Psychology of Domestic Abuse – Why Abusive Relationships Have No Room for Your “No”

Psychology of Domestic Abuse
Why Abusive Relationships Have No Room
for Your “No”

Dr. King



by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

If there is something you want from me and it’s a “yes,” no problem. But when it is a “no” for me, it deteriorates into utter hell. Sound familiar?

This one dynamic is the most crippling aspect of abusive relationships. It makes day-to-day life practically impossible.

The Ask in Abusive Relationships

Let’s say that your friend has a “simple” request. He/she asks you for some money. Now this ask could be beyond your reach and you know it is in your interest to say “no.”

You feel good about the clarity you have about your reply as it reflects your truth. However, the moment it goes from your mouth to his/her ears, all hell breaks lose and the abusive rant begins.

You will be met with a cascading spree of manipulation, derogatory commentary, battering verbal abuse and character assaults that eventually take you over the top.

Same Abusive Dynamic, Different Person

Let’s say it is your partner and he/she asks you to participate in a journey that is beyond your comfort level. Same thing can happen.

You feel good about your clarity with yourself, as it reflects your truth. However, the moment it goes from your mouth to his/her ears, the door opens for a toxic devastating encounter that could last days...weeks...months.

You will be met with an escalating spree of battering, including emotional abuse, mental manipulation, derogatory commentary, verbal sniping, character assaults...who knows, it could even escalate into a physical encounter resulting in bruises and more. In the midst of this, you realize that you cannot interact comfortably and safely with this person unless you have a genuine “yes.” Welcome to an abusive relationship!

Conditioning in Abusive Relationships

When you live in one of these relationships, over time it occurs to you that you cannot comfortably be yourself. You recognize that being your partner’s request keeps you safe. Ultimately, you lose sight of who and what you are.

You feel oppressed, as you know you cannot be anything other than what is requested of you. You know you are being controlled and you go along to keep peace.

You convince yourself that you have taken this stand to avoid conflict, maintain harmony in your home, keep the family together... You do whatever you can to prevent your partner’s reaction to your saying “no.”

Eventually, you forget how to say “no.” You question whether you even have the right to say “no.” You fear—on a primal level—what is to come following a “no,” so you don’t dare put it out there.

If you recognize this pattern of abusive interaction, seek to learn how to break this dangerous cycle before it spirals out of control. For information on emotional verbal 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.