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Illinois divorce lawyerIn a healthy relationship, both parties can manage their own emotional and personal needs. In a codependent relationship, one or both partners cannot do this for themselves, so they rely on each other to manage all their personal needs. Do not confuse emotionally supporting a spouse with codependency – in a healthy marriage, both partners should be expected to be there for each other. Codependency goes beyond this level of emotional support. Codependency describes a relationship where one partner sacrifices his or her own needs to fulfill the other’s, causing him or her to suffer from the difficulties that come with poor coping mechanisms like internalized shame, people-pleasing behavior, and perfectionism to the point of fearing failure. A codependent relationship is not healthy for either party or if they have children, the children. Often, divorce is an important step toward recovering from codependency.

Recognizing Codependency in Your Marriage

Often, a codependent spouse is known as an enabler. The term “codependency” first arose to describe spouses of alcoholics, because often, they would exhibit this type of behavior and enable their spouses to continue to drink dangerously. Individuals in abusive relationships and relationships with addicts also frequently exhibit codependent behavior.

Codependency symptoms can be seen in the spouse who is not addictive or abusive. It is the enabler who suffers these symptoms, which include:

  • Low self-esteem;
  • Reactivity;
  • Little to no respect for others’ boundaries;
  • Internalized shame;
  • Learned helplessness;
  • Difficulty with communication;
  • A need to control others and situations; and
  • Denial that there is anything unhealthy about their relationship.

Preparing for Your Divorce

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Illinois divorce lawyerIt is not always easy to recognize when your marriage has reached a point that divorce is necessary. We become accustomed to certain patterns and over time, can become so used to a certain lifestyle that we cannot see that it is toxic.

Take a step back and look objectively at your marriage. Every marriage has rough patches, but when a rough patch becomes a permanent way of life, it might be time to exit the marriage. If you are not sure if your marriage is a healthy one, discuss it with an experienced mental health care professional to get deeper insight into the difficulties you are facing and possible solutions. You might be able to change your lifestyle to rebuild your marriage, or you might find that divorce is the healthiest choice for everybody in your household. If one or more of the following is true, divorce might be the way to go.

You Cannot Resolve Conflicts in a Healthy Way

If all your attempts to resolve conflicts in a productive way end in screaming matches, slammed doors, and hurt feelings, you are not communicating in a healthy way.

A strong marriage requires clear communication between the partners. Communication skills can be learned, but like learning any other skill, it takes practice. Both partners need to be willing to practice healthy communication skills and hold themselves accountable for their mistakes.

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