Divorce After 45: Recovering from Decades of Domestic Abuse
In a 2019 survey, 23 percent of participants cited domestic violence as a significant contributor to their divorce. The numbers prove that domestic abuse is one of the major causes of separation.
Recovering from Decades of Domstic Abuse
For those suffering from decades of abuse, life after divorce should teach them how to move forward, heal, and recover. Whether you are a divorced woman or a man fresh out of a long marriage, you can use this guide to help you get started on your journey to recovery.
Defining Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse refers to a pattern of behavior in any relationship to gain power and control over a partner. It is also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV).
This type of abuse includes any actions meant to intimidate, frighten, terrorize, hurt, or manipulate someone. Humiliating, blaming, injuring, or wounding a partner are also forms of domestic abuse.
It can happen to any person of any age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. Abuse can also occur within a range of certain relationships, including married couples, older couples, people living together, or couples who are dating.
It can affect all sorts of people from all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds. Domestic abuse survivors may also include a child and other members of the household.
Domestic violence incidents are rarely isolated. As time passes, the incidents usually escalate in severity and frequency. The abuse may lead to serious physical injury or even death.
Types of Domestic Violence
Remember that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence alone. Abuse involves any action to gain control and power over a family member or a partner.
In this section, let us take a closer look at the different types of domestic violence. Knowing the various forms of IPV will make it easier to spot the signs of abuse.
IPV in the form of physical abuse can involve the following behavior:
- Scratching, grabbing, biting, or spitting
- Throwing objects to intimidate or hurt you
- Pushing or shoving
- Slapping or punching
- Breaking things or treasured possessions
- Hurting your children or threatening to hurt them
- Harming your pets or threatening to hurt them
- Exhausting you by disrupting your sleep
- Any threats or attempts to wound or kill you
Psychological or emotional abuse
This type of domestic abuse involves behavior your partner uses to control or damage your emotional well-being. The following actions are examples of this type of abuse:
- Yelling or standing threateningly
- Mocking, name-calling, or making humiliating gestures or remarks
- Interrupting you while you speak
- Not listening or responding when you ask questions
- Manipulating your children
- Dictating what you can and cannot do
- Placing little value on what you think or say
- Saying negative things about you, your friends, and your family
- Belittling you publicly
- Preventing you from seeing friends or relatives
- Being overly jealous
- Blaming others for their abusive behavior
- Monitoring your communications
Economic or financial abuse happens when someone makes their partner financially dependent on them. The following behaviors are indicative of financial abuse:
- Hiding family assets
- Not letting you go to work or attend school
- Sabotaging employment opportunities
- Sabotaging educational opportunities
- Denying access to or destroying a car so you cannot go to work or school
- Refusing to provide financial support or child support
- Denying access to bank accounts
- Running up debt in your name
Signs of Domestic Abuse
In 2021, the number of divorced men and women in the age group of 45 to 49 reached approximately 3 million. The figure shows that it is never too late to leave a relationship, especially if you are stuck with an abusive partner. Do not be afraid to call up a divorce attorney, regardless of how many years you have been married.
To recover from domestic violence, you must first recognize the signs of abuse. These signs can be little things that you might miss if you are not actively looking for them. To know if you experience domestic violence, ask yourself this: Does your partner:
- Belittle you yourself and your accomplishments?
- Say you are nothing without them?
- Blame you for how they act or feel?
- Embarrass you in front of other people?
- Intimidate you to gain compliance?
- Make you feel inadequate?
- Tell you that you cannot make your own decisions?
- Physically hurt you?
- Use substance abuse as an excuse for hurting you?
- Call or show up unannounced to ensure you are where you said you would be?
- Pressure you sexually?
- Try to stop you from leaving after a fight?
- Leave you stranded somewhere after a fight?
- Stop you from doing things you want to do?
Another way to know is to ask yourself if you do or feel the following:
- That you can help your partner change only if you change yourself
- Scared of how your partner may react
- Make excuses and apologize to other people for your partner’s actions
- Prevent anything that would make your partner angry
- Never do what you want since you are always doing what your partner wants
- Stay with your partner because you are scared of what your spouse would do if you left
How To Recover From Domestic Abuse
On average, 24 people per minute experience stalking, physical violence, or rape by an intimate partner in the US. This means 12 million people experience domestic abuse over the course of one year.
These statistics underscore the importance of resources that can help survivors recover from their trauma. In this section, you will discover crucial tips and reminders that can help you start your recovery after decades of abuse.
Recognize the effects of trauma
The first step of recovery is to acknowledge that you need help. If you recognize the effects of trauma on yourself or your loved ones, you must seek professional help. The effects of trauma include:
- Panic attacks
- Feelings of self-hate
- Substance use
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Eating disorders
- Flashbacks of physical or sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Fear of relationships and people
Learn to trust
Emotional abuse can lead younger survivors to fall into similar behavior patterns as they reach middle age. One common reaction to trauma is to distrust others.
After divorce, survivors might be scared of making new friends, meeting new partners, and forming new relationships. They might be afraid of intimacy.
However, there are still plenty of good people out there. To heal, survivors of domestic violence need to begin to let people into their new life.
Understand why recovery is important
Some people might not understand why it is crucial to make an effort to get better. However, they must understand why recovery is important for their recovery to be successful. Otherwise, the process can be more difficult.
It is crucial to know that healing is the key to overcoming traumatic experiences. Yes, healing is different for everyone, but for any individual, it requires the intention to recover and release past traumas. This intention can encourage the following scenarios:
- Domestic violence and divorce recovery allow survivors to develop closer relationships with others. This way, you do not have to spend more time thinking about your abuser. It is crucial to let your friends and family support you as you start the healing process.
- It will enable survivors to focus on themselves and not on their negative feelings. While healing, survivors can take their focus away from the negativity and do what helps them.
- It allows survivors to relieve their pain by finding new avenues to cope. You can take up a new hobby or return to your once-abandoned hobbies.
- It also helps survivors experience their feelings again after releasing all the emotions from past mental health trauma.
Ask for help
Asking for help is a crucial form of self-compassion. Those hurting should not be ashamed to ask for help. However, this could be easier said than done for survivors of domestic violence.
Survivors have a natural tendency to downplay the negative effects of abuse, especially if the abuse is not physical. Survivors often think if they’re not feeling extreme physician pain, they will handle things on their own.
If you want to move on from an abusive relationship, there is no shame in seeking help.
Learn How To Live Happier After a Divorce
Decades of marriage should not keep you from filing for a divorce if you are in an abusive relationship. Call a divorce lawyer so you can get started on your journey to recovery. You can also get divorced without hiring an attorney in some states like Texas.
To heal from abuse, do not be afraid to ask for help and form new relationships. Keep your ex-spouse out of your mind and live a better life post-divorce.
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