A Domestic Abuser May Use Children to Control Your Relationship


Physical violence and sexual assault usually characterize domestic violence. However, other forms of abusive behavior such as verbal abuse and emotional manipulation are equally as destructive. There are many methods an abuser can employ to control their victims. To maintain this control, abusers can even resort to using children.

How children are used as means to control your relationship

Typically in an abusive set-up, what abusers really want out of the relationship is to exert their power and control. An abuser can use your children as a means to manipulate you into submission even without physically harming them.

Say, for example, you recognize the abuse and are planning to leave the relationship. The abuser may guilt you into thinking about the well-being of your child. They may argue about their role as the child’s parent. They may even bring out the issue of financial sustenance. This is if you’re unable to provide for your child’s needs without your partner’s support. Alternatively, the abuser could threaten to take your child away for good.

In another scenario, the abuser could also directly manipulate the child and turn them against you. By doing this, not only were they able to secure the child’s submission, but they also stopped you from leaving.

Escaping an abusive relationship

Careful and intentional planning is key in escaping an abusive relationship. Maintain your relationship with your children. Help them understand the situation in order to execute a proper exit plan with them.

For court cases, it is important to note that documenting injuries taken from domestic attacks is beneficial for your cause. Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 680 allows an individual to ask the court for a temporary restraining order, but can only be granted if the court finds that due to emotional abuse, immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will occur if the order is not signed.

Though domestic abuse is never an easy circumstance to withdraw from, especially with the involvement of a child, it is important to understand that there are always resources available and that an escape from this kind of relationship is never impossible.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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