Adult Child in a Controlling Relationship – In the Outer Orbit of Controlling Abusive Relationships

Adult Child in a Controlling Relationship
In the Outer Orbit
of Controlling Abusive Relationships

Dr. King



by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

It’s bad enough when you sleep in one of these nightmares. Imagine raising your son to become a responsible, loving young adult. He is nonviolent in his communication and interaction with others, gifted with unique talents and successful in life...except in one area.

He is entangled in a controlling abusive intimate relationship, and you are aware that the young man you once knew sounds and acts like another person. It is very clear to you that he is controlled—to the core—by his intimate partner.

The little phone chats you so enjoyed regularly are now abruptly ended by his having to jump off the phone because she is calling and he must take her call...routinely. Visits you used to cherish are so few and far between; you wonder how he looks as he ages into a mature man. And then the knife in your heart is felt deeply when you realize your grandchild who you have met once is now in grade school.

And this is your family, you tell yourself. “What happened to my child?” you ask.

When a Controlling Partner Steps In

When a controlling partner dominates the very essence of your own child, you feel oppression similar to being in the abusive relationship yourself. The free spirit you once knew in your adult child is replaced with a robot-like presence. His interaction with you is an extension of his controlling partner. You hear it in his speech, see it in his email, know it in his text messages. You experience the loss of the person he was before his involvement with her...that is before she stepped in.

I use the term “step-in” because that is exactly what it is like. It feels like someone else stepped in as he stepped out. And you wonder, “Will my son ever come back?”

Outer Orbit of an Abusive Relationship

The outer orbit of a controlling, abusive relationship looks and feels much like the inner realm of the relationship because it is defined by the exact same abuse dynamics. This is why you experience yourself as being in a controlling relationship by proxy.

For example, his abusive partner will blame you for the mishaps in their life. The tendency to externalize blame is so blatant that you are stunned by their efforts to punish you for the consequences they bring to themselves. All the lessons that went into his becoming a responsible caring mature man are replaced by her endorsing their lack of personal accountability.

The list goes on from her battering tongue to their shared lack of empathy toward you with respect to your own flesh and blood...the grand child you are denied the right to see. If you are a parent living in the outer orbit of an abusive relationship, reach out for help in dealing with the emotional psychological abuse of controlling relationships.

For information on helping a loved one in an abusive relationship 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.