Manipulative Tactics as a form of Domestic Abuse
Manipulation and Domestic Violence Attorney Advising Clients in Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Domestic abuse is a prevailing issue across our communities, and as we are required to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of domestic violence have significantly increased.
One doesn’t have to be physically injured to be the victim of domestic violence. There are many forms of domestic abuse, including physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual – the key all have in common that makes them the abuse is the manipulation of one partner by the other at their core.
- Cyber Harassment
- Criminal Restraint
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- False imprisonment
- Criminal mischief
- Contempt of a restraining order
- Crimes involving risk of physical harm to those protected by the 1991 New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act
As you can see, in addition to the more obvious forms of domestic violence like assault, behavior that attempts to control, manipulate, or threaten are chargeable offenses under New Jersey law.
Subtle Control as Domestic Violence
But what does this look like in the home? Below are some subtle signs of domestic violence that create a culture of control inside a relationship, slowly stripping one’s power and eventually leading to mental, emotional, and even physical insecurity:
- One central tactic that domestic abusers will use is to isolate you from loved ones and external relationships in your life so they are your sole influence and the only voice in your head other than your own. When there are fewer perspectives providing you information about what is occurring, you will be easier to control. If a spouse keeps you from working, offering you an allowance to keep you in the home, this is also intended to isolate you from the empowerment of income-generation and external influence and is a form of domestic abuse.
- Everyone wants to feel belonging. As such, an abuser will tell you and show you that you are not worthy of their love, separating you from your own self-love and self-loyalty. Subtly or explicitly, they will put you down, making you question yourself and tricking you into believing that you have to change to merit another’s love.
- Gaslighting is a subtle and dangerous form of mental abuse in which one person uses manipulative tactics to convince the other person that they cannot trust themselves, making them completely controllable by their abuser. Some forms of gaslighting are lying, blame, projection, and insincere generosity. The use of these tactics drive a victim into self-doubt, a state at which they can be much more easily controlled.
- A partner who threatens revenge if you leave is engaging in abuse. These threats that create a sense of being trapped, whether it be emotionally or physically, are domestic violence.
- When one partner uses money to control the dynamics, or actions within a relationship or withholds shared money in separate accounts, this is considered financial abuse.
Getting out of a manipulative relationship
If you feel you are in a subtly or overtly abusive relationship, there are steps you can take to get out.
- Spend time daily participating in self-development practices such as listening to self-help podcasts, practicing affirmations, meditating, or practicing yoga. An abuser will cut down your self-esteem in order to keep you on a tight leash, and in order to break this cycle of mental and emotional control, you must have another influence reminding you of your inherent worth.
Have a support network
- Open up to friends, family, or co-workers with whom you can confide about your unhappiness and concerns. Having a sense of being in a community outside of your relationship is essential for your safety and ultimate sovereignty.
Protect your money
- Privately open a separate bank account or begin saving money in a hidden place. Even if you are expected to hand over your earnings to your spouse, it is important that you have some financial capital to support you in your transition. Look for ways to earn a small income if you don’t currently have a job while you build your skills.
Contact a Domestic Violence hotline for advice and to develop a plan.
The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 at 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233).
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233.
Seek the advice of a Wall Township Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, our family law attorneys serve clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all matters of domestic violence.
Our approach holds their safety at the center of our process, and we are equipped to inform and empower their right to a safe and protected living environment and a thriving, free life.