Relationships are abusive when they are based on power and control. Before domestic violence occurs, victims often experience emotional abuse, controlling behavior, and threats. In some cases, courts may grant protective orders before physical or sexual violence occurs. Texas courts, in fact, define threats as family violence and sometimes grant protective orders based on threats alone.
If you fear for your immediate safety or that of your children, call 911 immediately. If you are ready to leave an abusive partner or divorce an abusive spouse, know Kay Polk, Attorney at Law can help.
Signs of Abusive Relationships
Although emotional abuse is a precursor to physical and sexual violence, it can be more difficult to detect. You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if:
- Your partner belittles or humiliates you (with insulting jokes, put-downs, or public outbursts).
- Your partner minimizes, denies, or blames you for their bad behavior.
- Your partner denies that certain events or discussions ever occurred (gaslighting).
- Your partner wants to know where you are and who you are with at all times.
- Your partner insists you respond to texts or calls immediately.
- Your partner withholds affection and sexual intimacy.
- Your partner keeps you from your friends, family members, interests, and hobbies.
- Your partner makes big decisions without you.
- Your partner controls the finances and/or prevents you from achieving financial independence.
- Your partner uses your children as bargaining chips.
- Your partner attempts to intimidate you or make you afraid.
- Your partner makes or carries out threats.
You can find many of these behaviors on the Power & Control diagram, which is a helpful tool for understanding the pattern of abusive and violent behaviors and relationships.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you leave abusive relationships safely by providing people to talk to and places to go – you can call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.
Nevertheless, if you are married to your abuser, you will still need to go through the process of divorce, and if you are worried about your family’s safety, you may want to seek legal protection. You can ask for a temporary restraining order as part of a divorce or child custody case or request a final protective order, which can last for any duration – typically for 2 years and sometimes for life.
A protective order will require your abuser:
- Not to hurt, threaten, or harass you or your children.
- To stay away from you, your family home, your workplace, and your children’s school or daycare facility.
- Not to carry a gun.
Attorney Kay Polk can help you get legal protection for however long you need it. Always call 911 or the Domestic Violence Hotline when you need immediate help.