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Breaking the Silence: The Many Forms of Abuse in Relationships

Women's Mental Health Podcast: Episode 41 The Many Forms of Abuse in Relationships

Listen To The Many Forms of Abuse in Relationships

In this episode of Women's Mental Health Podcast with Licensed Therapists Randi Owsley, LMSW and Jessica Bullwinkle LMFT, we’ll be discussing abuse in relationships. Abuse can take many different forms and can be challenging to identify. Join hosts Randi and Jessica, as they share the various types of abuse in relationships, the signs to look out for, and what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse. Whether you're a new mom, empty nester, or simply seeking mental health resources, this episode is for you.

It can happen to anyone… You Are Not Alone

This is a trigger warning for this episode if you or someone you care for is in an abusive relationship. We are not going to sugar coat this episode. 

Reminder that there if you are in a abusive relationship this there is help.

Use the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Text START to 88788

Ways to Unwind and Relax

Meditative, Relaxing, Mental Health Coloring books developed by licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley and Jessica Bullwinkle – Available on Amazon Today!

Transcript – Breaking the Silence: The Many Forms of Abuse in Relationships

[00:00:00] Jess: 1, 2,

[00:00:03] Randi: 3, 4. Hi friends. It's Randi and Jess, and we're gonna cut

[00:00:07] Jess: the bullshit and let's get into women's mental health.

[00:00:13] Randi: Welcome to the podcast unapologetically All Over the place with Randy and Jess, two licensed psychotherapists where we talk about women's mental health, our wellbeing and strategies for coping with these life's challenges and how it's all hard and normal and you're not alone. Right?

[00:00:29] Jess: In today's podcast we'll be discussing the different types of abuse and relationships.

Abuse and relationships can take different forms and can be challenging to identify. So in this episode, we're gonna go through and discuss the various types of these abuse and relationships, what to look out for, um, and what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, cuz it can happen to anyone.

[00:00:52] Randi: And you can find us and more resources on Randy and jess And we just wanna say that this is a trigger warning for this episode. If you or someone you care for is in an abusive relationship. We are not going to sugarcoat this. We are going to talk about the hard facts about this.

[00:01:12] Jess: So yes, reminder that if you are in an abusive relationship there is help, national Domestic Violence Hotline, you can start, I can text start s T A r T to 88 7 88.

You can go to the Um, also, when you go to that website, if you're worried somebody is tracking you, it'll pop up and remind you that. You know, people might be tracking you online mm-hmm. Um, through your internet, and you can exit out of it and it'll exit out for you. So just remember there are a couple of different ways that you can reach them.

[00:01:49] Randi: So have you ever had these

[00:01:51] Jess: thoughts? They said they love me and will never hit me again.

[00:01:55] Randi: I'm afraid to use my phone or Google search because they track me somehow. I didn't

[00:02:00] Jess: think I said that, but if I take the blame, they'll leave me alone.

[00:02:04] Randi: I'm afraid to share my feelings with them. Why

[00:02:07] Jess: do they keep me so busy that I have no time left for friends or family?

[00:02:11] Randi: What excuse am I going to give people this time for their behavior? One that maybe I haven't used before,

[00:02:17] Jess: if only my friends and family saw the side that I see him. Sometimes

[00:02:22] Randi: I know this is not my fault and I am a smart person, so how did I end up in an abusive relationship? That

[00:02:29] Jess: is such a key part right there, right?

[00:02:31] Randi: It happens to everybody.

[00:02:33] Jess: It happens so easily because I mean, and, and when I as a therapist, I really, I don't start off going, he's abusive. That's abuse. I usually work it nice and slow because people have a hard time going, wait, I'm in an abusive relationship. That's abuse. So let's talk about what is

[00:02:53] Randi: abuse.

So abuse can come in so many different forms. It's not a one size fit all, and it can be very difficult to recognize, which is why it's important to have this conversation and understand the different types of abuse in relationships that are out

[00:03:10] Jess: there, right? So the basic definition of abuse is any type of behavior that causes harm to another person.

[00:03:17] Randi: Right. And it can happen in relationships between family members, it can happen between friends as well as, you know, romantic partners. Mm-hmm.

[00:03:26] Jess: So, in right now, we're gonna talk about five types of, of, of abuse that we see in our practices. We see, you know, with friends that we have dis, you know, seen in our lives.


[00:03:39] Randi: And so those five types of abuse in relationships are physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and digital


[00:03:48] Jess: Right. Okay. So let's talk first. The main one that everybody always says abuse is, is. Physical abuse. Right. Uh, physical abuse is when somebody is physically forcing somebody or causing them physical injury.

Like, you know, somebody hits 'em, throws something at them. Yeah. Pushes them.

