According to the American Bar Association, children tend to become more attached to an abusive parent than a non-abusive one. This is referred to as “traumatic bonding”. This is a common scenario where children form unhealthy yet strong bonds to their abusive parents as a survival technique. This type of behavior, where an individual becomes attached to their abuser, is more commonly referred to as “Stockholm Syndrome”.
When people hear about Stockholm syndrome, they might think of an adult female victim who has become attached to her male attacker. This is the most popular example, however, this syndrome also occurs between children and their parents or other relatives who have acted as their abusers. It’s even more likely for a child to become attached to an abuser, considering how much more vulnerable and susceptible to adult influence children are as compared to adults.
If you feel that your spouse has abused your child/children, but is gaining child custody based on what the children say they want, you should speak to your attorney about your concerns and gain his/her legal insight. Realize that you must have sound evidence that your spouse was an abuser and provide proof that you would be a better parent for your children to live with in order to gain custody.