Subtle Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Diversion Control Tactic 101

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“When I’m distressed by your inconsiderate actions with respect to me and I point this out to you, a door opens for another round of you demonstrating your superiority with respect to me.”

If you’re in an abusive relationship, you probably know how this looks and feels. Read on and see if you recognize these subtle communication patterns of domestic abuse and signs of an abusive relationship.

Your Attempt to Share Your Objections and the Diversion Control Tactic

Even though you may not be accustomed to being forthright in your abusive relationship, you step up to the plate and put your distress and objections out for your partner to digest. You hope that by sharing what you have observed and how it leaves you feeling he will understand how his behavior affects you. And from here, he may elect to do things differently. Your hope is that he wants things better, as do you.

However, after you eloquently put your statement/s on the table, he quickly lets you know that you should have told him this earlier or in a different setting or different tone or different anything...anything but like it was done.

And with this, both you and he quickly shift the focus to your delivery flaw and bypass fully digesting and processing your “complaint/feedback/request.” So, what we have here is a diversion tactic wherein he avoids accountability for the original issue and has successfully enlisted you as “the problem.” You hear me: once again he made you “the problem.” And the abusive control dynamics roll on...

Diversion Control Tactic as a Fundamental Fabric in an Abusive Relationship

Now I do realize that this little exchange is subtle, but when this type of interaction becomes the wallpaper of your life, your relationship is in trouble. Diversion control tactics are one of many strategies abusers use to establish and maintain an unequal distribution of power in the relationship.

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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.