The word “abuse” often springs forth images of victims being struck or otherwise physically harmed. Few people, however, realize that emotional abuse can be just as damaging and its effects long-lasting. The reasons behind divorce and emotional abuse can sometimes go hand in hand, and therapy is often the only remedy for its victims.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
The scars from emotional abuse are often invisible. They cut deep and affect the way the victim feels about himself. Common signs of emotional abuse include:
-Putting the victim down in front of others, humiliating him
-Using sarcasm or insults to damage the victim’s sense of self
-Dismissing abuse as a “joke” and calling the victim “sensitive”
-Treating the victim as though she is a child
-Acting as though they are always right
-Reminding the victim of his shortcomings
-Belittling the victim’s accomplishments or pointing out mistakes in order to diminish the victim’s sense of self-worth
Emotional abuse is also a form of control, and can leave the victim feeling trapped. Many people suffer from emotional abuse for many years before gathering the courage to seek a divorce. Controlling behaviors often include:
-Treating the victim as an extension of themselves, and not a separate person
-Failing to respect boundaries, and sharing personal information about the victim with others
-Fail to show empathy or concern for the needs of the victim
Emotional abuse can have serious ramifications, and make it hard for the victim to have healthy relationships with others in their circle. Victims of emotional abuse may have a hard time maintaining friendships, romantic relationships and professional networks. When couples divorce, the former spouse may use shared parenting time as an opportunity to continue the abuse.
Divorce counseling is a helpful resource to help the newly divorced to heal after dealing with the devastation of emotional abuse.