"Abuse is a general term for the use or treatment of something (person, thing, idea, etc.) that causes some kind of harm (to the abused person or thing, to the abusers themselves, or to someone else) or is unlawful or wrongful. Its close synonyms are mistreatment and maltreatment. The word "misuse" has a more distant meaning of incorrect, uneducated use, not necessarily harmful to a person.
Abuse can be something as simple as damaging a piece of equipment through using it the wrong way, or as serious as severe maltreatment of a person. Abuse may be direct and overt, or it may be disguised and covert."
Those are some pretty specific definitions of the term abuse. It would seem that there should be no mistaking it or misunderstanding of what abuse is. But it is not quite so cut and dried.
We all know of people who are in abusive relationships. We look at them and wonder, "how can they let themselves be treated in such a negative way". The thing with abuse is, it usually comes about rather slowly. What I mean is, you don't go out on a first date with some guy and somewhere in that first date he hits you, or calls you a "fat, lazy bitch" and you just say, "I love him so much, I will just put up with that". It is usually gradual and methodical.
Abuse takes on the personality of a chameleon. It blends into the relationship so seamlessly at first that the victim often doesn't even see it. The odd uncomfortable word here or there, a gentle push, ... then escalating to more increasing inappropriate responses to situations until the full blown abuse starts.
Not all abuse is physical. Emotional abuse is very real. Both have physical and emotional manifestations that are detrimental. Both do major damage that can take a lifetime to repair.
Another thing about abuse is how the victim perceives it. It is a personal threshold as to what a person will take and from whom. For some people they will accept rude behaviour from a stranger, but not from anyone closer than that. Others will be quite the opposite, accepting rude behaviours from a loved one, yet not from the store clerk. And what an outsider may or may not see is not necessarily what the person in the situation sees.
Having suffered different abuses over my lifetime, I like to believe I am a pretty good judge and can spot an abusive person a mile off. I have vowed never to allow myself to ever be abused again. I will not allow myself to be physically hurt. I make that very clear very early in a relationship, that if he were to ever strike me, even once, that would be an instant deal breaker and there would be police involved. I will not allow myself to be emotionally demeaned. There is to be no defamation of character, no "jokes" where I am the punch line, no name calling. Those too would be met with great resistance. There is no room for engaging in any activity that feels uncomfortable or is degrading or demeaning. If someone says something or does something to you that leaves you feeling like less of a human being, that is abuse, plain and simple.
I will never be victim of abuse again............