9.7Susan M. Hais

It has become painfully evident to you that you are in a marriage or domestic partnership where your spouse or partner has been making you feel bad, not only about yourself but also about your relationship. You believe that your spouse or partner is trying to intimidate or dominate you. You have been feeling insecure, afraid, and overpowered and you don’t know why this kind of treatment is happening. Perhaps you have felt this way to a lesser degree in the past, but now, it is getting harder to ignore. What you are probably experiencing is domestic violence, which can manifest in different forms, but you are unsure if that is actually what you are encountering in your relationship.

Domestic violence is physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or economic abuse that serves to manipulate the other person in the relationship to benefit the abusive spouse or partner. If you are uncertain as to what domestic violence involves you may find it helpful to know what constitutes domestic violence. Here are various types of domestic violence and some of their indications:

Physical abuse: Any intentional act causing injury or trauma to you by way of physical contact that includes, but is not limited to hitting, shoving, kicking, pinching, biting, hair pulling and restraining. It can also involve denying you medical care or forcing alcohol or narcotics on you.

Emotional abuse: To weaken your sense of self-worth or confidence which may include, but is not limited to verbal abuse (persistent criticism, demeaning, name-calling, etc.), bullying, and humiliation. It can also include damaging your relationship with your children or other family members.

Psychological abuse: Closely related to emotional abuse, the abuser subjects you to treatment that may lead to irreversible mental trauma that includes anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychological abuse serves to incite fear by intimidation; to threaten with physical harm to you, to themselves, the children, pets, to family or friends; destruction of property, stalking or forcing you into isolation from daily life and all it entails.

Sexual abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent, which includes marital rape, physical abuse of the genitals and other sexual parts of the body, and sexually demeaning treatment.

Economic abuse: To make or to attempt to make you financially dependent on your spouse or partner by keeping complete control over financial resources, withholding your access to money, or preventing you from going to work to earn money.

If you have read through these types of domestic violence and their characteristics and you recognize any of these abusive behaviors, it is possible you have been experiencing domestic violence in your relationship. Whether they are small signs or obvious red flags, take the precaution to protect yourself from further abuse, before it escalates to damaging proportions that are irreparable. Schedule an appointment to talk to the divorce attorneys at Hais, Hais & Goldberger, P.C. and they will help you decide what further action you should take to ensure your best interest and safety.