Controlling Relationship
The Subtle and Significant Dynamics
of an Abusive Relationship

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

When he has the vicious tongue literally and she has the upper hand figuratively, domestic abuse dynamics overlap. Who is the abuser and who is the abused?

At one point, it may appear that she is clearly a victim to his ugly words and hurtful emotional verbal abuse. And then, there are those moments when it is very clear that she has two votes to his one.

You scratch your head and ask, “Who is the victim here?” Is it the one that batters or is it the one with the most “power and control?” Or, is it both of these people in this abusive relationship?

Abuse Is About Control

You probably know that intimate partner abuse is essentially about control. Violence may be a manifestation of domestic violence, but domestic abuse is fundamentally about control...and the perpetrator can’t bear to be out of control. When the perpetrator feels he/she’s losing his/her grip, violence will escalate so as to regain control.

Battering Is Abusive

Given this, it is clear that the violence—whether verbal, emotional or physical—merely establishes and maintains an unequal distribution of power in the relationship. It’s a means to an end, and it hurts.

Anytime we use our will to overpower another person’s will, a violation has occurred. Now you may think I’m splitting hairs here...not really. I’m bringing to light the fine distinction between honoring and violating another.

The Collaborative NonAbusive Dance

When the focus is on inspiring and allowing the other person to access their authenticity, collaboration happens. Each person builds on the intentions and true desires of the other.

No one’s free will is stifled and no one is hurt. Each party shares equally in the power and control within the relationship.

If you are in a relationship that you think is abusive because you hurt, seek to understand the dynamics in play. How are the violations happening within the relationship? From here, your can turn in the direction of mutual honoring of one another and collaborative inspiration.

For more information about abusive controlling relationships, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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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.