No one should deny that domestic abuse is a significant problem here in Florida, as it is in the rest of the United States. Approximately 3 million cases of domestic abuse are reported annually — but that is just the tip of the iceberg, as countless more incidents are never reported.

Without trivializing anyone’s claims, it’s also important to consider that not all reports of abuse are substantiated. Then, too, some of these reports are not for alleged physical violence. Reports can also allege far more nebulous acts of emotional or psychological abuse.

When a fist meets flesh and leaves a bruise, that’s a clear indicator that something went awry in a marriage or relationship. But when an alleged victim claims to have been emotionally abused, what does that exactly mean?

Between some couples, a rousing argument is commonplace, with harsh words flung out from both sides. It can be challenging to determine when a line was crossed between normal marital strife and emotionally abusive harm. One partner’s words may unintentionally wound the other without that partner ever understanding the damage they inflicted.

The fact that an especially heated verbal argument could escalate into a criminal charge is frightening. But these situations occur far more often than one would think.

True emotional abuse that attempts to restrict or manipulate an intimate partner or spouse is a real problem in relationships. But it is also possible for one partner to have an emotional outburst that leaves the other devastated without any actions ever rising to the level of abuse.

Because perception is not reality, you could find yourself charged with domestic abuse after a heated verbal argument. Charges such as this can be life-altering, so it is imperative to begin building a solid defense immediately.