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The 9 types of abuse and their characteristics

The 9 types of abuse and their characteristics

June 10, 2024

Suffering abuse is one of the worst experiences a human being can go through , because the victims of these acts can not only suffer consequences on a physical level, but the psychological consequences for them can be devastating and last a long time, even all of life.

Unfortunately, abuse can appear in different situations, with the couple, at work, at school, etc. In this article We will delve into the different types of abuse and review their characteristics .

Profile of the abuser

The person who suffers abuse can be marked for life. But, How is an abuser? What characteristic features define it? In many cases, this type of people suffer psychological problems, some have grown up in poorly structured families and in environments conducive to developing this type of personality.


Abusers are usually intolerant, authoritarian, psychologically inflexible, aggressive, cruel and insensitive people. But, what stands out most of this type of people is that they tend to be nice at first, they are blackmailers and easily offended.

If you want to know more about how abusive individuals are, visit our article: "Profile of the psychological abuser: 21 traits in common".

What types of abuse are there and what are their characteristics

There are different types of abuse, but. which are?

You can find below a list with the definition and characteristics of the different types of abuse .


1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse is a type of abuse in which there is more than just words, that is, there is physical violence . Therefore, this abuse usually produces a physical injury, product of a single or repeated punishment, which can vary in its magnitude or intensity.

The most common forms of physical abuse are:

  • Scratch, hit, bite, strangle or kick
  • Throw some object against a person: phone, a book, a shoe or a plate.
  • Pulling hair
  • Push, pull or shake
  • Grab clothes
  • Grab to prevent the victim from leaving

2. Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse

In psychological abuse there is no physical contact, however, the sequelae can be more lasting than those produced by pushing, hitting or pulling hair. It can appear along with physical abuse, and It is characterized as a type of emotional violence in which are used, among others, these behaviors:


  • Insults, shouting, emotional blackmail and manipulation
  • Control of the social networks the telephones, the schedule and the friendships of the victim
  • Constant criticism
  • Acts to embarrass in public
  • Prevent the victim from talking to relatives
  • Tell him what to do and use
  • Damage objects of the property of the abused person. For example, throwing your phone against the wall
  • Threatening to harm the victim, your child, family or pet without carrying it out
  • Threaten that he will take away son

3. Child maltreatment

Child maltreatment can be of different types, for example, physical or psychological . Its main characteristic is that the person who is a victim of this type of abuse is a boy or girl, someone in a life stage in which he is especially vulnerable.

At these ages, the aftermath can last for life , although its severity varies a lot. One of the psychological phenomena that most propitiates are the problems of low self-esteem and avoidant attachment.

4. Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is one of the worst forms of abuse, because the aftermath of these intimate acts may never disappear . The abuse of this type can be of two forms: either by exercising this type of violence directly on the victim or through sexual exploitation.

This type of abuse can be manifested not only with very violent contact, but kisses, caresses, touching and even words with intimate content are classified as behaviors of this kind of abuse. The psychological impact it can generate varies depending on the nature of the aggression and certain personality attributes of the person attacked.

5. Bullying

Bullying is a term of Anglo-Saxon origin that enjoys great popularity at present. It refers both to the physical and psychological abuse that occurs in the school setting . The vulnerability of people who suffer bullying and the pain you feel is so great that they can commit suicide in the most extreme cases, since the child also has the obligation to go to school constantly, exposing himself to the bad deals.

  • You can know the different classes of this phenomenon in this post: "The 5 types of bullying or bullying"

6. Mobbing

Mobbing is a phenomenon virtually identical to bullying, with the difference that Occurs in the workplace . This causes serious problems for the victim, who is forced to go to work and suffer all kinds of abuse and belittles that can undermine their self-esteem.

Many times, mobbing is aimed at forcing a renunciation of work, since the dismissal of the abused person would cause problems with the law. In other cases, it may be motivated by problems of competitiveness and envy associated with an environment based on individualism.

If you want to go deeper into this topic, you can read our article: "The 6 types of mobbing or labor harassment"

7. Digital abuse or cyberbullying

A modern form of abuse is cyberbullying. This type of abuse is more frequent in adolescence and is characterized by It takes place through the digital world and in social networks . Cyberbullying can manifest itself in the following way:

  • The abuser sends negative, insulting or even threatening emails to the victim. It also sends these types of messages through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks
  • Use the account of the abused person without permission. For example, making updates to your Facebook status
  • Puts the victim in his status updates, trying to discredit him
  • Send you unwanted images by digital media
  • He threatens to publish and disseminate things that may compromise his privacy in the 2.0 world.

8. Institutional abuse

Not only can people mistreat other individuals, but also Institutions, both public and private, can, by means of laws, norms, procedures or actions , cause abuse, neglect and discomfort to individuals or groups of individuals.

9. Economic abuse

Abuse or abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain and maintain power and control l, and it can occur in many ways. One of them is economic abuse, which can occur with any individual, but mostly with the couple or with older people. For example, within the couple, when one of the two members spends the other member's money or makes it impossible to use their own purchasing power.


6 Types of Childhood Abuse (June 2024).


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