Psychology of Abusive Relationships
Why Youíre Never Enough
in the Eyes of an Abuser
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you try to give or to love in an abusive relationship, itís never enough? You are never enough in an abuserís eyes, and they go out of their way to insure that you are aware of this ugly fact.
You can be told that you are unattractive, overweight, stupid, selfish, and lousy at housekeeping, motherhood and last but not least being a partner/spouse. You are not enough. No matter how much you extend yourself, itís never enough when you live in an abusive relationship.
Your Defect Is Their Sword
If you have been in one of these relationships long enough, you probably see this pattern. And you may even recognize that your so-called inadequacies have little to do with you. They are the defects used to label you in an effort to jockey the power and control dynamics within the relationship.
For example, look at Brenda and Bret. I realize that Brenda could be Bret, and Bret could be Brenda. Domestic abuse crosses gender. For the sake of simplicity in this example, Bret is the abusive partner and Brenda the abused.
Brenda extends herself to Bret in offering to entertain his family for the evening in honor of a special birthday. From her point of view, she is giving to benefit the relationship, her partner and his family member.
But Bret sees whatís missing over what is present. He is angry that she hasnít invited a friend of his to participate in this gathering. Heís upset that she is having this party at a location other than his choosing. Heís unhappy that she didnít do this same gesture years ago. Heís disgusted over her dress and the attention she gives to his brother during the course of the evening. Mark my word, there will be something in this celebration that he will use to confirm his commitment to her being inadequate, defective and simply not enough.
But that is not all. Here is the real problem with this dynamic. Bret will spend the majority of time surrounding this celebratory event in his negativity and he will bring Brenda into it with him. The net result...this potentially lovely party is another of their many nightmares.
The Sword and the Mask
You may ask yourself, why am I never enough for him? Why does he show up with a sword more often than not? I ask, is it really a sword? Or, is it his mask?
If you look more closely at the underlying psychology, you may recognize that he holds a sword to mask his own vulnerability. Even though the things said may arise out of circumstances relevant to you, the inspiration for the verbal emotional snipping (as I call it) is the battering partnerís internal insecurity. It is their perceived impotence longing omnipotence. Itís not about you.
Recognizing and appreciating this one fact about abusive relationships can serve to help you in your survival and in your efforts to shift the nasty dynamic. For information on therapeutic change in abusive relationships visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/spousal_abuse_tx.php and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and couples worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King ó Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
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.