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Emotional and psychological abuse is a pattern of behaviour

This article covers the abrupt termination of a relationship looking at cause and effect between abuser and victim. Most relationships will end where both parties can move ahead and process the past quickly. However, if we consider closure after a relationship ends compared to no closure then we can see how an abrupt termination will harm one or both of the parties. A relationship that already has hidden forms of emotional and psychological abuse or domination and coercive control can easily morph into post-separation abuse after the couple has separated or divorced. There is a list of signs to look out for as well as considerations on how to stay safe. You can read other articles which I have linked in the text below “Emotional Energy Spiral” and Post-Separation Devastation by Dr. Emma Katz. I have included a video that covers some of the abuse tactics.

What Is Closure in a Relationship?

Closure refers to the feeling of peace, understanding, and acceptance that a relationship has ended. When both parties are left in a position of understanding and can emotionally feel safe, financially secure, and have some certainty for the future. Closure helps people to move forward without too much trauma.

No Closure

Perhaps the relationship ended abruptly, then we can be left in a place of uncertainty trying to work out what the hell just happened. 
When there is “no closure” it means that there are loose ends left after a relationship ends because all issues haven’t been resolved. For example, when one partner decides to break off the relationship, it’s natural that the other person wants to know why.

Normally, emotionally mature individuals can explain the reasons why they feel that the relationship is not working for them. The person can talk through things and let the other person down gently.
However, there are some circumstances where for example a person is cheating on a spouse or partner, and at the end of the relationship they just blurt out a statement that causes huge emotional hurt and damage.

If a person just blurts out. “I’ve got something to tell you”, and then he announces “I’m in love with another woman” Well that is quite shocking. 

Negative Effects of Abrupt Termination

Cause and Effect
So let’s look at the cause and effect of the scenario of abrupt termination of a relationship in such circumstances. When one person initiates the breakup, the other party is left confused, anxious, and grieving.

Negative effects.
Firstly, grieving is natural but the effects wreak havoc on your emotional and physical wellbeing. Sleeplessness, sadness, worry, doubt, and heartache are part of the negative effects which can spiral downward into negative emotions. You can read more about the emotional energy spiral here

Everything was moving quickly

For example, I experienced some disturbing and confusing behaviour from my former partner while he was still living in our Spanish home. There was increased alcohol use and the increased consumption of legal cannabis throughout the day. Apart from how he ended our relationship, he wrote out a financial proposal that he sent to me in an email, the letter was an offer of 50% of the value of our home. There was hardly any discussion after the night when we sat until 4 am and I talked about my past and how I might write a book.  Everything was moving quickly, he wanted to sell the property, I instructed the agents.

Within days the first viewing happened. Then a few days later while I was sitting alone in the bedroom where I was staying out of the way. The former partner came into the room, and he shouted angrily, about a phone call from the agent who had told him some feedback from her clients. Something I had said was termed negative and off-putting.

So now he was in my face shouting “Do not fuck about with me, I’m in control, you do as I say or I can throw you out onto the streets.” So now I added fear to the emotions I was feeling. His reaction was way over the top. I immediately sent a text message to the agent, I was angry why would the truth be construed as something negative?

Feeling Intimidated and Threatened

I now knew that my financial security was being threatened. I had seen the angry monster in him before. In FaceTime calls and telephone calls, but this was just too close for comfort. I sent another couple of messages and the agent eventually apologised. Only I was left walking on eggshells not knowing when he would blow up again. Another friend took my map location and she said if anything happened then I should call or text her and she would get the Guardia or the Police to the property.

Post-Separation Abuse

Post-separation abuse is a continuation of abuse that has happened within a relationship. The issue with post-separation abuse is that even after the relationship has ended and the couple are separated the abuse does not end, it just morphs into a different form of power and control and emotional, financial or legal abuse or all three.

A perpetrator will continue to intentionally cause pain and suffering for a victim. Tactics include manipulating, undermining, and shaming their victim. His behaviour towards me was very confusing. I had no idea what he was experiencing in his mind. I could only see this unhealthy cycle of behaviour and how he was now moving on to another relationship very quickly after the abrupt termination of our relationship.

A Pattern of Behaviour.

Emotional and psychological abuse is never one incident it is a pattern of behaviour. I refer to this type of non-physical abuse as hidden forms of abuse because quite often the victim does not understand they are being exposed to abusive behaviours.

Some signs to look out for
Outbursts of anger or rage
Dismissal of your thoughts and feelings
Lack of respect for your personal boundaries
Coercive Controlling behaviour
Invasion of privacy

Long-term abuse in a relationship can have a devastating impact on the victims. When a victim realises that they have been duped, manipulated, betrayed, lied to, future faked and fed false hopes and dreams they can descend into the most negative of emotions. Most individuals that I have spoken with will say that they blamed themselves, they felt worthless, in despair and with no will to live. They lose trust in others.

How to keep safe and protect yourself.

The first thing is to remind yourself that you are not to blame
Plan for the worst: Like I had a friend who had my map location, you should confide in a trusted person or family member and have a way to alert them if you feel threatened or in danger.
Go no contact with your ex-partner. Avoid being alone if possible.
Get legal advice as soon as you can, and know your rights.
Do not be pressured by legal professionals, make sure they understand your situation, and if going through a separation or divorce do not jump straight into a legal conflict.  Be firm and request alternative dispute resolution as a first approach. Understand how post-separation can play out.

Not Just Another Conflicted Divorce Or Separation

In this video I go over some of the situations of how Divorce and Separation are labelled “High Conflict” when the truth is it is usually one high-conflict personality the aggressor and the other party is the person trying to resolve the conflict.

There will be no win:win solution in a conflicted divorce or separation. The only winners in litigations or family court battles are the lawyers who demand high fees and expenses.


Frequently in current practice, cases of post-separation fueled by an abuser’s obsession with harming their ex-partner are mis-labeled as ‘high conflict cases’.

Read more about Coercive Control and Post-Separation Abuse