Is it Really High Conflict Divorce or Post Separation Abuse?

Some {couples} can divorce amicably, some can divorce bumpy however tolerably, and a few undergo what’s societally known as a “excessive battle” divorce. In response to, excessive battle is outlined as “divorces the place one or each spouses interact in unfavourable behaviors to deliberately derail the method or inflict pointless emotional ache on each other.”  

Nonetheless, if one partner makes use of coercive techniques to realize extended energy over their ex-spouse, “excessive battle” is probably not the right labeling; it might be thought-about Submit Separation Abuse. That is an rising label within the psychological well being discipline and is changing into obvious in authorized settings. 

What’s Submit Separation Abuse?

Submit Separation Abuse is outlined as the continued, willful sample of intimidation of a former intimate associate together with authorized abuse, financial abuse, threats and endangerment to kids, isolation and discrediting and harassment and stalking (Spearman, Okay. J., Hardesty, J. L., & Campbell, J. (2023). Submit- separation abuse: An idea evaluation. Journal of Superior Nursing, 79, 1225–1246). 

Submit Separation Abuse is taken into account intimate associate violence (IPV) and never solely harms former spouses however shared kids as effectively. Intimate associate violence could be outlined as bodily, sexual, or psychological hurt by a present or former intimate associate or partner (Nationwide Institute of Justice). 

Some types of Submit Separation Abuse are: 

  • Abusing the court docket system by submitting frivolous motions. Abusive spouses are extraordinarily litigious; submitting motions on the drop of a hat to intimidate, coerce and harass their sufferer into relenting on a difficulty, or to make authorized threats as a present of energy. 
  • Abusive spouses could search a change in custody that realistically is unfeasible, simply as a way of revenge and punishment to the sufferer. Both means, the sufferer is nearly at all times left with authorized charges, break day work, and emotional depletion to battle every battle.  
  • Abusive spouses could delay baby help funds or withhold cost for court docket ordered objects corresponding to extracurricular actions or well being associated points to create hardship for the sufferer.  
  • Abusive spouses typically threaten and harass verbally, digitally, and bodily to intimidate and demean their sufferer. Repeatedly sending disparaging emails, bullying texts, or bodily making their presence identified (standing in entrance of their associate at a baseball recreation) so their associate by no means feels protected are all indicators of coercive techniques.  
  • Abusive spouses could attempt to achieve favor with others within the household or neighborhood by manipulating the narrative (gaslighting) in an try to make their sufferer look “loopy.”  
  • Abusive spouses don’t cooperatively and collaboratively co-parent. They’ll do the other or present a separate algorithm for his or her house to undermine the sufferer’s values. 

Excessive Battle Divorce vs. Submit Separation Abuse

Man standing over woman who is scared

What’s the distinction between excessive battle divorce and Submit Separation Abuse? Excessive battle typically includes each companions difficult one another, preventing in court docket and out, with each being equally chargeable for the battle. Submit Separation Abuse is usually one associate utilizing energy and management to abuse the authorized system, present false narratives and destroy the sufferer who should at all times be on the defensive.  

Household court docket professionals and psychological well being professionals should work collectively to acknowledge the abusive patterns and supply safeguards to guard victims and their kids. Frequent Submit Separation Abuse patterns in household court docket seem like: 

  • Failure to pay baby help or comply with a court docket order.  
  • Utilizing manipulative, coercive management language and conduct to hurt sufferer associate, not work collaboratively. 
  • Frivolous motions filed. 
  • Historical past of home violence or coercive management within the conjugal relationship. 

In response to the Washington College College of Regulation, “when the abuser takes the sufferer to court docket, typically repeatedly, every encounter could traumatize her once more. She is compelled to defend herself in opposition to her abuser, seem in the identical room with him, and hearken to him accuse her of wrongdoing or inadequacy. Moreover, as a result of the court docket system largely doesn’t acknowledge or perceive post-separation intimate and judicial terrorism, the very discussion board through which the sufferer seeks security and justice could deny her each, retraumatizing her in one more means.” 

Outcomes of Submit Separation Abuse

Male with emotional trauma on couch in therapy

The emotional and bodily consequence to the sufferer of Submit Separation Abuse is traumatic and should be dealt with with care and compassion with the assistance of certified legislation professionals, household, pals, and a licensed therapist who understands the coercive nature of the sort of IPV.  

Usually, victims really feel: 

  • Depleted emotionally and financially. 
  • Caught on this sample. 
  • Traumatized to make any resolution. 
  • Mistrusting and insecure of themselves and everybody round them. 
  • Heartbroken for his or her kids whom they share with an abusive ex. 
  • Petrified of the subsequent transfer their abusive ex could make. 
  • Bombarded with negativity and unable to see the great on the earth. 
  • Misunderstood by household and pals. 

Divorce is troublesome sufficient, with out having to face abuse after separation, particularly when kids are concerned. Submit Separation Abuse is about coercive management and energy over the sufferer, and is occurring in courtrooms at present.  

The GoodTherapy registry could be useful to you to discover a therapist when you’ve got skilled a excessive battle divorce or Submit Separation Abuse. There are millions of therapists listed who would like to stroll with you in your journey. Discover the help you want at present.


Spearman, Okay. J., Hardesty, J. L., & Campbell, J. (2023). Submit- separation abuse: An idea evaluation. Journal of Superior Nursing, 79, 1225–1246 https://doi. org/10.1111/jan.1531 

(n.d.). Overview of intimate associate violence. Nationwide Institute of Justice. content=Historicallypercent20calledpercent20percent22domesticpercent20violencepercent2Cpercent22,formerpercent20intimatepercent20partnerpercent20orpercent20spouse 

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