When a couple engages in a heated argument, many might assume that one person is being emotionally abusive to the other. However, while this might be true, the fact is, not all arguments constitute as emotional abuse, according to Andrea Mathews, LPC, NCC, who is a cognitive and transpersonal therapist among other things [Source: Psychology Today]. Some arguments are healthy and simply a way for each party in a marriage to express themselves. Sometimes, one spouse or the other might cry during these arguments, while other times they find themselves screaming at their partner simply because they are feeling overwhelmed and bogged down. Therefore, just because an argument arises every now and then and emotions are being expressed doesn’t quite mean your spouse is being emotionally abusive toward you.
Now, there are times when an argument or disagreement would be considered to be a form of emotional abuse. To be clear, “emotional abuse is an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. The only difference is that the emotional abuser does not use physical hitting, kicking, pinching, grabbing, pushing, or other physical forms of harm. Rather, the perpetrator of emotional abuse uses emotion as his/her weapon of choice,” according to Mathews. Some examples of the type of behavior you might witness in your partner if you believe they are subjecting you to this form of abuse include:
- They are constantly criticizing you or attempting to manipulate and control you.
- They shame and blame you with hostile sarcasm or outright verbal assault.
- They use shaming and belittling language.
- They verbally abuse you by calling you names.
- They withhold affection as a form of punishment.
- They punish you and make threats of punishment toward you.
- They refuse to accept their part in the dynamic.
- They play mind games, such as gaslighting, when it comes to accepting personal responsibility for their own happiness.
- They refuse to communicate with you at all sometimes.
- They isolate you from your supportive friends and family.
It’s difficult for an individual to determine when they are the victim of emotional abuse, however, once they realize it, Mathews states that when they decide it is time to leave or even separate, the perpetrator becomes “very apologetic and romantic.” This often convinces a victim to stay only to become abused later on down the road when they become comfortable again and settle back into their routine. The truth is, however, it is not healthy to remain in a relationship where abuse is common, whether it is physical, verbal, or emotional. And if you are looking to end your marriage or separate for some time but need help in doing so, contact Lansing, MI family law attorney Stuart R. Shafer.
The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. has helped many couples in Lansing, East Lansing, Okemos, Dewitt, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, and even in Charlotte overcome their obstacles and even finalize their divorce and our office can help you too. The fact is, you may not know where to start to initiate the divorce process or whether it is required of you to file any legal documents so that your separation from your spouse is legal which is why we are here to provide you with the assistance you need.
To find out how we can help you and what services we provide, contact us today by calling 517-487-6603 to schedule a consultation.
The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can be reached at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906