Emotional Abuse in a Marriage

Many headlines are common as to in what ways Domestic Physical Violence and Physical Abuse affects families and individuals. Consider however the silent spoiler of marriage: Emotional Abuse!

Most domestic abuse and violence commences with deliberate on-going negative behavior by one partner/parent against another family member as the abuser demeans and dismantles the victim’s feelings of self-worth and independence.

Just because a person does not end up in the hospital as a victim of physical abuse, emotional scars and a resulting negative self-image may adversely impact the individual for their entire life.

Emotional abuse often includes verbal abuse, controlling behavior, intimidation and isolation. Most emotional abusers will also make multiple violence threats and orchestrate other non-physical types of punishments if their victims refuse to blindly obey.

Since “the Abuser’s Goal is Always Control”, economic/ financial control is one of the most common forms of emotional abuse. Victims have feelings of “no way out” from abusive relationships and strict financial control imposed by the abuser results in spiraling hopelessness.

What are some serious financial control issues to look out for? Do you have a problem?

  • Total controlling of all family expenses.

  • Withholding money and credit cards and strict, unrealistic allowance restrictions.

  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter, medical needs).

  • Controlling your choice of career and prevention or obstruction from gainful employment.

  • Sabotaging your job by constantly calling you, causing problems with your boss or associates, and causing you to miss work.

  • Stealing money from you.

All types of abuse are sick, but emotional abuse the silent spoiler of lives is often overlooked until it is too late.  Every family member in these cases may be effected and scared for years.  Many children who are tainted by abuse never completely know a normal loving relationship with a partner, spouse, or child since their low self-esteem prevents normal intimacy with others.

I Need A Father – (A Fathers Role in Child Custody)

The number of fathers caring for their children is growing at a rate almost twice that of single mothers.  The bottom line is more men are choosing to be hands-on fathers.  In addition, presumed joint custody — or shared custody by both parents of children of divorce — is now the law of the land in most states.

Scores of research have documented the positive effects of a father’s involvement in a child’s life.  Regrettably, currently approximately 30% of American children live without their father’s involvement in their life.

As the number of women in the work force has increased, some men appear to have become more involved in fatherhood and show greater interest in child-care responsibilities.   With more women in the workplace than ever before — 68% of women with children under 18 — divorce courts in most states are not simply awarding custody and care of children to mothers by default.  In some cases, the mother has neither the time, nor the will, to care full time for her offspring. In other cases, she may not have the financial means.  The gradual progress towards leveling the playing field for women at work has resulted in slowly leveling the playing field at home.  The law is beginning to catch up as well. Divorce laws of more and more states are taking into account the importance of children maintaining relationships with dads as well as moms after divorce.

Following is a sample of what other sources have had to say about the risks faced by fatherless children:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)

After economic factors are excluded, children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers.

Recent studies have suggested that children whose fathers are actively involved with them from birth are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident in exploring their surroundings, have better social connections with peers as they grow older, are less likely to get in trouble at home and at school, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. Children with fathers who are nurturing, involved, and playful also turn out to have higher IQs and better linguistic and cognitive capacities.

The divorce process is difficult for all involved.  It is far better for the children if the parents are able and willing to place them outside of difficult divorce issues.  Children want to run and laugh and play.  In many cases they are not mature enough to process adult issues.  Keep heated issues between the adults and away from hearing range of the children.  No matter how angry a parent is, they should promote the children viewing the other parent in a positive light.  Children need positive role models.  Even if a parent feels the other parent has wronged them, it is just as wrong for that parent to take away the ability for their children to have a parent they can be proud of and look up to.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: Warring Parents + Child = Combustible Family Situation

It has now been more than 20 years since child psychiatrist, Richard A. Gardner, introduced the term of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).  Dr. Gardner defined PAS as a disorder that arises in divorce or child custody disputes, when one parent deliberately damages, or destroys the previously healthy and loving relationship between the child and the child’s other parent. The main manifestation is the child’s own sudden or atypical campaign of denigration against the targeted parent without any justification.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is an evil, yet common and effective device for gaining custody of a child. Through systematic alienation, the alienating parent may slowly brainwash a child against the targeted parent. The alienating parent involved in these abusive behaviors usually gains misplaced and deleterious loyalty of the child.

The main problem with PAS is that the child actually participates in the denigrating of the alienated parent.

The main areas of denigration from the child are:

  • The child supports and tries to protect the alienating parent.
  • The child express the ideas of denigration of the target parent as his/her own idea.
  • The child gives weak and absurd reasons for his/her anger towards the alienated parent.
  • The child uses situations and scenarios that he/she could not have experienced
  • The child uses foul and often atypical language and server behavior to denigrate the targeted parent.
  • The child has no guilt over his/her cruelty towards the alienated parent and expresses hate for the parent.

Children who live in alienated family situations are usually unable to form healthy relationships with either parent.

Main areas of concern for these children impacted by Parental alienation are:

  1. Aggression and conduct disorder
  2. Disregard for social norms and authority, adjustment difficulties
  3. Emotional Distress, Anxiety, Depression, and Self Hate
  4. Lack of remorse or guilt
  5. Poor reality testing and unreasonable cognitive operations
  6. Low self- esteem or inflated self-esteem, Pseudo- maturity

Children displaying some or all of these symptoms need professional and legal help.  Parental Alienation Syndrome is sometimes recognized by the courts but is very difficult to define and most cases requires bringing in County Social Services, Child Protective Services, and /or other family therapy professionals.

Your child desperately needs your help, no matter how bad the situation is. IT IS NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP YOUR PARENTAL RIGHTS! Contact an attorney and discuss your options on how to help your child and moving forward to solve this legal situation.