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IL family lawyerUnhealthy and abusive relationships can be easy to spot from the outside but can become difficult to recognize when you find yourself in that situation. They say that love is blinding and this is often the case in relationships like these. A man or woman in a relationship gets used to their partner’s behavior and often gives them excuses in regards to their abusive tendencies. Statistically speaking, one in four women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Physical abuse is not the only form of abuse that takes place in relationships. Emotional and sexual abuse are often more common. Continue reading to learn about what is considered abuse and why victims of abuse stay in unhealthy relationships.

What Is Abuse?

Abuse can come in many forms and does not always have to be an act of violence. Consistently putting down your partner or making them feel less about themselves is a common form of emotional abuse that often gets brushed off. Many incorrectly believe that violence or assault is the only true form of abuse because there is physical evidence to look at. Manipulation is another common abuse tactic. This can be explained as your partner wanting to spend time with you; however, an unhealthy amount of time spent with your significant other is never a good idea for either person. This manipulation can be as simple as dictating who their partner’s friends can be or as complicated as threating suicide if their partner leaves them. Financial control is also an example. This is more common in marriages since your bank accounts are typically merged; however, it is not impossible in a dating relationship as well. A partner who makes all financial decisions without consulting their spouse can use this to their advantage. Having financial gain over another is an easy control tactic that can be used without the partner even recognizing it.

Common Reasons People Stay in Abusive Relationships

It can be difficult to understand why someone would stay in an abusive relationship when they have never been in one themselves. There are a variety of different reasons why partners stay.

  • Love: This is one of the most simple and common reasons why abusive relationships continue - love. It can be difficult to leave someone you love no matter how much they hurt you. Remembering the “good times” from the past can be strong enough to motivate individuals to keep trying to get them back.
  • Lack of Finances: Financial abuse is so successful because not having the money to be independent can force people to remain in their current situation. Many people do not see another option since they do not have the means to do so.
  • Normalizing Abuse: This is similar to the lack of recognition of abuse. Many partners do not realize how serious the abuse has become. They think abuse simply comes with all relationships.
  • Low Self-Esteem: The way a person sees themselves determines many of the decisions they make in life. Emotional abuse typically deteriorates an individual’s self-esteem over time. Their partner will plant the idea that they will never find anyone else causing them to stay out of fear of loneliness and low self-esteem.

Contact a Kane County Domestic Violence Attorney for Help

Finally leaving an abusive relationship often requires more steps than telling your partner “it’s over.” For those who are married, divorce is one of the best ways to ensure that you cut all ties with your former spouse. Orders of protection may also be necessary depending on the dangers of the situation. If you are considering divorce or need help filing for an order of protection, contact our St. Charles, IL domestic violence lawyers for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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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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