Symptoms of abuse may not be clear at first glance. A main reason being that it is a subject not often talked about openly, so having that initial conversation can be very difficult. We typically hear of victims of abuse not speaking about their confrontations out of fear that they may be victimized again. Some other reasons include that they do not want to burden others with their situation, they physically cannot stand up for themselves (ie. a child to an adult), or they have convinced themselves that the situation will improve with time.

All of the above reasons are not an excuse to ignore abusive behaviour. The only way to conquer it is to not shrug the problem off, but to face it head-on. One method of properly assessing the situation is by classifying your abuse in one of the two commonly noted ways: Physical and Emotional.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is intentional and non-consensual contact with your body or surrounding areas. It doesn’t necessarily leave marks on your body; however, it is still an unhealthy and incredibly dangerous behaviour for one to have. Physical abuse puts your body at risk of injury and in some more serious cases, even death.

Examples of physical abuse:

  • Hitting, punching, scratching, biting, kicking, strangling, etc.
  • Throwing items
  • Forcing sexual acts

Visible signs that physical abuse may have occurred:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Broken bones or fractures

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is often more difficult for victims to speak out about, simply because it isn’t made known through bruises and broken bones. Since nobody is being hurt physically, it may be easier to rationalize that a situation isn’t as bad as it actually is. Our mind tricks us into thinking that things will “get better”, but the below red flags should not be disregarded.

Examples of emotional abuse:

  • Being purposely humiliated in front of other people
  • Extreme, blatant jealousy and possessiveness
  • Accusations of being “too sensitive” in an attempt to defend abusive remarks
  • Controlling of finances and being instructed how to spend your money
  • Disapproving glances and condescending language
  • Having flaws or mistakes pointed out regularly
  • Denial of emotionally abusive behaviour when confronted about it

Visible signs that emotional abuse may have occurred:

  • Isolating yourself from friends
  • Relying on your partner for approval to do things
  • Self doubt and body negativity


Written by Lindsey Locke | Copywriter