Abusive Relationships - What is the Difference between Being Abusive and Being an Abuser?

Nov 20 08:53 2008 Dr. Jeanne King Print This Article

What is the difference between "being abusive" and "being an abuser?" People trying to determine if they are entangled in intimate partner violence are asking the question: Am I in a dangerously abusive relationship? Read on to learn more about how you know the answer to this important question.

What is the difference between "being abusive" and "being an abuser?" I hear this question by people trying to determine if they are entangled in intimate partner violence,Guest Posting even when they don't know this term. What they want to know is: Am I in a dangerously abusive relationship?

I think being abusive is a rather general way of describing behavior that violates you as a person; your rights, your space, your choices, yourself. It can come out of frustration, stress, lowered inhibitions, insecurity, fear, vulnerability, or any combination of the above.

What is an Abuser?

Being an abuser on the other hand, in the classical sense, refers to a person that fulfills a specific criteria. And when engaged in an intimate relationship with this person, a specific criteria of defining characteristics exist which are intimate partner violence.

The criteria for intimate partner violence as it's defined by the literate consists of: possessiveness, controlling behavior, lack of empathy, externalization of blame, isolation of victimized partner, and the use of battering to create and maintain a relationship of unequal power.

How to Know if Intimate Partner Violence Is, or Is Not, in Your Relationship

Many people know this cluster of symptoms, but fail to recognize how they actually manifest in their lives. I have found in working with people over the years that when I bring attention to the subtle relationship interaction patterns in their daily lives, the light goes off for them in a way far more compelling than their simply trying to match the primary characteristics defining intimate partner violence to their relationship.

Further and equally valuable is the fact that people can discover if their relationship fulfills the criteria for intimate partner violence and if it does not. Often people will say they are dealing with an abuser, when the fact is their partner is abusive at times but doesn't actually fulfill the criteria for an intimate partner abuser.

The Value of Knowing Your Truth about Intimate Partner Abuse

Knowing this distinction can set you on a more productive road to remedying your relationship conflict. Without this understanding, you could be pursuing interventions inappropriate to your circumstances and even worse potentially hazardous to your safety.

If you are asking the question, "Am I in a dangerously abusive relationship?" then you deserve to have the answer...if not for yourself for the children that may be a twinkle in your eye today.

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About Article Author

Dr. Jeanne King
Dr. Jeanne King

For more information about the dynamics of abusive relationships, visit http://www.IsThisAbuse.com. If you want a personal assessment of an abusive relationship, see the Intimate Partner Abuse Screen at http://www.PreventAbusiveRelationships.com. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. ©2008 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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