(Intimate Partner Violence, power and control, emotional coercion)
“You’ll never see the children again!” “I’ll ruin you financially!” “No one else will ever love you!”
In many cases, one partner has gone too far in trying to control the other partner. “Domestic violence” involves not just physical efforts to control, but emotional, financial, sexual, and other forms of control. The law provides a wide range of solutions to help people move out of controlling relationships, including solutions to protect finances, and physical and emotional control. Restraining orders can be “light” or “heavy”, and can simply include a provision restricting one party from coming to the other’s home, include various types of restrictions on contact, such as “by text/email only”. Restraining orders can also include a fuller range of protections to eliminate most or all contact.
“We help clients by listening and understanding what their needs and wishes are. Each case is unique. Some clients prefer very light restrictions on contact, and others need substantial protections. It may be counter-productive to eliminate all contact when the parties have ongoing needs to communicate about certain issues, and in some cases it may be counter-productive to allow any contact whatsoever. Sometimes we start with one type of restraining order, and then modify it as time moves on and needs change.” Mark Baumann
DV goes by many other names including Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), power and control, and emotional coercion.
Domestic violence behavior includes many types of behavior including physical assault, pushing, shoving, throwing things, spitting, hitting, kicking, and can include intense forms of emotional abuse such as yelling, name calling, putting down, belittling, disparaging, insulting, humiliating, shaming, forcing compliance with unreasonable rules, and sexual abuse.
From and adult attachment perspective, these cases may involve a person who is using obsessively coercive self-protective strategies in an attempt to get their own subjectively perceived needs met. The person feels a sense of danger which may be not be true danger, such as a fear of being abandoned, that their partner is having an affair, that some experience from the past is actually happening in the present or potential immediate future (but it’s not), or that some form of humiliation (whether true or not) has been experienced. Often, the person using coercive behavior to try to control their partner is unable to recognize the impact of their behavior, unable to accept responsibility for their own behavior and thinking, and intensely and persistently blame their partner (often quite unfairly).
“Providing protections for clients usually involves implementing one or more boundaries. These can include restraining orders, or just helping the client learn how to say no while protecting them, and their children, from potential backlash. Sometimes child support and spousal support orders are helpful to protect against one party causing financial ruin to the other. We have represented many clients who have experienced a little emotional control to the most extreme forms of control.” Mark Baumann
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