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Psychological Emotional Abuse:

It's Not About You

By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


Some psychological emotional abuse is so subtle; it blind-sides you before you have identified it. And you remain overlooked, devalued and confused. Sound familiar?

I often hear women say, “I can’t understand why he won’t let me out of his sight; let’s face it, the guy can’t find anything good about me.” “So why must he have me around, if he hates me?” they wonder.

He doesn’t REALLY hate you; rather he hates himself in the moment he’s devaluing you. But it doesn’t look that way from the outside looking in.

An emotionally responsible person might share their sense of vulnerability in the moment or not. Whereas, an emotionally abusive partner will rush to find your shortcomings, and then carrots his affections ostensibly in the face of your flaws.

What does this do and how does this benefit the battering partner? It keeps him in control, no matter what he feels about himself or how he feels about you.

His psychological emotional abuse toward you is not about you. However, it doesn’t always look that way when you are on the receiving end of emotional verbal abuse.

Emotional abuse, even in its most subtle form, is part of what an abusive partner does to establish and maintain control in the relationship. And the possessive behavior is yet another aspect of the same dynamic characteristic of intimate partner abuse.

What shall you do in the face of these signs of emotional abuse?

Maintain your perspective and realize it’s not about you. With this, you remain in a position to see things as they are while not losing sight of who you are. Often when we are on the receiving end of emotional verbal abuse, we are blind-sided by the subtle control maneuvers in play and instead assume our partner’s projected emotional state.

And the longer we do this, the sooner we find ourselves trying to regulate the emotional abuse as though it is our responsibility. It’s not.

If you find yourself in the cycle of emotional abuse, seek to see the larger picture of your relationship and understand the dynamics in play. Find out if you're in a dangerously abusive relationship. With this understanding, you will be in a better position to break the cycle of abuse. Dr. Jeanne King helps individuals recognize and end domestic abuse, and heal from abusive relationships.

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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.