Recently, this blog published a post addressing the legal steps of divorcing a violent spouse. This post will discuss getting a divorce from a spouse who has not acted violently but displays the potential to become violent.
Some spouses are afraid to broach the topic of divorce because they fear their spouse will react violently. In many cases, violence erupts because people lack the skills to cope with their negative or painful emotions.
Do you know the signs of potential violence?
A possibly safe way to approach divorce from a narcissistic, abusive or potentially violent spouse is to understand the signs of escalation (into violence). Seven warning signs that your spouse may be escalating after you state your intention to get a divorce include:
- Threats of violence
- Increased verbal abuse
- Attempts to isolate you
- Extreme possessiveness and jealousy
- Accusations against you (flirting, cheating, etc.)
- Displays of intense anger
- Verbally demeaning you to others
Some potentially abusive spouses will first engage in “love-bombing” after the other spouses announce they want a divorce. For example, your spouse may overwhelm you with flowers or love letters. If this attempt to regain your dependence fails and you continue pursuing divorce, violence may erupt.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Plan your divorce carefully and arrange one or more safe places to go if your fear escalates. Examples include a work friend’s home, a shelter or a family member’s home.
Learning more about South Carolina protective orders and divorce laws can help you find safety. So can an advocate that knows how to put your legal protections in place.