Controlling Relationship – Appeasement vs.
Authenticity with a Controlling Spouse

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


“What I don’t understand about her/him is she/he doesn’t see things as I do.” Sound familiar?

It doesn’t really matter what side of the fence you’re on, we can all relate to this comment. Sometimes we get so fixated in our wanting the other person to have or adopt our thinking that we fail to appreciate theirs.

In abusive relationship therapy, we grow our capacity to embrace each other’s perspective as it is, simply because it is, irrespective of how much or how little it matches ours. A primary focus in the intervention is the validation of each person’s point of view.

Opinions in Abusive Relationships

In controlling relationships, we find that the empowered party holds the expectation that his (or her) opinion holds more weight, is more accurate, more appropriate and to be adopted by the other party. And, often what happens is that the chase begins to convert this less-empowered person into assuming the beliefs of the controlling person.

The controlled un-empowered person thinks that doing so aids in maintaining harmony in the relationship. Accordingly, they acquiesce just to keep the peace or regain it at all cost.

Yet, what ends up happening is far from peace. Instead, the couple has set into motion an inner war that ultimately catches up with them, making both unhappy in the long run.

Authenticity and Its Absence in Intimate Relationships

When you fail to be who you really are, you deny your partner of knowing who you are and you deny yourself of experiencing you as you really are. You create a disconnection that leaves you dead in your own skin. And you become the person that you believe he (or she) expects you to be.

The ensuing war is internal at first and ultimately, through cascading resentment, it becomes a war between the two of you.

Mutual Acceptance in Intimate Relationships

When the relationship expectation is that you challenge yourself with the inclusion of the other person no matter what is put forward, another dimension unfolds...that of permission. This then becomes the basis for mutual trust and unconditional regard.

If you are in an abusive relationship and long to break the subtle dynamics that keep you stuck in abusive interaction patterns, learn about abusive relationship therapy.

To discover the possibilities and promise of abusive relationship therapy, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights.

To learn more about the dynamics of controlling relationships, visit Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. ©Jeanne King, Ph.D. - 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.