Coping with Domestic Abuse
How To Survive in an Abusive Relationship
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
How do I survive living in an abusive relationship? How do I cope? How do I disengage from the abuse dynamics and take care of myself all while remaining in my long-standing marriage?
Many domestic abuse survivors want to improve on their survival strategies. They seek advice on how to deal with an abusive situation and stand out from the line of fire. These women (and men) are usually in their 50ís and 60ís, and they prefer not to end their marriages.
Deep in their hearts they have come to accept that their partners will not change. They are confident that their spouses will remain in eternal denial about their being abusive.
If this is your situation, read on for help with living in an abusive relationship.
Coping With an Abusive Partner
1) It is not about you. The most important insight for domestic abuse survivors to embrace is the fact that the abuse perpetrated upon them is not about them. You heard me, ďItís not about you!Ē
The verbal attacks, name-calling, character assaults and derogatory commentary is a statement and expression of the abuser, not the abused.
2) You are not responsible. The second most important thing to know about abusive relationships is that you are not responsible for the battering. You didnít start it. You canít stop it. And you donít control it.
So, the best thing you can do is not assume responsibility for it. Donít try to fix it or prevent it or halt it, because it is not yours to change. Attempting to regulate it will frustrate you indefinitely. And even worse, your efforts to do so keep the abuse dynamic alive.
3) Leave one hand clapping. The best thing for you to do is step out of the dynamic and leave one hand clapping. Think about the sound of one hand clapping.
You might ask, ďDoes that mean I leave?" You can leave, but it doesn't mean that you must leave.
"Does that mean I ignore it? Does that mean I allow it?Ē you may wonder. No, no, no. It means you co-exist with the battering without internalizing it. You see it as something outside of yourself and you take measures to protect yourself from the toxicity.
Spontaneous Change From Within
It will amaze you to see how dynamic a dynamic truly is. When one aspect of any interaction is altered, the whole of it changes. Itís no longer the same dynamic.
In no way is this meant to contradict the premise that you do not control the abuse, nor can you change it. What you can change is yourself and the way in which you live in any relationship, in any environment, in any context.
© Jeanne King, Ph.D. 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.