Emotional abuse: Custody, Allegations, Everything We Know

Emotional abuse: Custody, Allegations, Everything We Know


Emotional abuse is an insidious form of abuse to control an alleged victim by discrediting, isolating, and silencing them. It is difficult to recognize emotional abuse as it might not leave any physical mark. It may take years to recuperate from the emotional and psychological damage inflicted on the victim of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is inflicted with the intention of demoralizing or ridiculing a person's self-esteem and confidence.

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The cycle of abuse is often extended over a period of time, and the alleged victim may continue to endure the abusive relationship because of the threat of violence, physical or sexual assault. Emotional abuse often arises in family law cases but can occur in any relationship, including co-workers and friends. Keep reading to learn more about emotional abuse, its implications in the context of child custody, what suing someone for emotional abuse entails, the police's role, and how to protect yourself from allegations of abuse.

Can a parent lose custody for emotional abuse?

In addition to paying compensation for damages related to emotional abuse on an alleged victim, emotional abuse can be an important factor in child custody, child support, and visitation matters. An emotionally abusive parent can lose custody of a child if they are accused of mistreating, ridiculing, or taunting the spouse. Also, the minor may have been threatened or punished by a controlling parent, leading to loss of custody.

The alleged victim's parent must prove her case to the court. If the mistreatment or emotional abuse comes from both the parents, a family member or foster parents will be designated by the court to take custody of the child. Child custody with emotional abuse can cause lasting damage to the psychological and emotional health of a child. Alternatively, child custody evaluators and guardian ad litem may be appointed by the court to review the case in the child's best interest.

Can you sue someone for emotional abuse?

You can sue someone for emotional abuse for compensation if you can demonstrate that the abuse has been ongoing over an extended period of time, resulting in emotional and psychological damage or imbalance.

You can pursue a personal injury civil claim for compensation in the form of repayment for the cost of counseling, restitution for any financial losses or damaged property, including compensation for the emotional pain and suffering caused. Additional charges may be included if someone is convicted of domestic violence.

Can you call the police for verbal abuse?

Verbal abuse in the form of a threat to physically hurt you, your child, or someone else may be considered a crime. Alleged victims of abuse can report to the police and file a criminal complaint. It can subsequently lead to arrest and trial in a criminal court resulting in conviction.

Can an emotionally abusive person change?

Just what exactly drives a person to become an abuser can be a thorny subject to pursue. There are those who claim that once an abuser will always remain an abuser. For instance, it is not unusual for people to find themselves in a torn relationship with a long history of one partner abusing another. While a short-term change in the form of promises, supportive treatment, or confession of guilt is possible, it is common for abusers to fall back into old patterns and continue with their abusive ways.

Numerous state-approved abuse intervention programs help and teach abusers, primarily men, inculcate values such as patience, respect, peace, love, and empathy for their fellow mates and companions. These programs help question the premise behind many social norms prevalent in society, such as "male privilege" and "male supremacy" that perpetuate emotional abuse. They also trace various forms of abuse in early childhood, such as exposure to familial and school violence.

How to protect yourself from allegations of abuse?

Sometimes you may face allegations of abuse based on false claims and not supported by facts with the intent to harm your reputation. The court may issue a temporary protective order or restraining order against you with just an allegation of verbal and emotional abuse. Depending on your situation, you may consider the following course of action to protect you from any false allegation from a child, colleague, or former partner who may be steeped in bias or have vested self-interest.

  • Gather any evidence that disapproves the allegations made, character witnesses, and closely observe the temporary protective order.
  • Contact an experienced and qualified lawyer to ensure that your confession is not misconstrued or a wrongful piece of evidence used against you.
  • Be extremely wary of what you write in the form of text or email. It is easy for your words to be read out of context by the alleged victim of abuse.
  • Keep your cool, and don't be baited into fights or arguments, especially when things get heated or flare up during custody.

The bottom line

In contrast to physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse is an insidious form of abuse that is difficult to recognize. In many cases, the alleged victim of emotional abuse may continue to endure the abusive relationship through threats of violence and other coercive means. Emotional abuse is typically inflicted with the intention of demoralizing or ridiculing an alleged victim's self-esteem and confidence.

In the United States, there are many state-funded programs to educate offenders and persons responsible for emotional abuse in understanding the role of abuse and violence in their lives. While these programs may not guarantee a changed and transformed person, they provide a shift in perspective to reflect closely on the choices they make. Ironically, many abusers often describe how they became the perpetrators of the same cycle of abuse and exploitative social norms that they once suffered as a child or adolescent.

But this is not to suggest that you should silently endure emotional abuse and pain at the cost of your self-esteem and dignity. In many instances, an emotional abuser will only want you to play the victim as he might do in his other relationships. Never believe in his sweet talk and unrealistic promises; move on and stride ahead.

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