Domestic Violence Survivors –
Pleasing Others with or without Authenticity
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Nearly a decade ago a woman said to me, people won’t trust you if/when they know you are a domestic abuse survivor. And I thought, why not?
Having moved beyond my own personal ordeal with domestic violence, I’m beginning to understand what she meant. It’s hard to trust a domestic abuse survivor, because they will often tell you what they think you want to hear in order to “elicit” the response they are seeking.
Ouch! Now I know if you are a domestic violence survivor, you maybe thinking, the nerve of you Dr. King. But let’s look more closely at this together and understand why she/he does this.
Pleasing Others First
Think about it for a moment. If you live in a relationship wherein you walk on eggshells because you don’t know what’s in store moment to moment, you grow to read body language and affect (emotion) to understand others.
Over time, you become an expert in knowing what’s up with other people without them even saying anything. Further, not only are you good at reading what’s up with others, you seek to covertly regulate what you have read.
Untold Truths and Inauthentic Gestures
So for example, let’s say I (an abused partner) sense you are disturbed, I will reflexively give you want I think will alleviate your disturbance...before and without my having authentic communion (communication) with you. That is, before and without actually inquiring as to your status and my perception of your needs. I will give you what I think will get me what I need—your approval and our peace.
And in the same way I quickly resort to giving you what I think you are wanting, I will expect you to also give me exactly what I’m longing in the absence of expressing it directly. Ultimately, it becomes evident that we have created a relationship and interaction pattern based on non-communication. It becomes a relationship of untold truths and inauthentic gestures.
If you are a domestic abuse survivor, go out of your way to find and reveal your truth and that of those you interact with. The more you do, the more people will trust your deeds, your words and you.
For more insight and information about healing from domestic abuse, I invite you to check out Psychological Healing for Domestic Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic violence at home and in court.
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© Copyright 2009 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.