Domestic abuse can be challenging to spot and even harder to escape. Unfortunately, as the victim, the situation may come to feel normal, or you might feel like you are to blame for the abuse.
When you are in an abusive situation with a spouse, you may feel pressure from friends and family members to stay in the relationship, especially if they do not know what is going on. Part of getting out of an emotionally or physically dangerous situation is learning to spot the signs of abuse. However, spotting abuse for what it is can be difficult due to being fearful for your or your children’s safety, anxiety, threats or coercion, gaslighting by your spouse, etc.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are experiencing abuse.
Physical violence is never ok
There were times in the too-recent past when couples (and their families) would rationalize physical abuse between partners. These rationalizations lead to physical pain and emotional devastation as spouses stayed in these impossible situations.
Hitting, punching and other physical violence are not acceptable ways for one spouse to treat the other. There is no rationalization for behavior like this. It is crucial to get out of the situation as soon as possible.
Physical violence is not the only type of abuse that can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Spouses seeking to be more subtle may resort to emotional abuse tactics, such as:
- Threatening to leave
- Withholding affection
These tactics can leave you feeling isolated and emotionally drained. When your spouse is exhibiting behaviors like these, it is essential to reach out for support right away.
Filing for divorce
Ultimately, you should not stay in an abusive situation. While there are some instances where you and your spouse could work on your relationship and help your spouse develop healthier habits, abusive situations are unhealthy and often lead to divorce.
Often, abuse is not part of the asset division or alimony portions negotiating a divorce settlement. However, abuse can be a significant factor in child custody. You should talk to an experienced professional about how to factor abuse into your divorce.