facebook-pixel Am I A Victim of Covert Abuse?
healing after infidelity and porn use
Am I A Victim of Covert Abuse?

Covert abuse is difficult to identify and understand; here are some helpful questions you can ask to determine your level of safety.

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healing after infidelity and porn use

Covert abuse can be extremely hard to identify – abusers use specific tactics to make sure that the abuse is hidden and victims may not even realize that they are being abused.

Have you asked yourself if you may be a victim of covert abuse?

Here are some questions you can ask to help you understand if your partner is covertly abusing you.

How do you feel when you associate with him?

Whether it’s the garage door opening when he comes home at the end of the day, his name showing up on your phone, or a visceral response when he touches your hand – how you feel when you associate with him is a huge indicator of whether or not you’re safe. Here’s what many victims in our community stated that they felt when they associated with the abuser, whether in person or through communication:

  • Uneasy
  • Afraid
  • Frozen
  • Foggy
  • Uncomfortable
  • Self-conscious
  • Embarrassed
  • Nauseated
  • Confused

Does he play “The Victim”?

Abusive men love to be in the “victim” role. When they are able to play the victim in the relationship, they can continue their abusive and unfaithful behaviors while making the real victim, their partner, feel badly for them (as well as making family, friends, and others feel disdain for the real victim and pity for the abuser).

  • How can you recognize if your abusive partner is playing the victim?
  • Does he regularly say that you are hurting his feelings?
  • Does he say that you don’t care about his feelings?
  • When you are having a bad day, or feeling a negative emotion, does he mirror your feelings and require comfort and care?
  • When you are in genuine distress does he seem “off”, angry, sulky, or distant?
  • After he confesses, does he require comforting and forgiveness?

Can you articulate your thoughts and feelings to him?

Covert abusers make it very difficult for victims to feel valid, intelligent, and equal – generally without ever saying anything outright or doing anything outright to cause victims to feel this way.

Are you able to talk openly and freely to the abuser about important things, like how you feel and what’s going on in your life? Or do you feel tongue-tied, scrutinized, or invalidated when you attempt to talk with him?

BTR.ORG Is Here For You

If you think you may be a victim of abuse, please listen to your intuition. We are here for you. Attend a BTR.ORG Group Session today for connection and support.


  1. Arrnel

    My wife sent me this podcast. As I listen to this I do relate to John, but and I say but because are all situations the same? What I mean is that we both had a dysfunctional past and although I admit I have hurt my wife, is it wrong of me to say that we both brought things on that is of “to hurt the other person” wht here either of us knew at the time was hurtful or just a natural reaction to a trigger. I don’t even know if I make sense here. I disagree with John that if we look back at the past and how a situation played out that’s Jenn would be right all the time. I admit I have hurt her but I don’t feel I did it to maliciously hurt her. As I write this I am getting a little frustrated and fighting my mind thinking surrender and things will work out. John let’s say that this whole thing was a success and you are living at home again going thru life. Will each incident that sets Jenn to be upset going to automatically be because of you? I want to save my family, but am I wrong in saying it does take two to tango. I now question myself and my humanity. I don’t think I do things for my wife and family to make me look good, I do it cause I love them but now I am asking myself if I had a motive for everything I have done for my family.

  2. Jesa

    How do I prove in custody court I’m the victim and he’s manipulating everyone to lie about me. He’s coaching people I’ve never even met to say I’m a horrible person and mother. My mental health is on the line and used against eight years of abuse and he’s love bombing me again then discarding me. These mind games keep me always on edge.

    • Anne

      I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I recommend The BTR.ORG Message Workshop for women who are having a hard time in court.


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