Being bullied is not something that only happens to kids. Bullying can also occur between two adults as well. This can happen when an intimate relationship begins to sour. For some people, the bullying behavior can become so bad that they are afraid to initiate marital dissolution proceedings for fear of the reaction of the other person.
Bullies act the way they do for various reasons but, in the case of a possible marital dissolution, it is often a tactic that is used to retain control of a situation that is quickly spiraling out of their control. A bully might also be trying to cope with their fear and sense of loss by bullying their spouse.
How to Deal with a Bully
1. Set boundaries
Be clear about how the bully should conduct himself/herself with you. Tell the bully to refrain from using abusive language to you, showing up unannounced or threatening you. If the bully violates your boundaries, write it down. Keep of record of dates, times and circumstances.
2. Enlist a professional
Hiring a family law attorney who is experienced in dealing with heated marital dissolutions can be invaluable. Your attorney will empower you by providing you with tools. When a bully refuses to respect boundaries and continues to engage in bullying behavior, an attorney can harness the power of the courts or other third parties to stop the bully. Having them on your side can often reduce the incidences of bullying.
3. Communicate only in writing
Putting communication into writing via text or email serves two purposes. First, it limits the bully's ability to engage you. Communicating using only text messages and/or email provides you a layer of protection against being physically within the same space together. Second, it creates a record for the court. While individual testimony can vary, a written record provides strong documentation of the behavior. Also, consider a child welfare log that is exchanged with the children that can document the bullying comments and conduct indirectly.
4. Keep it real with a confidante
An ex who turns into a bully during your marital dissolution is also the type of person that might try to manipulate you. During a marital dissolution, emotions can run high -- even if you are the person who instigated it. Choose a confidante who is willing to listen to you but who also will not let you fall prey to the manipulative ploys of your ex. The best confidante is often a counselor. While friends will want to be supportive, it can be draining for a friend to listen to the play by play of a marital dissolution. Talking with a counselor can be an excellent way to process through your emotions without risking information getting back to your ex.
Marital dissolution has many challenges. Make sure you understand your options and get the support you need. Talking to a marital dissolution attorney can give you the peace of mind you need.