Abusive Relationship -
How to Break the Cycle of Abuse


Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


A common question people ask is what are some practical ways to break the cycle of abuse?

First is identify the syndrome.

It is essential that you have identified the cluster of symptoms that defines domestic violence and understand how it lives in your life. Giving it a name is number one.


If you don’t do that, what you end up doing is the following. One day you are treating what troubles you about your partner as though it’s substance abuse. Then, it looks like partner abuse. Then, the next day you treat it like it’s a narcissistic personality disorder. The day after that it could be intermittent explosive disorder.


And you just go round and round and round. But when you give it a name and see it in its full constellation, you can map out a clean and clear treatment plan to break the cycle of abuse.

Second is surrender responsibility


The victim/survivor absolutely must surrender responsibility for the battering behavior. And by that I mean accountability for it and responsibility to it...that is the responsibility to “fix it” (or even having the belief that one has the wherewithal to fix it).


The moment that happens, a window of possibilities opens up. And from here, survivors assume power in the relationship and the ability to effectively break the abuse dynamic.

Three is to secure a source of support

The third ingredient and key to offsetting the roller coaster that people experience when trying to break the cycle of abuse is having a source of support external to the relationship. And the operative word here is “external.”


Having a source of support is not sufficient, because you could have a source of support that actually talks you into believing that there is no abuse—supporting your denial.


A source of support external to the relationship and the relationship abuse dynamic, the surrendering of responsibility, and first and foremost the identification of the syndrome can be your roadmap to breaking the cycle of abuse.

For more information about the breaking the cycle of abuse, see Domestic Abuse Dynamics: Breaking the Cycle. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. ©2008 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

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© Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. www.PreventAbusiveRelationships.com

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.