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Intimate Partner Abuse Screen




Life in Abusive Relationships - How to Recognize and Cope with the Isolation in an Abusive Relationship

domestic violence consulting expert



By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


Isolation is one of the mechanisms used to create and maintain domination of one person over another.

Evolution of Isolation in abusive relationships


It often evolves so gradually that you don’t realize it’s happening until you wake-up one day and notice you have no friends and your contact with your own family has vanished.

Now the funny thing is that as your icy isolation is being groomed, you’re conditioned to believe that it is “good for you.” (There’s that conditioning, again.)


You’re told things like this person is not worthy of your company, that person is undesirable to your partner, another poses a threat to your relationship. There are as many reasons for you not to have people in your life, other than your partner, as there were people in you life before the abusive relationship.


And when you internalize your partner’s perception of his/her preferences with respect to the people being walled out of your life, you are rewarded. Sometimes this reward maybe in the form of a positive gesture by your partner. Or, it may present as the absence of a previously negative spill of verbal emotional abuse when you failed to comply with the walling off of this particular person.


How this isolation serves your partner


There are several ways in which your isolation serves your partner and helps maintain the abuse in your relationship.


a) Your isolation creates a relationship climate of dependence, as there are no other adults in your personal orbit other than your partner.


b) Your isolation creates an exterior shield of silence regarding the abuse in your home.


c) Your isolation serves to silence you from yourself with respect to your abusive relationship.


What you can do to overcome icy isolation of an abusive relationship


If you are in an abusive relationship, the “other” people falling out of your personal orbit may very well be your first tip-off that something is not right at home. When you notice yourself participating in the narrowing of your personal social circle, take a hard and honest look at all of the defining characteristics of abusive relationships.


If your relationship has progressed and you see yourself in many ways “stuck” or merely trying to work things out with your partner, make a personal commitment to yourself to keep at least one channel of contact with someone near and dear open always, even if you have to do so secretly. This person could be your lifeline in a time of need. 


For more information about the dynamics of abusive relationships, visit and claim your free Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. If you want to know all of the defining characteristics of abusive relationships, see the Intimate Partner Abuse Screen. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.


If you want personal help with your particular circumstances, you can contact us to set up an individual consultation.

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©Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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.