Many believe that peer pressure or societal expectations are most oppressive during the teen years. This may be true for some, but expectations continue well into adulthood. It can come from their family, faith, or society, leaving people to feel isolated, ashamed, or resigned. This pressure can be particularly burdensome for those contemplating divorce, even if the relationship is abusive.
Good intentions can lead to bad results
Outside voices of a counselor, friend or minister may be well-intended, but they may not understand and dismiss the dangers of physical or emotional abuse. In doing so, they provide well-intended but harmful guidance. Examples include:
- Ministers or religious elders may cite religious dogma as a premise to maintain their vows regardless of the spouse’s behavior.
- Family members will argue that a dysfunctional marriage is better than divorce because it is best for the children.
- Family counselors who do not recognize the dangerous nature of the relationship or have the full picture of its dynamics.
- Friends who argue to stick with it, either because it is what they did, or they fear that it will impact their social circle somehow.
These people may even go so far as victim-blaming, saying that the problem is not with the abuser but the victim who provoked the abuse through words or actions.
Find the support you need
Victims of physical or emotional abuse seek supportive help as soon as possible. It can involve calling 911 if there is harm or the imminent threat to harm a spouse or the children. It should also involve counseling from a therapist trained to help victims of trauma and abuse.
Victims planning their divorce should also discuss the matter with their attorney. These legal professionals can handle all interactions with the other party and protect the rights and interests of their client.