Psychology of Domestic Abuse – Abusive Battering and Displaced Pain

Psychology of Domestic Abuse
Abusive Battering and Displaced Pain

Dr. King



by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“Why in the hell are you pissing on me?” Ever wonder? That is the experience of interacting with an abuser in a bad mood.

Have you ever noticed how batterers claim rights to batter whenever they feel like it, so it seems. Actually, it is not as “out of the blue” as you may think.

What happens in their world is merely displaced onto you. Here is how it looks in action.

Abusive Battering and Displaced Pain

You come to an interaction neutral and open, maybe even with a kind gesture or an invitation. And you are met with a rant that could begin with a critique of how your invitation was delivered.

You’re asking me if I want to meet you in four days...that’s not enough notice, they declare. And off we go. Each time coming together to revisit how you have failed them, not only in this…but in this, that and the other.

You pull back and wonder, do you really want to spend this proposed time with this person? You feel icky following your encounters with them. And it occurs to you that you aren’t happy in the role of being their punching bag.

Leveling the Pain Playing Field

You pull back in the sadness you feel during their relentless pursuit to target you with their disgust, disappointment and rage. Then, before you know it, you’re showered with another layer of battering for being affected by their first round of verbal, emotional abuse.

After much back and forth, you discover that the energy fueling their attack is coming from their own personal conflict that is with another person or situation beyond your relationship with them. What you fail to understand is how this upset of theirs entitles them to treat you as they do.

You notice their rant subsides once they recognize that you are expressing pain equal to or more then theirs. The moment they appear to have leveled the playing field, they put down their bat and share their personal problem at hand. But, in this moment you cannot hear them fully, nor can you completely embrace their pain, as you remain flooded with your own.

Battering, Bullies and Babies

You see them for who and what they are, and for how they have treated you. Your compassion for their inner conflict is greater as time passes, but you hesitate in wanting to reward their unacceptable behavior.

You better understand why he/she does that, and you realize that timing is everything. You vow to address their abusive gestures earlier on in future interactions. The key to your success is breaking the cycle before it breaks you.

For information on how to end domestic abuse, visit and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and couples worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.

© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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.