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Are you divorcing an emotionally abusive spouse?

Emotional abuse is a phenomenon that is not always easy to identify. It may be particularly difficult for an individual involved in a romantic relationship with someone who is emotionally abusive to identify this reality. Although this may seem counterintuitive, emotional abuse is not an issue that is widely discussed in popular culture, so many individuals are not readily given the tools to identify this kind of abuse properly. And given that emotionally abusive partners tend to make victims feel that the treatment they receive is their fault, it becomes harder to identify the abuser as abusive.

It is important to identify whether the individual you are divorcing is an emotionally abusive individual. If you remain in the dark about this information, you may leave yourself vulnerable to manipulations that will affect your divorce settlement, your child custody dispute and your future wellbeing. If you have concerns that your spouse may be emotionally abusive, do not hesitate to seek out the opinion of a mental health professional. In preparation for an appointment with a professional, you may want to keep the following red flags in mind.

First, emotionally abusive individuals tend to be controlling. They may justify their controlling behavior in a myriad of ways. But in general, healthy relationship dynamics do not grant unequal shares of power and control in decision-making and other important issues.

Second, emotionally abusive individuals tend to by hyper-critical and tend to insist that their partner’s shortcomings are unacceptable, even if these shortcomings are minor. Nearly all couples criticize each other from time to time. But when criticism flies fast and loose, and there is a general lack of support present from one spouse in particular, emotional abuse may be a factor in the relationship.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Are You Emotionally Abused? 8 Ways to Clarify What That Really Means,” Abby Rodman, Feb. 5, 2015

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