Controlling Husband - Building Partnership
Over One-upmanship in Controlling Relationships

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“There’s something I need from you...but I know you probably will mess it up in your delivery.”

Imagine for a moment that you are on the receiving end of this. Do you think you would want to even try to deliver? I don’t think so, do you?

Chances are if you know partner abuse, you have stumbled on this from both ends. That’s right, you heard me. You have probably been on the receiving end of expecting you to mess up before you’re out of the gate. And you, too, have communicated the same message to your spouse ("Get ready dear, I'm going to mess up.").

One-upmanship in Battering Relationships

One-upmanship refers to the implied message that “I know better than you.”...“You are deficient in this that comes so natural to me.” It says, “No matter what, I assume you will fumble in your delivery because you simply don’t have the skill, wisdom...or whatever it takes to pull it off successfully.”

This thinking keeps one party on top and the other on the bottom, never to come together collaboratively...rather, each to remain pigeonholed in their respectful corners.

The declared “winner” in this moment is essentially the controlling party, who already has established the “loser” ranking for the other person. And since we are blessed with getting what we believe, you know what happens from here. Both of you will probably get what you expect.

Partnership in Intimate Relationships

If, on the other hand, I expect you to bring promise and success to the table, than we each can become winners. There is no winner/loser; rather, there is collaboration benefiting both of us. There is communion between us and the accomplishment of something meaningful to both of us.

How Do You Communicate Partnership over One-upmanship?

Imagine asking for the result you want and holding the belief that it can be forthcoming. Feel the permission and openness of that to inspire whatever is to be, while allowing it to unfold.

The focus remains on “how it can be” rather than “how it probably won’t be.” And the collaboration builds on this pure positive energy.

If you and your partner are stuck in a control dynamic and you long to break the cycle of abuse, seek to benefit from domestic abuse treatment in the context of relationship therapy.

For more informations about domestic abuse treatment, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010, Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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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.