that you are afraid to do anything because you fear it will set them off. In the beginning, they were charming and you talked for hours and it seemed so perfect! But now you are afraid to rock the boat and yet, you start to second-guess and blame yourself for this trepidation. 

They need to control everything.

An abuser tries to control the information because knowledge is power. This is why communist countries control the flow of information through the media because if people knew the truth they might revolt. This type of behavior is used in relationships as well. It causes the victim’s self-esteem to become hopeless and obsolete. A victim will allow themselves to be cut off from friends and family until one day they are isolated because of manipulation. They also want to control your emotions. They may become irritated with you if you said you would be somewhere at a certain time and are a minute late. Partners are supposed to love you, not regulate all the decisions or isolate you.

They belittle you.

An abusive mate will tease and belittle until you have no self-esteem left to exit the relationship. This can be through humiliation like calling you fat in public or telling you that you don't measure up. They ridicule you in front of other people and you go with the flow because you've been stripped of self-confidence. Humiliation is a form of abuse. "It starts out with subtle jabs or insults in private and then become full blown yelling and embarrassment in public before you even realize it," activebeat.com reported.

They make you feel shame.

It's your fault and always will be in the mind of an abuser. A person who is abusing you makes you feel guilty for the pain that they have afflicted upon you. They believe that they need to treat you like a child because they see you as one. An abuser doesn’t want to understand about your pain, except to reinforce that “You deserve whatever pain you feel. That you’ve brought it on yourself, or that it’s your deserved destiny to feel bad about yourself,” Vixen Daily reported. If they are exhibiting bad behavior and blaming you for it, you are entangled in an abusive relationship.

They instill fear.

Fear is a weapon that can rip your self-esteem away and it's another emotional ploy to keep you hostage. They might tell you that you can’t make it alone and that you need them because they can't ever look weak. They may threaten to leave you without money, food or medication. Once they program you with fear, you are in a beguiling and deadly trap.

Create your own mental checklist to see if you are in an abusive relationship. If you think the relationship has the markings of abuse--reach out to someone who can lead you to higher ground.
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