Intimate partner abuse may or may not involve physical or sexual violence. Often, elements of emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial abuse are used by one partner to control the other. Emotional abuse involves repeated patterns of control, manipulation, criticism, shame and isolation. It can be subtle in presentation and may leave victims feeling anxious, confused, hopeless, deflated and powerless. It is experienced across genders, ages and cultures.
Victims of intimate partner abuse are never responsible or to blame for their partner's actions and leaving an abusive partner may be difficult because of financial constraints, concerns for children or believing that the abuse is "normal" or in some way deserved by the victim. It often takes several attempts to leave an abusive situation. Becoming educated about the various aspects of intimate partner abuse is an important step towards breaking free from it.