Study – The continuation of abuse in divorce
The study below confirms what many divorce lawyers know – abuse in relationships is carried on after separation. It also confirms what many lawyers sense but don’t acknowledge – abuse victims are at a high risk of giving up too much, or everything, just to get away. The ethics rules only require us to have a conversation with our clients about the goals of litigation and too often this is not enough to help clients be able to make better decisions. But how can lawyers help abuse victim-clients move beyond catastrophic thinking?
The answer, of course, is somewhat complex. The Integrative Client-Centered Model (ICCM) provides a framework for working with both easy cases, and these intensely difficult cases. Listening effectively is one answer, which may seem overly simple. It is anything but. Listening to clients, staying in connection, not getting frustrated, not giving up, understanding the real needs, are all a challenge and having a rich model of client counseling is essential to help a lawyer support a client suffering from a history of abuse. The ICCM includes several sub-models to provide a comprehensive set of tools, two of which are Integrative Listening and the Conflict Model. These tools will facilitate an understanding of the psychological dynamics and specific dysfunctions in the client’s logic, which are necessary for the lawyer to be able to help the client find a way through.
For example, there are two primary thinking patterns that clients will utilize. One includes elements such as being overly sequential, other-focused, overly self-reliant, and the use of too-few facts and little context in their narratives. The other is just the opposite. Effective listening and a workable model of dysfunctional thinking patterns are just two ICCM tools.
Michelle L. Toews and Autumn M. Bermea
“I Was Naive in Thinking, ‘I Divorced This Man, He Is Out of My Life’”: A Qualitative Exploration of Post-Separation Power and Control Tactics Experienced by Women
J Interpers Violence 0886260515591278, first published on June 18, 2015 doi:10.1177/0886260515591278
The purpose of this study was to explore women’s perceptions of the power and control tactics used by their former husbands post-separation. A total of 22 in-depth interviews with divorced mothers who reported male-initiated partner abuse (psychological and/or physical) during and/or after their marriages were analyzed. The most common themes to emerge from the narratives were, in order of prevalence, as follows: Using the Children; Using Threats, Harassment, and Intimidation; Emotional Abuse; Economic Abuse; “Stuff to Try to Hurt Me”; Disrupting Her Relationships With the Children; Using the System; and Physical Violence. We also found that the violent and coercive behaviors men used during the marriage continued to influence the women’s perceptions of the power and control their former husbands had over them post-separation. As a result, many of the women described how they gave up everything just to get out of their abusive marriages.