Acts of physical and sexual violence are not the only way in which men and women seek to control each other. Getting divorced can put an end to such abuse in a relationship but the effects can last for many years after.
Sustained over a long period emotional abuse can result in the erosion of self esteem and confidence and cause long term mental heath problems. Victims of abuse may harbour feelings of guilt that somehow they were to blame for their former partner’s behaviour.
This can involve name calling, excessive jealousy, telling you that you are ugly or stupid, threatening to remove children from the home and that you are a bad parent, withholding money for essentials such as food, heating or petrol, not allowing you to make friends or to socialise, preventing you from leaving the home to do everyday things such as shopping or playing sport, making it difficult for you to go to work – if you have a job.
Anyone who finds themselves experiencing abuse in marriage needs to get out of it as soon as they can. The longer it goes on the more difficult it can be to extricate yourself. It takes a great deal of courage to admit to a third party that you are suffering at the hands of someone who is supposed to love and care for you.
There are a number of organisations that can help in these situations and the police take incidents of domestic violence very seriously. There are refuges for women and children who need to get away from violent men but there are very few for men, although as more incidents of violence against men by women come out into the arena, no doubt they will become more numerous.
However, even if you have been brave and taken the step to remove yourself from the hands of a tormentor, the fallout may linger for years to come. If you continue to experience problems coming to terms with what has happened to you, counselling or therapy may be something to consider. Your GP may be able to refer you within the NHS, waiting lists permitting, or, if finances allow there are some very good therapists operating in private practice. Although this type of help does not come cheaply if it enables you to get on with your life after divorce then it has to be a good thing.
The Samaritans are available twenty four hours a day providing confidential support for those in emotional distress including anyone in danger of committing suicide. Started in 1953 by a young vicar in London, Samaritans has grown into a nationwide service using trained volunteers to man their telephone service.
For psychological problems the following organisations can help with counselling and therapy:
BACP – British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
BASRT– British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy
UKCP – UK Council for Psychotherapy
MIND – the UK's leading mental health charity.