One of the hardest and most courageous things any person can do, is leave an abusive relationship. It takes herculean strength to work up the courage, and nerves of steel to go through with it, knowing that in most cases, it will initially amplify the abuse or negative behaviours, that you are so desperately trying to escape. I would like to be able to tell you that once you divorce or leave the abuse stops, but the truth is in many cases it morphs into a different kind of abuse, one using the legal system.
The legal system in the US is set up to, be a pay by play system. He/she who has the money to sue, to contest, to prolong, to accuse, to manipulate can all be bought and paid for, and most family law attorneys will take on clients unaware at least initially of their abusive pasts. Abuse is actually hard to prove, and even worse financial and emotional abuse, and control are all completely legal. Only domestic abusing your spouse can have criminal charges.
The abuser, is often a narcissist and or psychopathy and can see a court setting as a place to shine. Why do abusers do this? Besides the obvious that they get away with it?
1. It gives them a new audience to manipulate and play victim in front of, the world is a stage and we to them are nothing but pawns.
2. It forces the other party to stay in contact with them, how can we move on and forget when we have to deal with them in the court system.
3. It shows that even though we may have left, they still have control over us, via, children, money, and therefor enables them to continue to prove to us they still own us. (remember most abusers in essence see a spouse or ex as a possession of sorts).
4. Abusers feed on emotional turmoil they cause and the reactions they can get, what better place than to get you to squirm, than in a court of law fighting for things that they know have high emotional value to you.
5. Legal proceedings and the stress of them, often have knock on effects for the other person financially, so even if they lose, they still have won in someway by forcing the other party to wrack up huge legal fees, the abuser will get an extra high from this if they know the party already struggles financially.
6. They emotionally don’t actually care, as in they have little or no empathy, so for them win, lose or draw, the benefit of causing chaos to you outweighs the fear that they may lose. Which makes it a win, win for an abuser.
Even worse, in a court of law, you can pretty much accuse an ex of anything without much recourse, I almost daily speak to both men and women, who have been wrongly accused of abuse to their children, very little recourse happens to those falsely accusing their ex of abuse, yet the emotional harm it does to both great Mothers and Fathers can be catastrophic.
Until the legal system, implements laws which put an end or at least curb the unnecessary, frivolous and abusive lawsuits that people can file as many times as they can pay for, in the family law system-we will continue to be actually aiding in the abuse of survivors of domestic, emotional and financial abuse. While allowing this, we are enabling those who often got away with, years of terrorizing abusing, controlling behaviors to carry on using their time, energy and money to hurt those women and men brave enough to leave.
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