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What You Need to Know About Divorce Bullying

 Posted on December 22, 2015 in Divorce

bullying, divorce, Naperville family law attorneyBullying can come in a variety of forms. Bullies usually prey on targets they believe to be weaker than they are, using their bullying to get their way or to exert their power over others. Most people encounter bullying early in life, like on the school playground, and deal with bullying in some form throughout their lives. While it is never fun to be the victim of bullying, it can be especially difficult to deal with when going through a divorce. Adding bullying into the emotional turmoil of a major life change, like a divorce, can lead to serious mental and physical consequences for the victim. Here is what you need to know about divorce bullying, and how you can save yourself and your loved ones from being victims of it.

What Is Divorce Bullying?

In a marriage, if one partner consistently bullies the other, it would likely be classified as abuse. There are, however, many cases in which one typically friendly spouse becomes a bully during the divorce process. This is what experts call divorce bullying. As with most cases of bullying, divorce bullies likely become bullies because of their own insecurities or emotional problems. They likely are not able to process the divorce themselves, and rather than dealing with their own issues, decide to express their feelings through bullying their soon to be ex. Bullies use our fears and insecurities against us, making us feel powerless against them. This is especially dangerous in divorce cases. Who else knows as much about our fears, insecurities, and personal issues than our spouses. Of all people, spouses likely have the most ammunition to bully us with.

What Does Divorce Bullying Look Like?

As with other forms of bullying, divorce bullying is usually subtle. If your spouse is bullying you, they likely will avoid doing it in front of other people. Bullies know that they are more easily able to exert their power over their victims when nobody is watching, so identifying divorce bullying can be difficult. Divorce bullying can take many different forms, but there are a few common ways people report experiencing divorce bullying. You may be experiencing divorce bullying if:

  • Your spouse is trying to rush your divorce proceedings. Divorce bullies often do this to keep their ex from getting a favorable divorce settlement. They may claim they want the proceedings to be sped up for other reasons, like sudden investment opportunities they need their settlement for, but in likelihood, they are pushing to speed the process to prevent their ex from being happy in the future;
  • Your spouse lies to make you look bad;
  • Your spouse threatens your access to your children. They may say they are fighting for full custody, or threaten that they will keep you from seeing your children in some way;
  • Your spouse hires a lawyer solely to intimidate you; or
  • Your spouse tries to keep you away from your friends and family members. People going through a divorce need support, so divorce bullies often target their victims by isolating them from their family and friends.

What Can You Do to Combat Divorce Bullying?

If you believe you are being bullied during your divorce, remind yourself that this is only an unfortunate chapter in your life. Too often, the bullying coupled with the normal bevy of emotions surrounding a divorce cause physical and mental harm on victims. Bullying can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, loss of self-esteem, and loss of confidence, so it is important to keep yourself mentally healthy.

The physical effects of bullying are just as serious. Bullying victims often neglect their health. They become less physically active, eat poorly, and often avoid social situations with friends and family. For anyone going through a divorce, eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise is beneficial, and can help lead to physical and mental recovery. If you are harboring negative emotions towards your ex, let them out through working out and living a great life. The ultimate way to stop a bully is to ignore them and live your life. Bullies are looking for reactions, and as soon as you stop reacting, they will move on.

If the bullying persists, try writing down each incident. Each time your spouse bullies you, write down the day, time, and the events that occurred. This will help you feel more empowered to stand up to your spouse, and will also come in handy if you are ever called on to discuss the bullying in greater detail.

Mediation is also a great option, but it will not work in every case. If the bullying started once your divorce process began, working with a mediator may help resolve some of your spouse’s issues. However, mediation requires couples be able to trust each other enough to work towards an amicable outcome, so if there has been a long history of abuse, and the trust is no longer there, mediation may not be successful. Your divorce attorney can likely weigh in on whether they believe mediation will be successful or not.

Do not let divorce bullying keep you from getting a fair settlement. If you are going through a divorce and experiencing bullying, speak to a qualified Naperville divorce attorney immediately to review your options. Many of the attorneys at the Pesce Law Group, P.C., are also skilled mediators, so we are able to assist in a wide variety of divorce cases. Call 630-352-2240 to consult with one of our attorneys and get the help you need today.


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