Lonely young woman feeling depressed and stressed sitting in the dark bedroom, Negative emotion and mental health concept

It is easy to think “that could never happen to me” or “what is happening to me is not that serious,” but the truth is 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in New Mexico will be a victim of domestic violence or abuse at some point in their lives. 

This abuse can take various forms, ranging from physical assault to psychological warfare, but the most common form of abuse is emotional abuse. Manipulating, controlling, and undermining a partner or child’s emotional well-being and sense of self-worth may not leave physical scars, but it can have severe and lasting consequences on the victim’s mental health, leading to conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

At Matteucci Family Law, Bob Matteucci has helped countless victims of emotional abuse and other forms of domestic violence sever the ties binding themselves to their abuser, and protect themselves and their loved ones from further harm. 

What is Emotional Abuse? 

Emotional abuse refers to a pattern of harmful behaviors and tactics employed by one individual against someone they have a close relationship with, such as a romantic partner, child, or other family connection. It occurs in thousands of New Mexico homes, regardless of the age, sex, marital status, or income of the people involved. 

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse primarily targets a person’s emotional well-being and psychological state. It is a form of manipulation and control that can have long-lasting and detrimental effects on the victim.

Common forms of emotional abuse include:

  • Verbal Abuse: The use of harsh, insulting, or belittling words to degrade and humiliate the victim. This may involve name-calling, ridicule, or constant criticism.
  • Manipulation: Controlling behavior through deceit, coercion, or subtle tactics to influence and dominate the victim’s thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Isolation: Restricting the victim’s social interactions and isolating them from friends, family, or support networks, creating a sense of dependency on the abuser.
  • Gaslighting: Distorting or denying reality to make the victim question their own perceptions, memories, and sanity. This undermines the victim’s confidence and self-esteem.
  • Humiliation: Deliberately demeaning the victim in public or private settings, diminishing their self-worth and confidence.
  • Control: Exerting excessive control over various aspects of the victim’s life, such as finances, daily activities, or personal choices, fostering dependence on the abuser.
  • Withholding Affection: Refusing to show love, support, or affection as a way to manipulate and punish the victim.

This abuse is often easy to hide from others because it leaves no visible scars. But its impact on the victim’s mental and emotional well-being can be profound, leading to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a range of other psychological issues. 

Emotional abuse often occurs or increases during family law disputes. Abusers lash out because they realize getting a divorce or losing custody of their children will take away the power they hold over their victim, and may out them as an abusers. 

How Emotional Abuse May Affect Your Divorce in New Mexico 

New Mexico is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not have to tell the judge why you and your partner are separating. It is not necessary for you to disclose the fact that your partner is emotionally abusive, and doing so will not help you “win” your divorce.

However, emotional abuse is something you will want to discuss with your attorney. Seasoned advocates like Bob Matteucci have tangled with enough abusers to know that traditional negotiation tactics often do not work with them, and a mediated or collaborative divorce is out of the question. It’s time to play hardball to get you out of the situation you are in and help you move forward with your life. 

Emotional Abuse’s Impact on Child Custody Disputes 

All too often, children are those who are hurt the most when domestic violence and abuse occur. Whether they are the victims of abuse, or innocent observers, the scars domestic abuse leaves never fade. 

The best way to protect children from emotional abuse is to separate them from the abuser. This is easier said than done in a state like New Mexico which prefers to give parents joint legal child custody and ample time with their children, however, our legal system takes allegations of abuse very seriously. 

If the court refuses to cut your abusive spouse out of your child’s life entirely, it may be possible to persuade the judge that supervised or restricted visitation is best. Having a neutral third party observe your child’s interactions with their other parent can be a way to protect them if you cannot get sole custody. 

It is important to note that an abuser’s duty to provide financial support to his or her children does not end, even if he or she loses all parenting rights. Financial concerns should not stop you from taking steps to protect yourself and your children.

Take Action to Protect You and Your Children from Abuse While Your Family Law Case is Pending 

In order to protect yourself and your children from abuse while your divorce is pending it may be necessary to seek an Order of Protection, commonly called a restraining order. 

Attorney Bob Matteucci can help you get an Order of Protection that will prevent your abuser from threatening, harassing, or escalating their emotional abuse to physical abuse. The abuser will be forbidden from contacting you or being in physical proximity to you, your children, your place of work or residence, and your children’s school or activities. If your abuser violates the Order, he or she may be arrested. 

If you are not quite ready to take legal action, the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence can share information on victim support services in your local area. If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911. 

Serving New Mexico Families with Dignity & Compassion

If you or your child are the victims of emotional abuse, you are not alone. Domestic violence and abuse impact thousands of families across the state of New Mexico. And you do not have to face the challenges before you alone. Attorney Bob Matteucci is here for you. He will handle your case with care, and treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve as you navigate the legal system together. Please contact Bob today to discuss your case.