Not every marriage is happy, as you know. Some couples may have significant disagreements or may have simply drifted apart. Many other marriages in Texas, however, are torn apart by abuse. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we have seen the devastating effects both emotional and physical abuse can have on relationships, which can contribute to the cycle of abuse when children are involved.
Physical violence is terrible for any spouse to endure. However, emotional abuse can cause just as much damage in terms of your self-esteem and ability to escape an abusive relationship. Emotional abusers use manipulation tactics to control their victims and make it difficult to leave. One of the most common methods an emotional abuser uses is called gaslighting.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines gaslighting as a form of emotional abuse that leaves victims feeling as if they are crazy and are the ones to blame for the unhappiness in the marriage. If your spouse is a gaslighter, he or she is a master at making you feel confused and like nothing you do is right or good enough. A gaslighting spouse will say things to make the other spouse question his or her memory of events. Gaslighting techniques include turning your friends against you, making you second-guess your every action and making you think you are only imagining that your spouse is abusive. You can spend years in your marriage knowing that something is wrong but being unable to pin it down. In the end, your gaslighting spouse has succeeded in making you feel dependent on him or her and unable to make your own decisions out of fear that you will be wrong.
When you are attempting to leave an abusive relationship, you will need advocates on your side to support you and help you get your children into a safe and healthy environment. Our page on divorce explains more about how to escape an unhappy marriage.