The Different Forms of Abuse

Abuse comes in many forms. Some are easy to spot, while some may be difficult to recognize. Some may not like how they’re being treated, but they may be afraid to speak up and label it as abuse.

Below are seven types of abuse that are very common today.

This is typically the type of abuse that comes to mind when people think of the word “ABUSE”. Physical abuse includes punching, kicking, hitting, strangling, slapping, or physically restraining a partner against their will. Physical abuse can also include driving recklessly or invading someone’s physical space, and in any other way making someone feel physically unsafe. Physical abuse can start slowly, sometimes beginning with throwing objects pushing, or shoving.

This type of abuse happens when one person wears away at the other’s sense of mental well-being and health, through a series of actions or words. With mental or psychological abuse, the targeted partner begins to doubt their own sanity. Because the abuser tends to isolate the targeted partner, feelings self doubt creep in.

Usually, verbal abuse happens in private and is often isolating. It can chip away at one’s self-esteem, making it more difficult for the targeted person to seek help. Verbal abuse can take many different forms, including name-calling, criticism, circular arguments, manipulation, condescension, accusations, withholding, threats, blame, demeaning comments, & gaslighting.

This form of abuse includes the use of technology to control and stalk their partner. Technological/digital abuse can happen to people of all ages, it’s much more common among teenagers. Examples of digital/ technological abuse are: Hacking into a partner’s email and personal accounts, using tracking devices on a partner’s cell phone to monitor their location, phone calls, and messages, monitoring interactions via social media, and demanding to know the partner’s passwords.

Emotional abuse can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation and manipulation. Emotional abuse can be compared to brainwashing. It systematically wears away at the person’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, and trust in their own perceptions. Emotional abuse can sometimes be disguised as giving constructive criticism, guidance, or giving advice. Although emotional abuse doesn’t leave the target with physical scars, it can have a huge impact on confidence and self-esteem.

Sexual abuse is sexual behavior or a sexual act forced upon a woman, man or child without their consent. Sexual abuse includes abuse of a woman, man or child by a man, woman or child. The list includes( but is not limited to):

  • Many victims of abuse don’t initially realize it’s happening. Each type of abuse is serious and no one deserves to experience abuse of any kind.
  • Sexual assault – a term including all sexual offenses, any action or statement with sexual nature done without consent from both sides.
  • Rape – insertion of a bodily organ or an object into the sex organ of a woman without her consent.
  • Sodomy – insertion of a bodily organ or an object into a person’s anus or mouth without their consent.
  • Attempted rape – attempted insertion of a bodily organ or an object into the sex organ of a woman without her consent.
  • Gang rape – rape carried out by more than one attacker.
  • Serial Rape – repeated incidents of rape carried out by the same attacker over an extended period of time.
  • Incest – Sexual abuse or assault at the hands of a family member

Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in general, include tactics to conceal information, limit the target’s access to assets, or reduce accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse – along with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse – includes behaviors to intentionally manipulate, intimidate, and threaten the target in order to entrap that person in the relationship. Financial abuse is one of the most powerful forms of abuse, and a common method of entrapping a partner in the relationship. It is often given as the reason that targets of abusers stayed in or return to an abusive relationship.

Remember: You are strong, you will survive this chapter of your life.

About CWC Coaching & Therapy Chantel Cohen


At CWC Coaching, our team consists of licensed therapists, life coaches, and counselors. We assist clients with self-improvement, career development, negative self-talk, psychological pain, self-sabotaging behavior, past hurts, and finding your purpose.

If you are ready to increase your self-awareness and happiness, break through limiting behavior and understand your purpose in life, we’d love to help guide you on this journey – contact us.

– CWC Team