Guilt Manipulation, Is It Abuse?

A man was unable to hold a job, had a wife and two small children. He suffered from depression and thus his reasoning for not being employed.  (By the way, there are studies that show that working and being productive counteracts depression.)  He was inconsiderate, self-centered, and nasty.  Several times during the marriage, he threatened to physically harm himself.  His wife, frightened for him, would call doctors and police to ensure he would not hurt himself.

In between these threats, he would become violent and menacing endangering the family.  Rather than call the Police, she would have him removed or ask him to leave.  He would then tell the children he could not see them because Mom was not allowing it.  The children would get upset.  He would tell the wife he was going to hurt himself.  Mom would feel guilty and allow him back. This happened over and over again.  The violence and menacing behavior could certainly qualify as domestic violence.  The guilt and mental manipulation is “abuse” but may not rise to the level of domestic violence to obtain a restraining order.  One must meet a burden of proof to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. This certainly is a case of a toxic relationship where divorce would be a reasonable result and provide benefit.

If you have experienced this type of situation or know someone who has, please seek the help of a professional to have tools to extract you and your children from this incredibly unhealthy situation and cycle.  A good lawyer and a good therapist can help.  This pattern, of course, also applied to the Wife manipulating the Husband.  There is help both legally and psychologically to move to a healthier, happier, more peaceful existence.

For a free half hour consultation call Helfand & Associates at 973-428-0800, 0ur experienced matrimonial attorneys, handling all aspects of Family Law.

Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney, a Mediator and Panelist in the Morris and Essex County ESP Programs.  The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at [email protected]. We handle cases in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Hudson, Union, Somerset, Sussex and other New Jersey counties.