Abuse can come in many different forms – physical, emotional and even financial. If you are not sure if you are in a bad situation, review the different types of abuse and warning signs to see if you need assistance.

1. Physical abuse – This does not only apply to women or men who are bruised or hit by their partner. This can also come in the form of your partner forcing sexual relations or locking you up in a room with no escape. Even more subtle abuse can be found with pinching, pushing, slapping or other forms of physical assault that do not necessarily cause bruising or serious physical injury.

Warning signs: Anything that does not feel right to you is probably abuse. The first sign is an effort to hide the abuse from others and the abusive partner will attempt to isolate you from connecting with friends and family. Typical abusive partners come from abusive childhoods; many also have a history of alcohol or drug abuse issues.

What to do: If you feel afraid for your personal safety or the safety of your children around your partner, you should contact a help line in your area immediately. It is completely confidential and they can help you.

2. Emotional abuse – Many women and men are beaten down emotionally by their partner. The partner may never physically hurt them, but mentally manipulate her to never leave him. Some abusive partners will threaten your life or constantly tell you how worthless you are.

Warning signs: You are nervous around the person and afraid to speak your mind (that elusive "walking on eggshells" feeling). Your self-confidence has decreased since you've been in the relationship. You shut yourself out from friends and family. You always feel worse about yourself whenever you are around your partner.
What to do: Connect with family and friends that you trust or get involved in a support group. Do not be afraid of leaving a situation that doesn't make you feel good about yourself.

3. Financial abuse – Financial abuse victims are more commonly women and the instances of this type of abuse have increased with the downturn of the economy. The partner controls the money, including the money the woman earns. The woman is left financially-dependent on the man and is powerless to spend any money without his approval.

Warning signs: Your partner takes your paycheck and does not include you on financial decisions. He may give you very small "allowance" even if you are bringing in more money than him. He doesn't tell you about status of bills or where the money is going. He uses credit cards in your name and allows your credit to be destroyed when he is not paying the bills on time.

What to do: Contact a local abuse help line and get a mediator. Don't be afraid to take legal action if necessary. You deserve to have a partner who loves and respects you.

Many women stay in abusive situations because they feel that being alone would be a worse fate. They fear financial independence and loneliness. There are plenty of support groups and resources for women to regain their sense of self and start their lives over. If you are in an abusive situation, you have the power to leave and you will be surprised at the amount of love and support that is available to you. You deserve to be in a healthy, loving relationship based on respect and trust. If you have children, leaving will protect them from potential abuse as well as avoiding the possibility of them learning from your partner's bad behavior. Your partner will also benefit as he or she may get help that they desperately need to change their life.

The reason most women fall for abusive relationships is that they have low self-esteem. I found that self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy is an easy way to build confidence and change the train of thought from destructive to empowering. Like training wheels for the mind, self-hypnosis can start shifting the quality of thinking that will result in the person feeling better about themselves and make healtheir choices in relationships.

Author's Bio: 

Debra Berndt is a Certified Hypnotic Love Coach, Radio Show Host, Speaker and Author of “Let Love In: How to Open your Heart and Mind to Attract Your Ideal Partner” (Wiley) due out in March, 2010. She is also certified as a clinical hypnotherapist. She developed her self-hypnosis system to help singles attract the love of their life by changing their subconscious mind. She is the host of the Love Coach Show which airs every Wednesday at 4 pm EST on BlogTalkRadio.com. Her self-hypnosis products are available at her website at AttractRealLove.com