Stereotypes and assumptions about abusers and victims help nobody. Abusers come from all walks of life and across the social classes. Being abused may well have been one of your reasons for getting divorced.
Abuse as one of the reasons for getting divorced
Most of us will know of at least one person – man or woman – who has suffered some form of abuse at some point in their life, indeed, you may well have experienced abuse yourself. Within a couple situation this is called relationship abuse.
For some it may have been a one off incident but a substantial number of people will have endured abuse for many years, possibly at the hands of more than one person and they will need some kind of help after divorce to come to terms with what has happened top them. Abuse will often be cited as one of the reasons for getting divorced.
Victims and abusers and help after divorce
Victims and abusers can come from all walks of life and there is no stereotype for either. Victims can be sensible intelligent middle aged women and abusers can be respectable – or so you would think - articulate, educated doctors or solicitors. Abusers do not have to be fuelled by alcohol or drugs in order to carry out their hateful attacks whether sexual or physical or emotional; sometimes all three and the victims of abusers will need help after divorce, maybe for many years to come.
Never assume anything
One of the most dangerous assumptions made about the whole domestic abuse issue is that it is only women who suffer at the hands of men. Although women are more likely to come forward to report cases of abuse than men it does not mean that we should pretend that abuse by women of men doesn’t happen or that it is somehow less serious when it does.
The warning signs
Possessive and irrationally jealous behaviour is one of the most obvious indicators that a relationship may be teetering on the brink of being abusive. A man or woman who makes it difficult for their wife or husband to see their friends of other family members has an obvious problem. The abuser may also lose their temper quickly over trivial matters and has erratic mood swings which make it impossible for their spouse to think of anything except the other person’s needs and desires.
Undermining a victim’s self confidence is another way that abusive spouses seek to control and intimidate. They may be over critical of the other person’s appearance or allude to them as fat or stupid in front of others.
Why don’t they leave the marriage and get divorced?
A question to which there is no one answer. Even in an abusive relationship there will be some dynamic that keeps people together against all rationality and it can be very hard to stand by when you know that someone is suffering at the hands of a monster or a bully of either sex.
For those on the sidelines it must be stressed that you cannot force a woman or man to leave a destructive marriage or get a divorce, you can only support the victim and encourage them to seek help.