How To Recognize Abuse And Betrayal?
  “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

Abuse takes on many forms: physical, sexual, financial, religious, emotional and psychological behavior. The first and most important step that you can take in reclaiming your power is, undeniably, to recognize and acknowledge that you are in an abusive relationship, before you can even take the necessary steps to change its status quo. Some characteristics of abuse are blatantly evident as in physical abuse or sexual abuse or infidelity. Other forms of abuse may be more subtle in their defining characteristics such as verbal or emotional abuse. All forms of abuse however involve emotional and psychological abuse. There are many people who, unfortunately, are unaware that they are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Here are some examples:
. Physical abuse or violence involves aggressive behavior that results in pain, physical hurt or injury that may or may not leave physical marks. It can manifest as shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, pulling hair, manhandling etc.
. Sexual abuse involves the issues of power, pursuit, conquest and control. There is a strong undercurrent of hostility at play. It can lead to physical abuse and emotional damage. Sexual abuse includes: rape, sexual assault, non-consensual orgies etc.
. Financial abuse takes place when a partner controls the purse strings/household money, controls partner’s pay checks or prevents partner from taking, keeping a job or does not allow partner to make financial decisions or include her in such decision-making.
. Religious abuse in a marriage or partnership can occur in many ways. Religious scriptures can be used by the abuser to enforce the wife’s subjugation by citing the tenet that the duty of a wife is to submit to her husband. Religious beliefs often go hand in hand with social and cultural conditioning that supports patriarchal culture’s upholding of male privilege and domination.
. Emotional abuse, which includes verbal abuse or bullying is a kind of battering that does not leave physical evidence but may nevertheless have lasting emotional and psychological scars. Emotional abuse includes these: any form of intimidating behavior such as threatening to hit you, causing terror, or using the body to block the partner, black mailing such as threatening to take away the children, threatening to cut off financial support, sexual and emotional infidelity, derogatory name-calling, criticizing, humiliating, tormenting.

Infidelity entails a breach of good faith and trust. Fidelity is derived from the Latin word for ‘faithfulness’ and is based on the principle of ‘not deceiving another.’ In the context of intimate committed relationships, as in a marriage or partnership, infidelity violates the boundaries of the relationship. It includes both sexual and non-sexual behavior that compromises the primary relationship as time, energy, attention and priority are given to the third party and not to the primary partner or children.

Knowledge of infidelity, whether physical or emotional, is important in today’s context as people are not only working longer hours and are in closer contact with the opposite sex, they are also traveling together on business trips, thereby increasing the likelihood of infidelity occurring within the space of a working relationship. Like any other form of abuse, adultery is a choice. It causes emotional/psychological damage to the spirit.

Being aware of the status quo of your relationship is an important factor in enabling you to move forward to exercise choices that are right for you.  It is important to seek help from family, professional sources such as women’s shelters and organizations, police and counseling therapists.  The decision of whether to stay or to leave a relationship can only be determined by you. Whatever decision you make must come from a space of empowerment, which means taking responsibility for the consequences of your choices.  It is important that time is taken to introspect on what you want from the relationship, from yourself and from life. With self-awareness and self-knowledge comes the ability to lead a more conscious life. This can be attained by embarking on a journey inward.

Inner work, as the process is called, allows us to get in touch with our true or authentic Self.  It is a time that we give to our self for inner exploration. It is within this inner space that we are able to identify and heal aspects of our shadow self and erroneous attitudes and core beliefs in order to release self-destructive and self-sabotaging behavior. The processes of introspection and transcendence of our shadow self and distorted beliefs are required to attain self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-love, forgiveness and surrender.

Extended version can be found in “Transcending Abuse & Betrayal.”
Sasha Samy (c) 2012