The Essential Keys to Healing Verbal
Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“I need to tell you that you’re not okay, because deep inside I’m not okay.” This understanding is essential to healing verbal emotional abuse in intimate relationships.

If you live in an abusive relationship, you know this unspoken interaction message like the back of your hand. What you and your partner may not be aware of is that the “put-downs” so freely delivered spring forward from a place of vulnerability, not power.

Even so, the impact of these little dirty emotionally abusive darts hurt. And that psychological pain builds over the months and years with more and more layers of blows.

How can you and your partner interrupt the cycle of emotional psychological abuse? What can be done to break this silent psychological warfare within and between the two of you?

Separating YOU from the Emotional Verbal Abuse

In the moment that the verbal emotional psychological abuse comes forward, step back. Do not personalize the message of the verbal abuse because it probably has nothing to do with you.

Oh yes, on some level, you certainly can talk yourself into believing it is about you because it may be fitting contextually with respect to your life. However, you must realize that it is inspired from something totally outside of you.

Recognizing the Abuser’s Vulnerability

Most people that work with batterers will tell you that their abusive gestures typically arise out of vulnerability, not invincibility. It is as though they are having a moment of not feeling okay either in themselves and/or relative to you. Instead of acknowledging their inner wounds, they reflexively throw a dart to shift the energy toward you and keep the rawness of their own personal inward pain at bay.

Now, if you are on the receiving end of this verbal emotional abuse, see your battering partner as he/she truly is in the moment of their being abusive. Let yourself momentarily feel his/her compromised experience over your own shattered feelings. And then, when you shift back to your own psychological pain, you will recognize that you both have a wide array of options that can move each of you and your relationship forward.

Interventions for Emotional Psychological Abuse

Ultimately, if you seek to break the cycle of emotional verbal abuse, bring professional expertise to the table with you and your abusive partner because the rest of the work requires some objectivity that you and your partner most likely will not have.

Be mindful that the success of any intervention will depend on effective facilitation of individual and interactive awareness. Both you and your partner can be guided in recognizing and acknowledging the underlying psychological dynamics inspiring verbal emotional abuse. And alternative actions that enhance your relationship—rather than destroy your intimate connection—can become your relationship guidelines.

For moreinformation about spousal emotional abuse, visit Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide recognize, end and heal from spousal emotional abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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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.