I think it can be hard sometimes to recognise abuse because there are things like guilt trips which can be forms of abuse too and in those cases the person perpetrating the abuse genuinely thinks that they are the victim (it works better that way). In fact there are lots of types of abuse where the abuser genuinely thinks they are the victim and which work so much better because of it. I lived for some years with a self-harmer, throughout the relationship I didnt regard myself as being abused by this but then I realised that I was walking on eggshells the whole time in case 'I' set her off. I do not believe that she intended to abuse me or manipulate me into doing what she wanted me to do but the effect of her self-harming was exactly that - I did whatever she wanted me to do. I learnt to anticipate what she wanted, I learnt to stay away from topics of discussion she didnt like discussing - her self-harming controlled me completely and yet on the face of it the harm was not being done to me but to her. My ex-wife poisoned my relationships with my children by telling them a whole range of bogus stories about me but she had managed to convince herself that they were true so that she was not 'abusing me' she was only telling the truth albeit a completely new truth which was the exact opposite of everything she had said about me during 14 years of marriage. I think these 'masked' forms of violence are so much more insidious than the obvious ones because as much as a beating or something like that hurts, you recognise it for what it is, very often these subtle and indirect forms are not recognised as abuse and so are not dealt with as such.