Posted in Life, lifestyle, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 3: Using Children

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Violence comes in many forms.  Some forms of violence don’t involve physical injury but the effects of non-physical violence can leave scars and wounds that last long after the relationship.  There are many factors that contribute to the inability to sever ties abruptly.  It can be very hard for people to understand unless they have found themselves in the same or similar situation.

Staying together for the kids

Abuse is often about power and leverage.  When children are involved, abusers often use the children as leverage to gain control.  Threatening to turn the children against a parent, or making a partner feel guilty for wanting to leave by insinuating they are breaking up the family are two very common manipulations abuser use to keep their partner from ending the relationship.  It is a natural desire to want to keep the family together or have both parents present in the lives of the children, but if the risks of harm outweigh the benefits, then taking some time to assess the current state of affairs may be a great idea.

If there is a combination of abuse taking place like, for example, verbal, physical, financial, etc, it can create a very toxic environment that may influence and manifest in your children’s behavior.  It may also have long lasting effects that manifest later in the child’s adulthood.  This is a factor that must also be considered when deliberating on whether to stay or go.  Financial exploitation or abuse often comes hand in hand with using children.  This can be a very difficult situation with a stay at home mom, for example whose job was child-rearing while the spouse was the bread winner.  Another notable technique is not allowing the other parent to see the children unless they comply with a request like for example, move back into the house.

Using the children is extremely cruel and exacerbates emotional, psychological and physiological well-being.  The children should not be used as messengers and visitation should not be used as an opportunity to engage.  A common myth is that this is just part of the territory when couples break up.  This is simply not true.  None of this is okay.  Even if this is as bad as it gets on the Wheel of Power & Privilege, make no mistake – it is still a form of abuse.

I have provided links below if you are interested in finding out more information.  Both organizations can help refer some local contacts if need be.  If you have any questions, you are free to reach out to me as well.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Family Solutions  – Father’s Rights