Abusive behaviors can be placed on continuums which span from totally healthy behavior to totally abusive behavior.
non-abusive ------- -- very abusive
This spread is one of the things that makes abuse so confusing and complicates determining whether specific behavior is abusive in a specific situation.
Examples of behavior continuums:
clearly non-abusive: warning someone of immediate danger
in the middle: speaking loudly to press a point
very abusive: loud, aggressive threats or demeaning comments
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clearly non-abusive: truly accidental (efforts to prevent pregnancy failed)
in the middle: irresponsilbe about avoiding pregancy
very abusive: claimed to be accidental, but really on purpose without agreement
clearly non-abusive: self-defense
in the middle: without harm or intention of harm
very abusive: intentionally creating harm or fear of harm
If there is a cultural tendency to assign women’s actions as
most often good, and/or men’s as most often bad, then abuse by a woman against
a man may be inappropriately placed on the healthy end of the continuum and
wrongfully discounted. For example, in
such circumstances, physical attacks by a woman on a man may be seen as being
in self-defense even when they were not. Similarly, it may be difficult for a man to
recognize that he is being abused because the woman's behaviors are mistakenly excused
for one reason or another.
©Ann Silvers, MA, LMHC; www.annsilvers.com Ann@annsilvers.com 206-660-9840