[00:04:07] Randi: Slapping or even a weapon. Yeah. So, and this can be a recognized invisible, bruises, cuts, or other type of injuries, breaks, things like that. And

[00:04:20] Jess: this is where you'll see people start making excuses of. Oh, I fell down the stairs. Oh, I was just clumsy, right?

[00:04:29] Randi: Yeah, I tripped, I fell, I walked into the wall, like things like

[00:04:33] Jess: that. And, and those things you mean? They do really happen.

[00:04:36] Randi: I mean, I'm super clumsy, so like I have bruises on myself all the time, but like, you know, my friends who know me, you know, know that about me. If it's something that's like, Kind of like out of, out of the ordinary too, or like, you get like a weird feeling about it, you know, have

[00:04:53] Jess: that difficult conversation.

And in our last episode, we just talked about how to have difficult conversations. Mm-hmm. And so if you're noticing something, I mean, that doesn't look right, you know, a hand mark on somebody's arm, um, have that conversation with them and, and ask what is going on and, and see if they need help or they just need an ear.

[00:05:14] Randi: So another type of abuse in relationships is emotional abuse. And this is when the person uses words or actions to control, manipulate or humiliate someone. And you can listen into our podcast on gaslighting mm-hmm. About this too, cuz that kind of leads in heavily into emotional abuse. And this can be like verbal attacks, threats, um, belittling someone.

[00:05:41] Jess: Yeah. It, it also sometimes will comes across, uh, people will say it's emotional or psychological or mental abuse, right? Mm-hmm. All three of those things are the same thing. Um, emotional abuse is basically, we recognize it when somebody is feeling fearful or shameful, or what I see a lot of times is that, um, they'll feel really low self.

Esteem. Mm-hmm. Right. Because somebody has been telling them they suck for however long. Right. Or that they're a bad mom

[00:06:11] Randi: or, and they start to believe it. And you can kind of see like a person's self-esteem just shrink. Like yeah, just shrink and get smaller and smaller. And that's when you can kind of be like, Hey, maybe something right isn't happening right here.

Mm-hmm. Um, another type of, uh, abuse that people like to avoid talking about, but is very important is sexual abuse. Mm-hmm. And this is any. Any type, any, any type of unwanted sexual activity

[00:06:39] Jess: or behavior. It's not just

[00:06:41] Randi: sex. Exactly. So it's like, yeah, if somebody's like slapping you on the ass and you don't like it, or somebody's, you know, touching you in a way that is sexual that you don't like, even if it's not full like penetration, that doesn't mean.

Yeah. That

[00:06:54] Jess: it's not abuse, uncomfortable. And this includes, I mean, we talk about includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment. Right. And that goes through, if somebody is, you know, sexually harassing you, you know, even in the workplace mm-hmm. Um, it's not okay. Right. Right.

[00:07:09] Randi: And it is in a form of abuse.


[00:07:12] Jess: It's another form of abuse and it makes the victim the person. And, and nobody likes the word victim. I know. But it makes the victim feel, you know, shameful or guilty or, you know. The best. I've read this article years ago, and I know I've mentioned it before, but that says you didn't get raped because of where you were or what you were wearing.

You were raped because you were in a room with a rapist, or rather the rapist was in the room with you.

[00:07:39] Randi: That gave me goosebumps because I think, um, so many times we as women take on those things if we've been raped or we've been molested, or we've been sexually harassed, that we think we did something to deserve it.

[00:07:54] Jess: Well, they used to tell us that. What was she wearing? Right. Did she deserve that? No. Nobody deserved that. Nobody deserves it.

[00:08:02] Randi: Wow. Okay. Yeah, we're

[00:08:03] Jess: very passionate about this. Yeah. And, and again, I want you to know the reason. That somebody is raped or molested or whatever, is Bec not because of who they are or what they're doing, it's because of the person who is doing it to them.

Mm-hmm. Right. And so I, I really, I read that article and I was like, oh my God. Mind blown

[00:08:23] Randi: that, yeah, it's no fault of your own right. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You have nothing to feel guilty of. You have nothing to fear about telling people about this because frankly, The statistics of women who are sexually abused is so disgusting.

Mm-hmm. I would say probably it, what is it, eight out of 10 huge, huge women that you, huge that you would know have been sexually abused in some way, shape, or form. Mm-hmm.

[00:08:53] Jess: And, and the article that I was referring to, this woman was talking about how she, um, you know, she got, she was drunk. She had gone to a nightclub, passed out on the train, you know, fell asleep or passed out.

And she woke up. And guess what? She didn't get raped. You know why? Because there wasn't a rapist on the train. Mm-hmm. And so she, you know, was she lucky? I, I don't know. I don't remember her saying anything like that, but it's just that there wasn't a rapist on the train. And that's why it didn't happen.

