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Relationship Abuse - Patterns of Control

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Relationship abuse is a pattern of control exerted by one partner over another using coercive, threatening, and/or violent strategies. Control is often kept in place by isolating the victim, promoting fear, and narrowing options. Abuse is different than BDSM in that only one person determines what will happen, no consent is asked for or given, and the person being abused cannot stop what the abuser is doing.

There are many forms of abuse and control that can happen in relationships. It can include stalking, threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Often things start out at a much lower level, making an abuser hard to recognize. Early warning signs include possessiveness, jealousy, frequent mood swings, and anti-social behavior. Abuse usually escalates in frequency and severity over time. The best way to combat relationship violence is to become educated about it.

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