Separating from a Toxic Spouse
A good marriage is worth fighting for. Sometimes, a bad marriage is worth fighting for as well. A toxic marriage, however, calls for a certain step: separation. If your spouse is verbally, physically, or psychologically abusive, then you need to step out of the situation and begin to protect yourself.
It’s not loving to stay with someone who hurts you. It’s terrible for you, but you’re not being noble. You’re harming your spouse as well. By enabling their behavior, you’re limiting their ability to get help and change. The best thing you can do for both of you is separate yourself from their toxic behavior.
How Do I Know if My Spouse Is Toxic?
Unless abuse is physical, it can be hard to know when a spouse has crossed a line. Manipulation, guilt-tripping, ignoring, and isolating behaviors are all considered psychological abuse. Verbal abuse is similar to psychological abuse and can can include trivializing your feelings, hurtful things disguised as jokes, or denying any wrongdoing in a situation. Look at a list of the both the symptoms and common instances of psychological and verbal abuse. Your spouse may seem all right, but if you bear a deep burden of pain, feel dirty or worthless, or have any other recurring, negative feelings, you should consider the possibility that your spouse is abusive. It can be hard to recognize abuse, especially when you’re used to your spouse’s behavior, and when your spouse insists they’re normal. Your spouse is not behaving normally, however, and you deserve better.
Three Steps for Separation
If you’ve realized that your spouse is, in fact, toxic, then it’s time to separate. You should never attempt to break with a spouse on your own, so find a therapist or therapy group that will keep you strong during this transition. Without help surrounding you, you may sink back into the old relationships and allow the cycle of abuse to continue. You also have a lot of healing to do, so a therapist is a great idea.
Your next step will be to become independent. Find a place to live, not just for a week, but for an extended period of time. Make sure your finances are in good shape and separate from your spouse’s. You may want to open new investments with stocks under 1, just to get yourself started on a new financially secure future.
Your last step should be preparing for any counter attacks. This is why a support group is so important. Your spouse may hound you. They may lay false allegations of abuse on you, allegations that you should fight with an Ann Arbor lawyer. In short, your spouse will likely use toxic tactics to get you back. Be ready for a fight, and rely on the strength of others to get through it.
Your journey won’t be easy, but it will be important. You deserve a better life, and your spouse deserves to face themselves in the mirror. Get help, and separate from your toxic spouse as soon as possible.
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