Emotional blackmail and abuse during divorce is can put an added layer of harm on an already touchy situation. It can take the form of manipulation, verbal threats, and blaming — among others — and it can cripple you mentally if you aren’t prepared to cope. Thankfully, you can take some steps to better identify and better navigate emotional blackmail, and it all starts with recognizing the signs.
The Signs Of Emotional Blackmail & Abuse
Some of the classic signs of emotional abuse used during divorce may already be familiar to you. Gaslighting, for instance, is a popular tactic of those trying to make you vulnerable (and easier to control). Being coerced into sexual activity is another favorite for abusers who like to play power games, as are outright displays of anger, like shouting and trying to ascribe blame.
Some signs are a bit more subtle, but even more pernicious — like using your children as a cudgel to attack you with. For example, say you had a child who was suffering from a birth injury. A particularly unscrupulous partner may use that fact to throw in your face, saying the injury was your fault and then attempting to guilt you over it after the fact.
Being able to pick out these instances where a partner is trying to manipulate you during a divorce is critical to protecting yourself. Beyond just recognizing these behaviors, though, you’ll also need to learn how to safeguard yourself against them. Calling out the behavior when you see it is a start, but you can also look to friends and family for support.
Protecting Yourself And Using Your Support Network
Dealing with someone trying to emotionally blackmail you during divorce is taxing, but not something you’ll have to go alone. If you’re working with attorneys on your divorce, for instance, like Strange Law, they could point you in the direction of support services that will help you work through the emotional headache and keep yourself in high spirits in spite of bad circumstances.
When dealing with your abusive partner, you’ll want to set up boundaries on communication and do whatever you can to protect your mental energy. Don’t fall victim to name calling or taunts. Don’t get dragged into arguments for argument’s sake, and resist the urge to be too accommodating to your spouse. Once you learn to emotionally disengage from interactions, you’ll find that their attempts at emotional blackmail start to fall flat, and you are able to carry on without the aggravation.