(Note: In all of my posts I use "he" for abuser and "she" for victim for simplicity and because, in the majority of cases, the abuser is male. But it can be the opposite with a female abuser. Dynamics of abuse can also happen in same sex relationships.)
Domestic Abuse Misconception #4: All marriages go through difficult times. What she is calling abuse is just a rough patch that she needs to push through and get over.
This is probably one of the most damaging misconceptions out there because it minimizes the abuse and calls it something it isn't. It is absolutely horrifying and demeaning and heartbreaking for a victim to finally have the courage to speak up and be honest about what she is experiencing only to have people tell her, "Oh, everybody goes through hard times."
There is a huge difference between a marriage that is, at times or even most of the time, stressful, difficult, disappointing or tedious and one that is destructive and abusive. Remember that abuse is about power and control and ownership and the systematic tearing down of another person.
NEVER ASSUME. Never assume that because someone tells you the tip of the iceberg that you know the whole story. Listen carefully, get clarification, and say tenderly, "Tell me more."
Leslie Vernick wrote a wonderful piece in one of her columns that explains the differences between a difficult, disappointing and destructive marriage.
Do you see the difference?