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Intimate Partner Abuse Screen

 

 

 

Domestic Violence - Who's Crazy?

The Psychosocial Politics of Domestic Abuse

domestic violence consulting expert

 

By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

 

As a psychologist, I’m often asked what is the psychopathology of individuals in abusive relationships?

 

The perpetrator’s mental health status is usually more self-evident, whereas the victim's mental health status is clouded with the psychosocial politics of domestic violence combat.

 

Perpetrator Pathology

 

The perpetrator usually presents with any combination of the following personality disorders: narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder, along with intermittent explosive disorder.

 

Victim Diagnosis

 

Pathology in a victim, on the other hand, is less clear, less accurate and more often than not, merely a diagnostic label given as part of domestic violence combat. Often the diagnosis received by these women is nothing more than a psychological sword delivered at the bequest of—and manipulation by—their batterers.

 

It is estimated that 95% of all women going through the domestic violence shelter system will be given a psychiatric diagnosis by the evaluating mental healthcare provider before they get out—that is, during their navigation through domestic violence victim assistance.

 

And the diagnoses given are often a gross misrepresentation of many of these women’s mental health. We see everything from substance-related disorders to anxiety disorders to mood disorders to severe personality disorders.

 

Consequence of Improper Diagnoses of Battered Women

 

Giving these women fraudulent psychiatric labels has serious consequences for the long-term health of these individuals. Once improperly diagnosed, they shy away from mental health care and cut themselves off from resources that could very well benefit their healing after the abusive relationship.

 

It is understandable how psychology and psychiatry have become enemies of battered women. If you are a domestic abuse survivor and a victim of the use of improper psychiatric diagnosis, seek to find a professional with psychotherapeutic skills AND a sound knowledge base in domestic violence as represented by the battered women’s movement.

 

This way you will get the best of both worlds, and most likely insure both your overall safety and your long-term sanity. For more information about the psychosocial politics of domestic abuse and the legal-psychiatric system, see Legal Domestic Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. is a seasoned psychologist and domestic violence consulting expert.

This series of eInsights is presented to you by Partners in Prevention, a nonprofit organization. If you find this eInsight article useful, we invite you to contribute to the maintenance and growth of the Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.EndDomesticAbuse.org

 

©Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. www.PreventAbusiveRelationships.com

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.