There are people in Minnesota whose spouses employ such subtle abuse tactics that neither party may be aware, exactly, of what is happening. Spousal emotional abuse often manifests in the victim a feeling that something is wrong along with an inability to pinpoint what that somethings is. The victim may experience feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. Although emotional abuse and physical abuse are quite different, they are also similar in some respects. The victim is made fearful and forced to alter behaviors so his or her partner can be happy.
It may also make victims feel like there is something wrong with their perceptions, like they are going crazy. The victim may be faced with doubt regarding what is happening. Common signs of emotional abuse include a forced isolation from friends, family and support networks, use of sex for power or control, frequent or constant criticism, accusations of infidelity and an imbalance of decision-making power with one or the other spouse.
Individuals who employ methods of emotional abuse on their spouses are often using tactics similar to those used on prisoners of war to establish psychological control. The abuser may seek to monopolize the perceptions of the victim, weaken the physical and mental abilities of the victim, enforce trivial demands or degrade the victim.
Married individuals may consider divorce for any number of reasons, with emotional abuse being among the most difficult. In a case where one spouse is being emotionally victimized by the other, an attorney may be able to help by pointing out instances of possible domestic violence or drafting and filing a petition for divorce. In the interim, it might be appropriate to seek a protective order if it seems that the abuse could become physical.