Are You in an Abusive Marriage?
When you think of domestic violence cases, you likely think of physical abuse over everything else. While physical abuse is much more visible, it is not the only form of abuse used in domestic relationships. Emotional abuse is much more common in marriages ending in divorce. Most people are not familiar with what defines abuse and how to determine if you are being abused. It is important to recognize if you are being abused and the type of abuse you are dealing with. Here is a list of signs you may be married to an abusive spouse.
Abuse is defined as the mistreatment of another through physical, emotional, or psychological means. In most cases of abuse, the abuser and victim have a personal connection. They are typically family, friends, or partners. In this blog, we will discuss public verbal abuse, jealousy and possessiveness, control of financial assets and schedules, invention of untrue allegations, insulting comments, threats to take children, gaslighting, creation of emotional distress, and lack of affection. Each of these are examples of abuse that are not discussed as frequently as physical abuse.
Physical abuse is the most discussed form of abuse and is generally the most visible. Physical abuse is the act of intending to hurt a partner with any sort of attack. People can get hurt by accident, but accidents do not happen repeatedly with intent. Physical abuse is also difficult for the victim to cover up, but they may attempt to do so out of fear of retaliation. It is important to speak up and report any concerning behavior you may see from friends or family.
Displaying Verbally Abusive Behavior in Front of Loved Ones
Being verbally abusive behind closed doors is already abusive enough, but if your partner is doing so in front of friends or family, it shows that they believe their behavior is justified and they are not afraid of acting that way in front of others. They may also attempt to separate you from your friends and family so that they will not notice you are being abused. Additionally, while it is normal to want to spend time with your spouse, it is not normal for your spouse to get jealous and possessive all the time. They may even accuse you of being a bad spouse for not spending all your time with them or accuse you of being unfaithful to them.
Control of Finances and Time
As previously mentioned, your spouse may be considered abusive if they regulate when and who you can see and talk to, including isolating you from your family members. Remember, it is normal for your spouse to need your attention from time to time. The abuse is present when there is no balance. If your spouse does not value your time and controls every second of it, then they are abusive. Your spouse may also attempt to control your shared finances, as well. While it is possible for one spouse to maintain finances without being abusive, this is not always the case. They may make you feel guilty for not making enough money or they may be spending entirely too much money outside of your budget.
Inventing Untrue Allegations
Your spouse may be telling people you both know false statements to tarnish your reputation. This is done in an attempt to isolate you from them and “recruit” them to their side. Your spouse may be trying to control your social life and adapt you to her schedule. She may even use false accusations against you to justify her not being home.
Insulting or Disparaging Comments
Your spouse may make comments that degrade you or put you down. They can range from anything between calling you a “slob” or a “child”. These comments are made to lower your self-esteem and make you feel like you deserve the abusive behavior. When a spouse does this, it is a sign they do not have respect for you.
Threats to Take Children
One of the most emotionally abusive things someone can do in a marriage is threaten to take the children away from the other. This can be emotionally devastating for the parent, even if the other parent has not taken them away officially. If they are threatening to do so in cases of abuse, they are not doing it because they believe that is what is best for the children. They are doing it to harm the other parent. Additionally, it is also important to notice that they are emotionally abusing the children too as a result.
Psychological abuse is a distinct form of abuse that attacks the victim mentally, making them question their reality and believe things that may not be true. Gaslighting is a type of psychological abuse that has been used much more frequently over the last few years. The term is used to describe behavior that is meant to be manipulative, such as convincing your spouse they are in the wrong when they are not. The term "gaslighting" comes from the 1938 play "Gas Light" and the subsequent 1944 film adaptation, in which a husband manipulates his wife into believing she is losing her mind by dimming the gaslights in their home and denying that they are flickering. Gaslighting can be present in one simple issue or in every issue associated with the marriage. Make sure to be observant when it comes to what your spouse tells you. Remind yourself that these comments are not true.
Creating Emotional Distress
This can be associated with all the other signs you are being abused by your spouse, but it is still important to address. They can make you feel guilty for spending time with friends or family, working, parenting, or helping around the house. If you are not doing anything wrong in these areas and they are still making you feel this way, it can be classified as emotional abuse. Withholding affection can be common in marriages with no spark. In these cases, typically both partners withhold affection. In marriages involving emotional abuse from one spouse to the next, this is not normal. It is important to notice that sometimes they may not be in the mood for certain things, but if they never show even the slightest bit of affection towards you, it can cause a great deal of emotions to surface. If you notice your spouse is purposely withholding affection from you to try to hurt you, then you may notice you are being emotionally abused.
In summary, abusive relationships can be created through a combination of verbal, psychological, and emotional tactics aimed at manipulating and controlling the victim from leaving the relationship. While this manipulation can enforce feelings of fear or confusion, it is important to remember that you are not alone.
Abuse should not be ignored in any case, whether you or someone you know are the ones experiencing abuse. Discussing your options for divorce or protection orders with a family law attorney can help you stay safe in the future. Contact a family law attorney at Ball Morse today by calling 405.701.6179 or emailing email@example.com.
Remember, if you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, in any form, it is important to remember there is help available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.7233 or seek a counselor to discuss your options.