In fact, there are several different definitions of what can qualify as abuse, ranging from physical to verbal and even digital.
“A lot of people think of abuse as just getting hit, but it’s a lot of different things,” Dr. Phil explains.
The Aspire Initiative, a free domestic violence education curriculum for tweens, teens and adults, to reduce the level of intimate relationship violence in the United States, founded by Robin McGraw through her When Georgia Smiled foundation, offers these definitions for five different types of abuse, courtesy of LoveIsRespect.org.
Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to control a partner through fear or injury.
Emotional/Verbal Abuse: An attempt to control a partner through the manipulation of their self-esteem, sense of personal security, relationships with others, and/or their perception of reality. Often it results in the victim feeling worthless and responsible for the abuse.
Sexual Abuse: Any behaviors that impact a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs
Digital Abuse: This is a form of emotional/verbal abuse that uses technology or social media to intimidate, harass, bully, stalk or threaten a current or ex-partner.
Financial Abuse: The use of finances or access to finances to control a partner. It’s one of the powerful forms of abuse, and common method of entrapping a partner in the relationship. It’s often given as the reason that victims of abuser stayed in or returned to an abusive relationship.
Watch the video above, as Dr. Phil goes over the definitions and examples with best friends-turned-girlfriends, to help them understand how things they may not think about may become abusive.