Being party to abusive behavior is one of the most horrifying things that can happen in a marriage. In most cases, physical abuse is accompanied by verbal abuse, and can be aggravated by many other factors, such as substance abuse. When physical abuse is happening and escalating, separation from the abusive partner is often the only viable option because personal safety is involved. Here are some things to take away from this negative life situation, and things to leave behind as you move forward.
THINGS TO TAKE AWAY
The Safety of Your Children
If you are being abused, steps should be taken to remove your children from a dangerous situation, as well as yourself. Many times an abused spouse will deceive themselves into thinking an abuser will not harm the children if they are left behind. In fact, the anger behind the act of abuse always looks for an outlet. If you leave, the children are the next available target. So they should be removed from the situation and, if necessary, with the help of police. A family violence lawyer in Sacramento says attorneys should be able to help you with the legal aspects involved in ending an abusive marriage. Difficult legal situations can arise in ending abusive marriages, particularly when children are involved. A competent lawyer can help.
The last thing you need is to jump into another abusive relationship. Although no one willingly enters into a relationship with an abuser, there are usually warning signs that can be detected early on in a relationship that indicate problems. Abusers usually have a serious problem with control. They may try to limit or even eliminate all outside friendships from their partner’s life, become excessively angry over small matters, and try to control even the most minute behaviors of their partner. They may also spend a lot of time criticizing their partner’s behavior, since verbal abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse. They may have a drinking or drug problem that exacerbates the behavior as well. Familiarity is the best way to know what a person is really like, and familiarity develops over time. A spouse who has been abused should never jump into another relationship with someone they have just met, even if they do so out of loneliness or a desire to provide a good home for children.
THINGS TO LEAVE BEHIND
Under no circumstances should you return to an abuser unless they can prove by words and actions there has been a significant change. Significant changes in the behavior an abuser can take years, and is rarely something that happens overnight. Counseling is usually needed, and a stay at a rehabilitation center may also be needed. Focus on yourself and your own needs, and let the abuser go. It’s not a time you should dwell on what could have been.
Abusers are often highly critical and negative toward their partners. After a long history of daily criticisms, you may become convinced you are to blame for marital problems or what the abuser says about them is true. It is important to understand that an abuser creates their own problems, and that no personal shortcomings are a good justification for abuse. In addition, the critical viewpoint of an abuser has more to do with the way they think about themselves and the world than the way they may think about you. Many times abusers themselves have very low self-esteem and instead of facing up to their feelings, deflect their dissatisfaction with their own life onto their spouse. If you have already had the courage to leave a difficult situation, you should give yourself credit for that. Realize you are a unique person with talents and abilities that can be shared with others. Leave the low self-esteem behind.
When you leave an abusive relationship and after the sadness has subsided, it is easy to be overcome with bitterness and resentment toward the abusive partner. Anger is an understandable human emotion, but it should not be allowed to fester for too long. Instead, try to find a way to forgive or direct your anger in a healthy way. It is very possible your abuser was influenced by similar circumstances in their own life, and it’s up to you to find positives and leave resentment behind. Forgiveness is really a way of healing yourself. It doesn’t mean you should return to the relationship, and it doesn’t even require the other person to apologize. It only means your own attitude toward what has happened has changed.
As difficult as it is to leave an abusive relationship, it can be a catalyst for personal growth. The important thing is to learn from past experience and to move forward instead of backward.