Dealing With An Emotionally Abusive Spouse During A Divorce

Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation, and though many of these marriages end in amicable terms, some couples aren’t so lucky. Sometimes, a once well-mannered spouse will transform into a relentless bully. What makes this kind of bullying worse is that your ex knows your deepest fears and insecurities, making it easier for them to push your buttons.

Bullying in a divorce can manifest in different ways. Your partner could lie about past incidents or blow things out of proportion to make you look bad. They could isolate you from friends and family, or threaten to take full custody of the children and keep you away from them. They could turn into a cyberbully, harassing you on social media or over email.

Dealing with an abusive partner in a divorce can take a significant toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Thankfully, the situation isn’t unsalvageable. If you take the time to understand how you can handle an abusive partner, you can make the divorce more bearable.

Turn To A Support System

Divorcing a bully is a harrowing task, but having the right people around you can make it easier. Your support system will consist of professionals, like a lawyer and other consultants, as well as emotional support like your friends and family to keep you mentally balanced. Knowing that you have a group of people who have your back will make a world of a difference on especially bad days.

Keep A Record Of The Abuse

When you’re a victim of bullying, it’s easy to feel helpless and fall into despair. But you can stand up for yourself by taking note of your partner’s abusive behavior, recording every single detail. Take note of the date and time, how the abuse occurred, and be as detailed as you can. Then, take this data to your lawyer to see if they can help you stop the abuse by setting clear legal boundaries they cannot cross.

Prioritize Your Health And Safety

Bullying can result in a multitude of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. The emotional toll can also affect your physical health, weakening your immune system and causing problems like headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. It’s easy to lose sight of your physical health when you’re in the middle of a difficult divorce, but make a point to take care of yourself by consuming healthy food, exercising, and engaging in activities that make you happy and calm. You could also consult a therapist to help you work through your issues.

Not all bullying partners are violent. But if you think that your ex could physically harm you and your kids, take steps to keep you and your children safe. If your ex was violent during your marriage, the chances of them lashing out on you during the divorce are significantly higher. If you feel that the risk is significant, speak to your lawyer about filing a restraining order.

Bullies often resort to abusive tactics to pressure you to give in to an outcome where you get the short end of the stick. Learn how to stand your ground and don’t let yourself get bullied into making a bad choice. Be kind to yourself. Remember that although things may be difficult now, this will all end eventually. Keep your chin up, and don’t lose heart.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.