The idea that what happens in a marriage stays in a marriage is not always true for spousal abuse victims. Issues that are prevalent in your marriage can continue to haunt you even after a divorce. You may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of complications in your marriage.
Here’s what you should know about the effects of PTSD after a divorce:
You may feel like you’re not the same person after a bad marriage
Abuse takes on many forms in a marriage: Insults, physical altercations, rape, stalking, bruising, drug or alcohol consumption, gaslighting and stealing (the list can go on). Whatever your situation, it will change who you are and how you deal with the world. PTSD from spousal abuse can cause you to fear what you do, who you’re around or even where you are, for example.
Stepping away from a toxic relationship is a healthy move for abuse victims. Divorcing an abusive spouse allows you to regain your sense of self and know what you want from life again.
Post-divorce trauma can make new relationships harder
PTSD can affect not only your daily life but damage your ability to embrace a new love and remarry. Marriage with an abusive spouse may cause you to react differently when stepping into a new relationship. PTSD can cause you to question the intent of a new spouse. It may make you afraid of physical stimulation. You may even become afraid to get close to anyone because you don’t want the pain of being let down.
Post-divorce therapy (or even therapy during divorce) can help you get through the trauma of a bad relationship and move on.
You shouldn’t have to stay in a marriage with an abusive spouse. You should know what options you have when seeking a divorce. Help is always available.