Family Violence Divorce
How the Replay Button Aggravates Child Abuse During Custody Disputes
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
The next worst thing to being abused is retelling the story over and over, again and again in the context of a custody dispute. Of course, the operative words here are “over and over” “again and again.”
If you think you are doing your child a service by letting his/her voice be heard in your custody battle, think again. Not about their voice factored into the equation, but about the impact of telling his/her story, over and over again.
Hearing Your Abused Child’s Voice
It’s one thing to hear your child’s voice and another to let one’s voice be heard. Each time your child re-tells his/her story of family violence, the memory enlivens the experience again.
Now with repeated exposure—that is, repeatedly enlivening the trauma of domestic violence—with multiple people over an extended period time, disaster sets in. And the child can wear down psychologically from the inside out.
Is it the repetition of the trauma without therapeutic intervention? Or, is it the polarization of the child? Or, is it both?
The Memory Is in the Muscle
You’ve heard the expression, ‘the memory is in the muscle.’ It suggests that the experience is stored in the tissue. What actually is happening psychophysiologically is the cognitive imagery elicits the affective experiential counterpart. And your little one’s nightmare comes rushing in...uncontrollably.
Now, let’s make this even worse... Imagine that you are a young child and your nightmare comes rushing in and you go to your abusive parent’s home and are punished for letting your nightmare leak out.
The Polarized Abused Child
This child longs to tell and longs not to tell…for he/she knows the price to be paid. This is huge for the abused child, who deals with not only picking a parent, but also exposing the family violence dragons.
And moreover, this child encounters his/her internal traumatic flood each time he/she is expected to go through this with another helping professional. Years into protracted divorce litigation, we find the fractured child or adolescent.
Voice Solutions for You and Your Abused Child
If you are in a custody dispute that requires your child to disclose family violence, consider the help you can obtain through organizations that become your child’s voice. There are entities that serve to take your child’s message to the places it needs to be heard without your child having to relive his/her nightmare over and over, again and again.
For more information on domestic violence divorce visit www.domesticviolencedivorce.com and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. is a seasoned psychologist and consulting expert on domestic abuse intervention and prevention. Copyright 2010, Jeanne King, Ph.DThis 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.