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Thread: at what point does a relationship become abusive?

  1. #1

    Default at what point does a relationship become abusive?

    How do you know when a relationship has become abusive? At what point should you just walk away?

    Are there varying 'levels' of abusiveness?

    How do you know your partner is being abusive, and not just a dominant personality? What if you're already in a relationship where power exchange already happens (eg AB, BDSM), when do you know that your partner has gone from simply being dominant to being abusive? How can you make that differentiation?

    This has bothered me for a while. All opinions welcome, and then after a few replies I'll post my own.

    Thanks. xxx

  2. #2


    I think the dominant has a duty to protect the submissive and make him comfortable, when he begins to break this duty for his gain I think it is abuse. maybe not walk away time tho.

  3. #3

  4. #4


    Having a dominant partner should never feel like abuse. With BDSM, limits, trust, and everything that goes along with that should be established.

    Chillhouse said it best. When you beigin to question whether it's abusive or not, it's abusive.

  5. #5


    Abuse is tearing someone apart without the intention of putting them back together in an improved manner. This may be spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Pointing out flaws just because you can is abuse. Providing suggestions for improvement are only healthy when the suggestion is healthy, acceptable, and the recipient is ready and able to receive them.

    Abuse definitely has varying degrees. Some abuse is minor and commonly accepted, but may be taken to extremely damaging degrees which is completely unacceptable.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Chillhouse View Post
    When you begin to question if your relationship is abusive.
    If you have that capacity, yes.

    The problem is that not all folks being abused have that capacity. For instance, the thing that battered spouses most often say about their abusive (e.g. broken bones, teeth, death threats, etc.) spouse is ... drumroll ... "but I love him/her."


    But, yeah, if you think it's abusive, it's likely abusive. But the opposite (if you don't think it's abusive, then it's not) is not necessarily the case. This is a careful distinction to make.

    The BunnyList: Is Your Relationship Abusive?
    • SO removes you from accessing your family
    • SO removes you from accessing friends
    • SO denegrades you to friends/family or at work functions
    • SO hits you in a non-fetish-play way, or (habitually*) continues after a "safeword" has been used
    • Majority of friends/family clue you in to your abusive relationship

    This is not an exhaustive list, but if these look like your relationship, then odds are good its abusive. From this point forward, except for the footnote, I've inserted text because no one reads threads from the start. 16 hours ago I made this post. The impression I have now is that many people participate in the discussion without regard for that which has come before. I guess I'll soon see.

    *I wanted to draw the distinction between a one-time "getting carried away" event, and continued ignoring of your wishes.
    Last edited by h3g3l; 12-Mar-2009 at 15:21. Reason: Editing per text.

  7. #7


    In all relationships we have boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Just because a relationship has a power exchange this doesn't mean it is any different. In all such relationships, where there is a possibility of something that is beyond the acceptability of one of the partners to happen, there should be a system, such as a safe word, set up in order to allow for cessation of such activity. If such activity then continues after the real and recognised objections of one of the partners, it becomes abuse.

    That's just my two penn'orth anyway. Anyone can make an accidental mistake and go a bit too far. I think that immediately walking away might be a bit harsh, but it could be a legitimate reaction if the person on the receiving end really thought that they would not be able to trust the other in future, despite of non-malicious intent.

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Chillhouse View Post
    When you begin to question if your relationship is abusive.
    Hmm...I didn't expect Chillhouse to be a professional psychologist, but I think he hit the nail on the head - if you have even the slightest doubt that the 'abuse' part of the relationship is more than fun and games and happens outside of the previously agreed roles or sexual play, then it's probably the kind of abuse that should not be tolerated.
    My advice is to talk with your partner about your expectations in the relationship. Make sure the talk is on eye-level and do tell him you have something serious to make sure he understands it's not part of role playing. Maybe he just needs a reminder that he's going beyond his role as a dominant person in the relationship and has crossed lines that shouldn't have been crossed. Any sane, rational and caring guy will understand that and change his behavior. That's your chance to find out if he was just unsure of how far he can go, or if he's pushing too far without the proper respect for your person.


  9. #9


    Well, one of the biggest indicators of abuse is when the abuser isolates their victim from family, friends, work, money and/or support & help through means of cutting them off from having contact, forcing them to become financially dependant, tracking their every move or simply not allowing the victim to do anything without prior consent/knowledge. This means the victim becomes solely dependant on the abuser, making them feel like they've no means for escape and keeps the abuser in power. Obviously, if you are in a relationship where you are being manipulated and controlled, then you are suffering abuse.

    Likewise, it's definitely abuse if any sort of physical conflict occurs. The problem quite a few people have with abuse is that they get hit and thrown around, then the person says I love you or It's out of love, etc... giving the victim an inclination to believe that they were the one in the wrong and the abuser was justified in physically assaulting them. Over a period of time this can lead to the victim accepting the abuse out of "love" and feeling they are somehow flawed and the abuser is the only loving person who tolerates them. Basically though, if any physical conflict occurs, then it's time to haul ass out of that relationship.

  10. #10


    I guess anything physical and I would leave. Verbal abuse turns me on lol

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