Domestic abuse sometimes involves violence, but mostly it does not. Domestic abuse is better thought of as a kind of brainwashing that takes place over years or decades. Common indicators include:
being isolated by your partner from friends, family, and support network;
being made by your partner to feel exhausted, dependent, or incompetent;
occasional indulgences from your partner;
your partner's demonstrating superiority or power over you;
your partner degrading and humiliating you;
your partner enforcing trivial demands on you.
One psychiatrist who works with victims of abuse says:
"You can take a guy off the street and tell him to go down a dangerous alley with dangerous gunfire and that guy will run in the other direction, having made a rational decision to preserve himself.
You can take that same guy and put him through boot camp and then tell him to go down that dangerous alley; and he'll stand up and say 'Yes, Sir!" and he'll go do it.
The difference . . . is three months of abuse.
Most abuse victims endure more than a decade of abuse before they realize they may have an issue.
For the soldier, the most difficult thing to do is say "no" to his CO. For the abused spouse, the most difficult things to do is to say "no" to the abusive partner. To expect an abuse victim to take action may be too much.
That's how abuse works: it psychologically disables the victim from being able to act against it."
If you're in an abusive relationship -- or if you know someone who is -- call for a consultation and a referral to a qualified mental health professional. Together we can form a team to get the victim's life back on the right track.