Signs of Domestic Abuse – 3 Keys to Help
Awaken the Victim to an Abusive Relationship

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

I frequently hear people ask, how do you get someone in an abusive relationship to recognize the fact that they are embroiled in one? Most people know that the hardest part in helping the abused is facilitating their awakening to the danger and destruction that they live.

How well I know. I can recall my own blindness in my personal ordeal with family violence and legal domestic abuse. After five painful years into my efforts to end an abusive relationship, legal counsel said, “You are a battered woman, you know?”

Funny thing is…I didn’t. Yet, we were surrounded by the common and customary court documentation of domestic abuse along with what appeared at the time to be extraordinary judicial remedies.

It was the term “battered woman” that I simply could not relate to as me. I suspect the same is true for those blindly abused with the words “domestic violence,” “domestic abuse” and “abusive relationship.”

Here are some ways to help people awaken to the reality and signs of domestic abuse without either of you stumbling over the terms.

1) Focus on their personal experience. Relationship conflict is as much an inner phenomena as it is an external event. The way you experience yourself relative to another person says so much about the nature and dynamics of your relationship.

Think of your own relationship with your significant other. Do you experience ease, flexibility, permission and safety? Or, is your experience that of oppression, guardedness, awkwardness and fear?

2) Bring into focus their behavior and their partner’s behavior . The terms we use to define a syndrome often overlook the symptoms and characteristics of it. Just as the word “flu” doesn’t say the multiple symptoms that define it.

Direct their attention to the subtle symptoms that you notice. For example, if you observe the abused cooperating in walling you out of her/his life, begin your discussion here. It’s concrete, specific and has significant meaning with respect to partner abuse.

3) Reflect on relationship aspirations, expectations and ultimate goals. When we can see what we have, relative to what we long to embrace, we more readily admit its shortcomings.

Is the relationship climate one that nourishes and sustains it and the people involved? Or, does it cause one person to be less than who and what they are in order to thrive?

When you bring the attention to the reality as one lives it, you increase the likelihood of identification, recognition and ownership. In doing this, you inspire healthy change.

For more information helping others recognize the signs of domestic abuse, visit and get Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Dr Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic violence. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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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.