[00:09:19] Randi: Right. And another one I feel like we don't talk about enough is financial abuse. Mm-hmm. And this is using money or resources, maybe like a car, things like that, to control or manipulate someone. Right.

[00:09:34] Jess: Or like not letting them know how much you make, right? Mm-hmm. There's so many people that have no clue what their partners make or where the money is, right? Yeah. So this is not the 1950s

[00:09:44] Randi: ladies, I mean, So no access to money, or they could be stealing money from you or things like that, or coercing someone or signing documents in your name. There's, and this happens a lot to an elder abuse. Yes. Um, people will take over kind of people that are ailing, like, you know, their money, but this happens a lot to women in general too. Mm-hmm.

[00:10:08] Jess: Or like if you're a stay-at-home mom and they're like, you know, which is fine and your husband is controlling the money, and you are like, well, I can't go do that, because I've worked with so many women who are like, I just wanna go see an attorney, but I can't cuz he watches the money. And so they're trying to get like $10 and $20 extra out.

[00:10:26] Randi: I did that, when I left an abusive relationship was that that is another good. Trick mm-hmm. That we used to talk about with, um, domestic violence victim is to, you know, get some cash back when you were like grocery shopping or things like that. Yep. Small amounts. What I did was I got a credit card in my name and I took out a cash advance and I went to an attorney.

Okay. Yeah, so, you know, I mean, not always smart to take a credit card out in your name, but, uh, it was, it felt like life and death at the time that I was fighting for myself. So I did that because that was the only way I knew how to do it and not have them aware of what I was doing.

[00:11:04] Jess: Right. And, and that's, and it's hard when you have kids too, because it's the, you, they, the coercion happens where you can't afford it. You're never gonna get any money. I'm never gonna give you money. Right? Yeah.

[00:11:15] Randi: I really, or you'll never have a, I'll make your life so horrible. Like, you'll never be able to afford this. You could never afford to, you know, take care of the kids on your own, things like that.

[00:11:25] Jess: Look at your state laws, right. The two states that I've lived in are, you know, my money's your money, your money's my money.

Mm-hmm. Um, they don't usually care what you do, why you get a divorce. Right. Um, and most of them have calculators that are based upon what you make, and you know, it, it can get nasty. Yeah. But there are, there are laws set up. Some states do not have those laws yet. Um, and so it's, it's important to look at your laws and see what's there.

[00:11:51] Randi: And another, um, new, an upcoming, I guess, Ooh, that's trending. Trending, yeah. Unfortunately, trending type of abuse is digital abuse, and this is using technology. To control, intimidate, or harass or bully another person. Um, even your spouse, like if, like you said, we were talking about tracking somebody online or like tracking them with their phone or like having access to, you know, private things on your phone or like, where are you at?

I can't see you, you know, on the map and things like that. I know

[00:12:24] Jess: I was on vacation with, uh, my daughter and her friend. I mean, this was a totally fine story, but it was kind of weird and creepy, but totally fine. Um, that's what I'm saying. It was totally fine. It was weird and creepy,

[00:12:34] Randi: but fine at the same time.

[00:12:34] Jess: It was, it was totally fine. I didn't care, but it was like, Ooh, that made me think of this kind of stuff. Right. Um, I had my daughter and her bestie. We were on vacation and we were somewhere, um, and they had just said, Hey, uh, the parents had sent a text us, Hey, how's it going? And blah, blah, blah, the city we are in, and I was like, Ooh, that's weird.

I mean, it's totally fine that you're tracking us, cuz I would've told you. Yeah, right. And it's no big deal. But, you know, there's so much technology now that you don't even know if it's on your phone. Mm-hmm. They weren't tracking me. They're, they're, they had it, they're her for her daughter, right. Yeah.

Which is totally fine. But again, a lot of women don't realize that somebody has gotten into their phone and they're tracking them. Mm-hmm. Right? And they can tell where they've been, how long they've been there, and then they'll start asking, there's lots of

[00:13:19] Randi: questions. There's lots that track that that we don't always realize or we don't know how to turn it off on our phone.

And you're like, wait, like even just friends and people like will be like, Hey, I saw your ass. So and so, and you're like, what? Like how did that, some of these apps just like post, like without you even like knowing too, and they're like, you're like, what? And you have to go in into settings and turn off those things so you're not being tracked 24 7, but this is, it can be weaponized to be used against.

Women and men too, you know, and to kind of create this, a digital

[00:13:53] Jess: abuse. Think about it. What if you are at Target, right? And you're shopping and you're totally doing nothing un you know that you shouldn't, but then somebody who's tracking you. Right. Stalker is out there by your car waiting for you. Right.

