Divorce Therapist Los Angeles Linda Engel on important divorce topics
Most people would agree that marriage is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. In other words, it would be foolish to give up on an otherwise healthy, supportive and loving relationship just because of some tension or disagreement between spouses. The wise know that all relationships will ultimately contain some difficulties and times of disillusionment, but that working through these issues with a mature attitude and sometimes professional help can be very fruitful for the couple.
Relationships do change over time. They deepen and sometimes the early passion, bonding and fun can give way to the “business” of life. Children, in-laws, work, finances, health and home can sometimes override some of the initial excitement and wonder of finally connecting with “the one”. In general if people are willing to hold to their original commitment, work through problems and maintain respect for each other and themselves, they can get get through their difficulties and are usually glad that they did.
On the other hand, there are certain situations that are unhealthy enough that it is advisable to end the relationship. This is when there is any sort of abuse, particulary physical abuse or domestic violence.
However, this is a very complex issue.
Most people don’t understand how someone could be involved in a relationship that contains these sorts of problems or why they would stay. The reasons are many. One reason that people, most commonly women, don’t leave is that for a woman to leave a batterer is a very dangerous thing. It is typically the most common time that a woman can be killed in a dv relationship.
There is also the issue of ambivalence that the woman goes through because of the fact that even though she does understand that it is not healthy or positive to have a spouse or partner who hits you, she sometimes believes that it is temporary or that it is her fault. She may believe that it is due to certain stresses that he is going through and make excuses for him. She may have seen that sort of behavior modeled for her with her own mother.
Also, if the victim of the abuse happens to be a man, he is often ashamed and loathe to get help for fear of being ridiculed for being in the situation.
People who are involved in relationships where there is abuse are often filled with self doubt and make excuses for the abuser. They often lack the faith or resources to survive on their own. Emotional, psychological or financial dependence are common reasons that people remain in unhealthy relationships. Distorted thinking, cultural or social pressure, dictums such as “If you are alone, you are a failure” or “You are too old/fat/thin/uneducated/unsophisticated, etc. to make it on your own” or “You will never find anyone else”. “If I’m divorced, people will think it was my fault:” “It is better for the kids”.
When a relationship is destructive, it is appropriate to end it, albeit not an easy thing to do. Support is an important element. Family, friends, a domestic violence agency or a therapist are options. And relationships that are oppressive or emotionally abusive can be very destructive as well. Love shouldn’t hurt!
Linda Engel is a Divorce Therapist Los Angeles, please contact her for a consultation