The subject of abuse has come up repeatedly on the forum lately.
I am taught to draw a sharp line at physical violence. That is unacceptable.
The thing is, about other ways of causing pain, I'm not certain how to differ abuse from non-abuse. For instance, a non-ADHD partner keeping a cautious distance, letting distaste show, not being in love, seems to be devastating to the partner's self-esteem and even health. Voicing needs, with increasing tone of voice over time when needs are never met, causes conflict and deep-felt chronic stress in the ADHD partner. Is that abuse?
The ADHD partner on the other hand, acting out disorganization, inattentiveness and rejection sensitivity dysphoria subjects the partner to severe chronic stress too. Is that abuse?
If one partner dominates the other by aggression I feel that is very disturbing. That I would classify as abuse. One partner would need protection. But in relationships where there is more of equal power but ADHD symptoms cause extreme levels of distress? Are spin-off reactions to that stress abusive?
I know from childhood and from my professional life that we're all capable of rather uncivilized behavior. The nicest person can act ugly in extreme emotional distress. How hurtful something is doesn't necessarily depend on how socially unacceptable it is. So disrespectful speaking? Yelling? Throwing things? Is that the real problem? Is it abuse?
I'm not sure of this and I'd like to hear your thoughts.