Psychological Abuse during marriage can leave a former spouse questioning their own capabilities and mental status. It is debilitating and can have long lasting effects. Psychological abuse is sometimes referred to as “gas lighting” after the 1941 thriller starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the film, Paula is a newlywed returning to the house of her murdered aunt. Her new husband manipulates her into doubting her memory, experiences and eventuality her sanity. Paula sees the gas lights flicker and hears footsteps overhead when her spouse is supposedly not home. He convinces Paula that she is going insane for his own sinister purpose.
A spouse committing gas lighting may be setting up a situation (as in the film) and telling their spouse that it is all in their head. The goal is to have someone question what is real and exert control over them. Psychological abuse is using words and actions to destroy another person without physical violence. Partners may be told that they are too sensitive, suspicious or jealous. Making a “joke” that demeans a spouse when the intention is to tear them down is abuse. It is a stream of criticisms and cruelty over a period of time.
A psychological abuser often attempts to isolate the person from their friends and family. This increases their power over the spouse and lessens the chance others will persuade them to initiate divorce. When someone feels helpless, they are less likely to leave. The target of this abuse questions their intelligence and being able to be on their own. Think about your marital situation. Have your friends fallen by the wayside? Are you out of touch with relatives? Are you doubting your talents? Are you belittled when in the presence or others?
If feeling uncomfortable and doubtful about your well-being and abilities, get some help. A family doctor can recommend a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, can help change faulty perceptions, and give a reality check. A professional can help you sort out your situation to decide which path to take.
This is an unhealthy situation for children to witness. They do not know how to help and can be caught in the middle. Parental alienation can occur when one parent is constantly putting down the other and children might question the targeted parent’s authority. If the kids think this marital situation is normal, then they run the risk of emulating it down the road in their own relationships. Please read more… http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/what-you-need-to-know-about-psychological-abuse-before–after-divorce