Speak privately with a counselor today!

Understanding Abuse and Breaking Out Of It

Read on to understand the pattern and types of abuse that can be inflicted upon a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage.

The Abuse Pattern

Abuse follows a pattern known as the ‘Cycle of Violence’. Let us identify it in order to understand an abusive relationship better. The following is a list of the essential components of this pattern:


  • Violence: The abuser acts aggressive and takes to violent behavior. This is done purely to dominate the victim and display power.
  • Remorse: The abuser displays extreme remorse post the abusive episode. This is done not because of guilt but because of the fear of being exposed and for preventing the victim from complaining about the abuse.
  • Explanation: The abuser then tries to justify their action. More often than not, they try to hold the victim responsible for the their own anger.
  • Acting Casual: The abuser may act absolutely normal after the abusive episode, behaving as if nothing has happened. This is done to prevent the victim to move out of the relationship.
  • Imagining And Planning: The abuser then begins to imagine abusing the victim and starts planning their next attack. They then turn this dream into reality.
  • Frame-Up: The abuser deliberately creates a situation where they can abuse the victim and blame it on them yet again.

Types Of Abuse

Let’s see the types of abuse that the perpetrator may use to dominate over the victim.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may be verbal or nonverbal. It is intended to kill the self-worth and freedom of the victim. The victim gets scared and feels hopeless. He or she may think that nothing can be done to stop this pattern and may give in to the abuser’s demands every time. Emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse, as the very wellbeing of the victim is attacked and crushed.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves hurting the victim physically by slapping, grabbing, chocking, throwing things and/or using weapons. It is meant to cause injury and establish dominance over the victim. It is a concrete crime, and the police must be contacted immediately if it occurs to you or someone you witness.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, marital rape, and forced sex are common acts of sexual violence and abuse. Unwanted and unprotected sex can not only harm the victim physically but can shatter them emotionally as well. It is a direct attack on the victim’s self esteem and can crush them completely.

Financial Abuse

Since the abuser wants to dominate the victim, it becomes extremely difficult for them to do so if the victim is financially independent. Therefore, they controls the victim’s finances by withholding their money or giving them an allowance from their own money. They may also make the victim skip work in order to control them.

Abuse follows a pattern which is more or less common for all types of abuse. Both men and women can fall a prey to abuse; however, women are more commonly known to be abused in an intimate relationship or marriage. Abuse does not mean loss of control by the abuser; no matter what people say, it is a choice made to dominate the partner.

If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from abuse counseling, we invite you to contact us to set an appointment today. Please call us at (916) 412-5679 or fill out our contact form to the right, and one of our trained counselors will be in touch with you shortly. All prices are on a sliding scale based on your income.

meet dawn, our founder

Dawn T Barry Hulme, Director, Marriage and Family Therapist MFCC 50153, Masters in Psychology with emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy

As the founder and lead counselor of Windows of Hope Counseling Center, it was my hope to create a non-profit agency offering effective and affordable counseling to the community. It is my belief that everyone deserves to be nurtured and supported during their healing process. Many times while on our life journey we can become confused and experience difficulty finding our way. My hope is to help clients become anchored so that when life difficulties become part of their journey they stay flexible while keeping their direction intact. I specialize with couples and individuals using "Imago" therapeutic techniques along with mindfulness based practices.

Click here to meet the rest of our Roseville and Sacramento staff!