Psychology of Battering – Projection and Control in Abusive Relationships

Psychology of Battering
Projection and Control in Abusive Relationships

Dr. King



by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Have you ever noticed how some people want you to know that you fall short on their satisfaction scale no matter what you give?

You go all out to please them in their time of need, and still it’s not enough. That is their message; but is that their truth? I don’t think so.

More likely, it is just a game that they play to keep you bobbing for their love, acceptance and approval. It’s their way of saying you must continue working because you fall short.

It’s their way of holding the upper hand...keeping you in your place and under their control. It is more about the power dynamics within the relationship.

Take Carol and Ben, for example. I realize that Ben could be in the role of Carol, and Carol could be Ben. We know that domestic abuse crosses gender boundaries. For the sake of balance, I am illustrating this point from the abused man’s perspective.

Keeping a Partner Bobbing for Love and Approval

Ben went all out in his efforts to support his wife’s new career vision. He offered her emotional, psychological and financial support, and committed hours of time in helping her with foundation research…investigating launch options.

Ben became so aligned with Carol’s mission that he himself felt the glow from this creation. He wanted her success as though it was his own, and his efforts at times outweighed those of hers.

Carol expressed her appreciation for his offerings and appeared to cherish his support. Then, out of the blue, her spirit went down hill and she declared, “I’m reminded of the time when you didn’t give this to me.”

In that moment, there was no way of Ben benefiting Carol. She had already let him know of his inadequacies and deficiencies in this domain. With Carol headed downward in her drive and upward in her negativity, Ben paused not knowing what, where or how to assist his wife.

What he knew was he, too, was losing steam because now he was her “defect,” so she claimed. Yet, looking closer you can see that this is not so. Ben was not the defect; rather, Carol was having an insecure moment and she projected that deficiency onto Ben.

In her vulnerability, she struck her partner—emotionally, psychologically and verbally. In the moment that Carol was un-loving and disapproving of herself, she positioned matters to inspire Ben’s belief that he must seek her love and approval.

Can you see the projection at play and the essence of battering control dynamics here? If you recognize these dynamics seek to break the cycle, so you and your partner can create peace, harmony and love again.

For information on spousal 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.