I mean, there are some scenarios that are kind of scary and I hear about people

[00:14:12] Randi: who, oh yeah. The apple tags people will put 'em on people's cars and then track 'em to where they go and, mm-hmm. What's women happening here? Uh, I mean, it's happened all over the place and then some people will find it, but then they know, or they're watching your pattern too, to see where you're going and or where you're gonna be alone.

And like, you know, the system that you use to get to point A to B and then they have like a pattern to follow you and you know, corner you or harm you when you're

[00:14:40] Jess: alone. And most of us are such. Creatures of habit, we go down the same street. Mm-hmm. We stop at the same stop sign. You know, I used to work for a bank years ago and they were always saying things like, you know, take a different route home, do something different after work.

Yeah. Most of us are so busy, we're just like on autopilot. By the time we

[00:14:59] Randi: get home, we don't check, like if there's somebody in the backseat of the car, if we left it on, oh, now you're

[00:15:04] Jess: creeping me out. Okay. But I hope none of y'all are, and I are like watching this in the dark by yourself. I have a,

[00:15:09] Randi: I have a, a. Pink sparkly taser and my teenager has one too. And, um, we carry those with us because I say like, you can never be like too safe. Unfortunately, especially as women, we have to learn that people out there are going to come for us and target us just because we are a woman well, and they think we're weak.

Yes. You are not weak. No. And so we are here to say that nobody deserves to be abused. And so that's why it is important to seek help and to have these conversations and even if you see somebody that has experienced it and understand these forms of abuse so that you can have these conversations and seek help if you need it.

[00:15:55] Jess: You know, as a therapist, I work with mostly women and. When they're telling me stories, I, I can go, that sounds like abuse. And if I come across right away, and I'm like, that's abuse. Most of them won't come back, right? Mm-hmm. Because it's a, it's a, it's not a bad word, but

[00:16:13] Randi: it's just nobody wants to hear that or think that sometimes.

[00:16:16] Jess: Right. Or they're not ready to hear that. Right. So sometimes I'll start off conversation slowly, like. You know, do you feel safe with him? Can you share your feelings with him? Right? Do you have access to the finances? Do you know where your savings accounts are? Mm-hmm. And so we start those kind of conversations and I'll even say, you know, I have to say that this is sounds like.

Abuse, and I know it's an ugly word, but you need, I want you to go do some research on it, right? Yeah.

[00:16:47] Randi: You kinda have to sometimes lead, if you are seeing this abuse happen and you need to talk to, you know, a friend or somebody about it, kind of lead them to the water. You know, like lead them to the resources so they can kind of, kind of, See what's happening and figure it out.

If they aren't very self-aware or they're thinking this is normal, or they're thinking they deserve this abuse for some reason,

[00:17:08] Jess: and nobody falls in love with an abuser and goes, oh man, he's such a dick. I think I'm gonna fall in love with him. Right. I mean, most of them are so charismatic or it's Yes, they're narcissistic, dark.

Right. Or it starts very, very, you know, and sometimes your spouse doesn't even realize their behavior is abusive. And so I will coach women on if I feel it's safe for them to start calling out the behavior. Mm-hmm. You know, not saying, you know, tell your spouse you are an abuser. But saying your behavior is abusive, what you are doing is abusive.

And to call it out. Cuz sometimes we have to look at our, our behaviors. Mm-hmm. And they have to look at it to make the change. Yeah. You know, and I'm not saying that if you're in a relationship where your spouse is being abusive, you need to leave. Right. If you are feeling safe and you can have these conversations to point out what they're doing is abusive.

That the tone they're using or the gaslighting they're doing, if they can make changes and you can work through it, then fantastic. Right, right. It's, it's a matter of understanding what abuse is and what, what abusive relationships look like.

[00:18:22] Randi: Yeah. And we'll dive into this a little bit more in depth in a future podcast, but we hope we have given you enough. Resources in this episode to start better understanding and have deeper conversations about this,

[00:18:36] Jess: right? And don't forget if you are having relationship issues like that, that you think might be abuse, please look at the national domestic violence. You can call their hotline. You can text him at 8 8 8 7 88 texting start and to start this conversation.

Yeah, you're not alone. Nope. All right. Woo heavy. I will talk to you guys next week. Take it off. Right.

[00:19:00] Randi: All right. Bye guys. Bye. Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health with us. Don't

[00:19:06] Jess: forget to check out our free resources and favorites on our website, unapologetically, randy and,

[00:19:12] Randi: like and share this episode, and tune in next week.

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Women’s Mental Health Podcast: Episode 41 The Many Forms of Abuse in Relationships

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