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ABUSE CAN BE VERY SUBTLE BUT JUST AS DESTRUCTIVE AS A PUNCH IN THE NOSE

As a family lawyer, I often deal with abuse that is difficult, if not impossible to prove. The divorce lawyer faces many obstacles in dealing with this. First, many people don’t fully appreciate the abuse they are suffering because it is so subtle. Second, the abused person often feels either responsible or so embarrassed that they are not able to verbalize what they are experiencing. And, while the abused person is not at fault, they do play a role in the abuse. Family lawyers should educate their clients on abuse, particularly physical abuse.

Visit our web site for material on abuse at chinnandassociates.com. We often recommend the book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans (2010, Adams Media). This book helps clients identify the abuse they are suffering and educates them on how to step out of the cycle. A friend recently told me about another helpful book called, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It, by Leslie Vernick, (2007, Harvest House). In Chapter 1 she defines the emotionally destructive relationship. Importantly, she shows how destruction in relationships can be much more subtle and not always malicious as we often imagine abuse to be.

Education about abuse is important not just to determine to get out of a relationship, but also to possibly help people identify ways to step out of the cycle and save a marriage.