Despite so much ‘awareness’ people become overwhelmed and confused. Overwhelm leads to non action. People do not understand the specific definition of abuse and start listing the types of abuse. Most people don’t know all 17 types. You are at risk of abuse, or not recognising abuse in those you love, if you only identify abuse by types. There are so many behaviours used within each type. If you only know some types, and then only some of the behaviours in that type, you narrow your capacity to recognise abuse.

There are 7 key areas inside Overwhelm and Confusion. Get clear on:

1.)The definition of domestic violence: a “pattern of force, to extinguish another person’s reality, feelings, needs, opinions and rights to have their own response, using tactics of denial, control, threats and punishment which involve acts of commission or onmission”.
2.)Violence is not just physical or sexual. All abuse is violating. When an intimate person in our life directs any form of abuse towards us, our brain registers emotional pain as if it is physical.
3.)There is conflict within abuse, but not all conflict is abusive. We are all human, and at times we all deny someone’s feelings, needs or reality. The difference between abuse and conflict is that with conflict, our well being and safety to be ourselves is not threatened. There is not a pattern of force or intention to control another.
4.)When someone uses abuse, nothing you do justifies abuse. No matter if what you are saying or doing is unfair, unrealistic or lazy. Even if you are not clear on your boundaries. No one has the right to punish or control you. Abuse is a choice.
5.)No one who uses abuse is ‘out of control’. Abuse happens in secret and behind closed doors because the person using abuse is controlling who sees, and whether they care if it is witnessed. This is obvious when you ask a woman if his belongings were ever damaged during his ‘explosions’. The answer is, never.
6.)Every abusive relationship is toxic, but not every toxic relationship is abusive. The difference, is a toxic relationship involves abusive tendencies, but neither person has an intention to control, deny or force another, even if their behaviours appear to. Calling your partner ‘abusive’, just deepens the toxic harm, and does not help identify or address the real cause where toxic gaps live within each person.
7.)Trauma is any experience which is overwhelming and we don’t have the safety, resources or skills to integrate and respond to our experience. Involuntary trauma responses can be involved in either abuse, toxic or conflict in relationships. Being able to check, can I feel, say ordo what I need or want, or am I inhibiting myself because the other person will control, punish or reject me, or is it that I have thoughts or feelings which leave me inhibited even if my partner would accept me.
Anita Bentata is a Survivor, Author, Professional Speaker, Trauma Psychotherapist, Retreat, Workshop, Group facilitator, and Trainer. Anita’s books and contact details can be found on She can be found on FB The Wolf in a Suit and IG Anita Bentata
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