Dr Neha Mehta Describes The What is Abuse & Types of Abuse in A Relationship

Neha Mehta
Marriage & Relationship

11 Jan 2021
what is abuse

Abuse is an action that intentionally harasses or injures another person.

In abuse, people misbehave or misuse with other people and don't show concern for their value as innate individuals and in this way, they degrade their well-being. It occurs when someone causes harm or distress to others in many forms like ranging from dishonour to physical or mental pain.

It is a common occurrence in modern times, in many different forms.

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual Abuse
  3. Emotional Abuse
  4. Financial Abuse
  5. Psychological abuse
  6. Cultural abuse

In this post, We are going to know about all of the above-mentioned abuses.

Or just watch this Video: What is Abuse? Types of Abuse in Relationship | Effects of Abuses on Brain | Dr Neha Mehta


Physical Abuse:

This photo is of a lonely abused girl sitting along with the wall.

Physical abuse is the obvious and most common form of abuse. Many people who experience physical abuse come forward to push, make noise, slap, bite, kick, strangle, punch, or abandon.  It may include harm that is intentional or that is inflicted with the intent to hurt the person.

According to a report, 43 per cent of men in India reported that at least a child abuse. (Read the full report on Physical abuse in India)

In this type of abuse, the victim can be locked out of the house, food, medication, or sleep deprivation, or refusal to help when the victim is ill or injured. The repeated physical abuse can lead to physical and mental health issues, including brain injury, heart conditions, respiratory problems, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.

Sexual Abuse:

An Alone girl standing in a blury Window, seems like sexsually abused by someone.

Sexual activity between committed individuals should be enjoyable for each person. When sex is forced on a reluctant partner, it is sexual abuse. It is sexual abuse if you feel compelled to engage in sexual activity with your partner for your emotional or physical safety.

It presents in the following ways:

  1. Publicly showing interest in others
  2. Criticism sexually
  3. Anger or jealousy
  4. Stopping or influencing sex to hurt or punish someone
  5. Forcing any part of sex using guilt, or manipulation
  6. Unwanted sexual activity or forced sex after beating

Recommended read: Sexual Violence in India

Emotional Abuse:

emotionally absued man sitting on the floor,who hiding his face

Emotional abuse is possibly a type of abuse to which the person may be exposed. In this type of abuse, you are frequently denied your right to express your feelings and it is a violation of your most important values.

Some warning signs of this type of abuse are:

  1. Withdrawal of approval
  2. Criticism, and shouting
  3. Regular threats to leave 
  4. Invasion of privacy
  5. Elimination of support by preventing contact with the family.

Recommended read: Emotional Abuse in children, abuse types, risks, effects & support to prevent.

Financial Abuse:

a guy standing in a bakery, who is  financially abused.

Financial abuse is a type of abuse in which the victim is controlled to obtain, use, maintain financial resources, and also he can be prevented from working. Their own money can be banned or stolen by the abuser. They don't have full access to money and they have to account for every money they spend. The effects of financial abuse can be very devastating.

In this type of abuse victims feel very inadequate and sometimes they have to go without food and other necessities because they have no money.

Recommended read: What is Financial Abuse? These Are the Signs

Psychological abuse:

Psychological abuse is difficult to define because it encapsulates a spectrum of abuse that provides no clear physical evidence. This includes passing comments, damaging personal identity, and questioning your safety as if you can not meet your child or go out or talk with your parents unless you do this.

The signs of this type of abuse are:

  1. Threatening to take children
  2. Playing mind games
  3. Ignoring or reducing the victim's feelings
  4. Refusal to socialize with the victim

Cultural abuse:

Cultural abuse means that abusers use aspects of the victim's particular cultural identity as a means of grief or control.

This abuse includes:

  1. Denying the victim reach to their spiritual or cultural community
  2. Violating or preventing the victim's spiritual or cultural practices
  3. To transfer spiritual or cultural obligations or prohibitions to the victim
  4. Forced the victim to suffer spiritual or cultural beliefs and practices that are in conflict with their own
  5. Abusing the victim's traditions, practices, and expectations of a spiritual or cultural community.

Recommended read: Know about Domestic abuse in 2020


It is not possible to compare and determine different types of abuses that are worse. Each person has a different way of experiencing abuse and any one of them can cause very harmful consequences. I can say that all abuses are wrong, unacceptable, and must be stopped without saying which abuse is worse.

Abuse is very wrong because no one has the right to control or pain others. You need to find a way to stop it if you are being abused.

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    Neha Mehta

    Consultant Psychologist, Mental Health Professional

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    Location: Hisar, India

    Language: English, Hindi, Punjabi

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