Domestic Violence Divorce -
How Abusers Use the System to Invalidate
Domestic Violence Survivors

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


Victims of domestic abuse reach out to the system for help in stopping the abuse perpetrated upon them. This can involve both healthcare and law enforcement. Yet, what actually happens, more often than most people know, is that these so-called “helpers” can be used to perpetuate domestic violence “legally” during divorce.

In healthcare, it’s the psychologists and psychiatrists. These healthcare providers are frequently manipulated by abusers to aid them in establishing false claims about the domestic abuse survivors that they batter and control.

Psychiatric Diagnosis as Batterer’s Club in Domestic Violence Divorce

Almost daily, I am sought out by a domestic violence survivor seeking help from being falsely accused of being mentally ill. In many of the cases, the mental healthcare diagnostics appear to be grossly improper.

But that doesn’t prevent a court from making determinations about the accused. In many of these cases, the battered mothers (and abused fathers) are faced with losing custody of and, in some cases, even the essential moments of simple human contact with their children.

Once judicial decisions are made, remedies can be added on and on...with no regard for the accuracy of the original foundation underlying the initial judicial decision. We have seen domestic violence victims prevented from having unsupervised or any access to their abused children because of a clinical psychiatric diagnosis.

The sad thing here is that those directly negatively impacted, like the protective parent and children, are unaware of this ploy during its set-up and ultimate execution. Often they go along with certain procedures trusting in their sanity and hoping for justice to prevail. Then, the day comes when they awaken to the fact that they have been re-victimized by their abuser’s manipulation of the psychologists and psychiatrists.

Psychiatric Re-victimization To What End

Now you’d think that if the batterer is getting a divorce and seeking to move on with their lives, then the victim’s declared mental health status would be of no interest to him/her. Wrong...completely wrong!

By establishing for “the record” that the domestic violence survivor is “crazy,” the abuser leverages their ability to regain and maintain control over the family…and most importantly, control over themselves, or at least control over their public image. Many people will tell you that the legal psychiatrics of a case are nothing more than to save face for the batterer.

The abuser seeks to walk away looking good and certainly not being an abuser. To this end, they must make the victim to be “bad”...“wrong”...“crazy.” Essentially, the abuser enlists (directly or indirectly) the healthcare provider to discredit the victim in order to invalidate who she/he is and what she/he stands for with respect to being a domestic abuse survivor.

If you are a domestic violence survivor and have been threatened with losing custody of your children and the credibility of you mental health status, seek to understand how batterers manipulate healthcare providers to establish false claims. And as you learn about the reality of what’s before you, find a credible professional to help you prevent this life-changing destructive legal psychiatric ploy. The sooner you become proactive in preventing the establishment of false claims, the easier you can prevent them from defining your life and limiting your liberties.

For information about legal psychological abuse and domestic violence divorce read Legal Psychiatric Abuse: Signs and Prevention www.preventabusiverelationships.com/crazy_making.php and get Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

This series of eInsights is presented to you by Partners in Prevention, a nonprofit organization. If you find this eInsight article useful, we invite you to contribute to the maintenance and growth of the Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.EndDomesticAbuse.org



Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.