The Secret to Lifting Interactional Oppression
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Men who have been abusive with their spouses wonder, “Why the heck doesn’t she forgive me?” They say, “I have forgiven her for her transgressions...So, why won’t she just forgive me for hitting her?”
My belief is that battered women are superstars at forgiveness. I don’t think this is the area they are coming up short.
In working with battered women over the last decade, I have noticed that they are seeking to lift the interactional oppression over finding a way to forgive. Come with me and let’s take a look at interactional oppression.
What Is Interactional Oppression?
“Interactional oppression” is a term I coined through my observations in healing abusive relationships. It is the sense of oppression felt relative to one particular person...your spouse.
It’s so very clear to battered women through the contrast. With their abusive spouse, they are oppressed...withdrawn and outwardly muted; whereas with others, they experience their vibrancy and their peace.
They can be themselves without fear of repercussions from being “out of line,” “inaccurate,” “unreasonable” and in trouble. The same spontaneity they feel in general does not exist in the presence of their battering partner.
These women come to expect reprimand at every turn. For example, if they speak too loud...if they utter a concern too softly...if they pause before bringing their words forward. Any of these can be cause for punishment.
These women quickly condition into becoming oppressed. They hold in who they are and what they feel to keep themselves safe in the presence of their abusive partner.
Lifting Interactional Oppression
Their outward healing rests on their experience of personal vitality and peace with their partner. For many women, it’s like learning to walk again as an adult...or learning to feed oneself all over again. It’s flexing a muscle that has withered so much so that it starts as limp dead weight.
If you are in an abusive relationship seeking to save your marriage and end the abuse, be sensitive to this therapeutic milestone of lifting the oppression. Ask yourself what you would need from your partner to be your authentic self. Identifying this is your first step in healing the interactional opperssion.
For more information on healing abusive relationships, visit http://www.enddomesticabuse.org/domestic_violence_trt.php and claim Free Instant Access the 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from legal domestic abuse.
© Jeanne King, Ph.D. — 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.