What’s the difference between “normal conflict” and “abuse” in a relationship?

1) With abuse, the conflict will seem to be more about your partner trying to win the argument or hurt you with his words instead of him genuinely trying to constructively work out a problem.

2) With abuse, you will notice that your partner is thinking almost exclusively about what is good for him, not what is good for you or the relationship

3) With abuse, you find yourself being blamed for things that are not your fault.

4) With abuse, you may find that he hides or lies about things if this serves his needs.

5) With abuse, he will likely be explosive with his anger.

6) With abuse, you will start to feel fearful of “arguments” because you are hurt by his words or actions and his behaviour is scary or intimidating.

If some, most or all of these dynamics are a play in your relationship, you are likely looking at a situation of abuse as opposed to “normal” marital conflict. Your emotional and physical safety and well-being needs to be the priority as you move forward.

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