What is intimate partner abuse?

What is intimate partner abuse?

Intimate partner abuse is a pattern of controlling, demeaning, and/or punishing behaviors and attitudes with a dating, cohabiting, or marriage partner, during or after the relationship.

At its core, partner abuse is driven by self-centered motivations.

Intimate partner abuse book. Signs of an emotionally abusive partner. Signs that your partner is abusive.

Intimate partner abuse can happen in any configuration of romantic couple, straight or gay.

Sometimes a man in a couple abuses his partner, sometimes a woman is abusive, sometimes there is mutual abuse—each partner abusing the other.

We most often think about physically violent acts when we think about partner abuse, but there are many methods of choice for controlling, demeaning, and punishing partners. Partner abuse takes on many forms. 

Every form of abuse includes an emotional component. If you are financially, physically, sexually, verbally, or spiritually abused by your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband, you will also feel emotionally and psychologically abused by that partner. 

7 forms of intimate partner abuse:

  • verbal abuse,
  • sexual abuse,
  • financial abuse,
  • physical abuse,
  • spiritual abuse,
  • legal abuse, or
  • emotional/psychological abuse.

7 forms of partner abuse infographic, spousal abuse infographic

Abuse can range from mild to severe. Some behaviors are severely abusive even if they occur only once; others may be considered very abusive because of the number of times they occur. A variety of abusive behaviors may combine to increase the degree of abuse.

For more about intimate partner abuse, including signs of an abusive partner, check out my books:

partner abuse book, domestic violence, spousal abuseAbuse OF Men BY Women: It Happens, It Hurts, and It's Time to Get Real About It ,

abused men booka quick look at Abuse OF Men BY Women,




partner abuse book, spousal abuse, domestic violencea quick look at Partner Abuse,




  • Ann Silvers
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