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Red Flags of an Abusive Marriage

Posted on in Domestic Violence

DuPage County divorce attorneysWhen it comes to domestic violence, abuse often leads one partner to pursue divorce as the ultimate resolution to their ongoing marital problems. Many married partners do not immediately seek out divorce, though. In fact, many stay in abusive marriages for many years before they begin to even consider the idea of leaving. This is because abusive relationships are very complicated. While the abuse element may be black and white on its own, the feelings the abused partner has for his or her abuser are not as clear-cut.

Obstacles That Prevent Victims From Leaving an Abusive Marriage

The abused spouse can truly love the person who hurts them, as every moment they spend together is not necessarily hurtful. The relationship is a woven fabric of lies, manipulation, and physical violence, mixed with periods of real affection, passion, and bonding. Having and raising a child with an abusive person is a perfect example. Sharing such an experience together often blurs the lines and muddles someone’s feelings for the abusive partner who is also the father or mother of their child and who has repeatedly displayed love and affection for the child over the course of months or years. This dynamic can make it extremely difficult to walk away.

Recognizing Patterns of Abuse in a Marriage

Another layer that contributes to the decision to stay in an abusive marriage is how the abused partner perceives himself or herself. For example, most victims feel weak or have a warped view of their self-worth, which in turn impacts their self-esteem and what they are willing to accept from a lover. In turn, the abuser is actually weak and their abuse stems from extreme insecurity. In order to feel in control, they need to exert power and hurt others.

Whatever a married partner’s reason for being in an abusive marriage, it is important to take note of the common red flags of abuse early on in the relationship. Recognizing the signs allows you to hold your abuser accountable for their actions and gives you the chance to make the decisions necessary to protect yourself and your family. Ask yourself the following:

  • Does your spouse bring you down, not build you up? Abusive relationships have an ongoing, negative pattern of criticism. Instead of supporting their spouse and building them up, an abuser tears them down with their words and is perpetually critical of everything from their hair to their job to the way they raise their children. Making their victim feel as small as possible feeds their need to feel more important and more in control.
  • Do you fear for your safety or emotional well-being if you were to leave or if your spouse were to leave you? A victim shares intense feelings of insecurity with their abuser, feeding the ongoing cycle of their need to obtain validation, attention, and love from them. If you believe things will be worse, not better, if you lose your partner, or if you find a strong sense of comfort in the unhealthy dynamic you share, you are likely living in an abusive relationship.
  • Do you always get the blame? Abusers are unable to take ownership of their part in things. They are never wrong, and you are always the one to blame, no matter how large or insignificant the supposed “mistake” is in their eyes. Because the abuser is unable and unwilling to accept fault for anything that disappoints them, you are their consistent source for externalizing their frustrations.

Abuse encompasses much more than physical violence. Abuse is often an emotional, ongoing battle of psychological warfare. If you recognize that an unhealthy dynamic that exists in your marriage and are considering divorce, you should speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney about your rights. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. for a confidential consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abby-rodman-licsw/youre-not-going-crazy-5-s_b_8889808.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/enlightened-living/200807/understanding-the-dynamics-abusive-relationships

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