Abuse and Control – The Conquest
of Bending Your Will to Care for Yourself
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Have you ever noticed how some people enjoy the conquest of you surrendering what’s right for you to doing what they want you to do? It is as though there is a pleasure in the “abuse and control win” in and of itself. The “win” being that you are serving them over taking care of yourself.
Selfless Service vs. Personal Neglect
Now, I’m not talking about “selfless” service, wherein you give of yourself for the sake of giving. What I’m talking about here is your will to follow what’s right for you being overshadowed by your partner to do something other than what’s in your interest. And usually that “other” is to serve them.
This is a common theme in abusive relationships. The perpetrator comes to expect that his/her partner will accommodate his/her wishes irrespective of the negative consequences to themselves in doing so.
I experienced this in the abusive relationship I lived in years ago and witness it in those I observe and those I professionally serve today.
For example, it can be as obvious as demanding that you go on vacation out of the country weeks after you have given birth to your second child. And then when you get where you are going, you are up and down all night with your infant, throughout the day with your toddler and expected to entertain your partner every other waking moment. You continue this until you fall on your back with pneumonia.
Or how about this one... You are so physically vulnerable that you can’t be left alone due to your compromised health. Your partner is having elective surgery and you prefer to remain at home and have him escorted to the hospital with a caretaker. But he demands that you accompany him and wait at the hospital until he is out of surgery. Against your better judgment, you yield to his demands and discover you have pneumonia in the days following.
These examples have more than pneumonia in common. What they exhibit is: a) abusive partners being insensitive to the physical needs of their compromised spouses; and b) compromised spouses failing to hold their own in taking care of themselves under the pressure of their partners to do otherwise.
Bending Personal Will in the Service of Your Controlling Spouse
In both of the examples cited above, bending the will of the surrendering person was not about an unawareness of this person’s needs. Rather to the contrary, in both cases the controlling partner knew quite well what was in the interest of their partners. And in both cases the conquest to serve themselves over all else became part of the victory.
Abusive partners don’t honor and respect their spouses for doing what’s right for them personally. Instead they resent that their spouses would resist surrendering their self-care. That resentment is then used to pry their partners into submission. The conquest is by in large twofold: “do for me while knowingly neglecting yourself.”
If you find yourself in these dynamics, take a hard and fast look at the control dynamics characteristic of abusive relationships. Doing so could equip you with the insight you need to break this insidious cycle before it spirals out of control.
For more information about signs of an abusive relationship, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/controlling_relationship.php and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse at home and in court. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
If you want an insight article everyday or you want your questions addressed in an insight article, visit One Article a Day.
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.