Abusive Relationship: The Psychology of How to Break the Cycle of Abuse


Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


The number one essential, internal step to breaking the cycle of abuse is surrendering responsibility for your partner’s battering behavior. That would include both accountability for it, as well as responsibility to fix it.

When one surrenders the belief that it is their “Job” to fix it and that they have the wherewithal to fix it, a magical window opens up. A window of possibilities opens up for the person and for the relationship.


Now you might be wondering, how do you get someone to stop being responsible for someone else’s behavior? Good question.


Surrendering Responsibility for Another’s Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior


All right, now grab your cup of coffee and pull up a seat… We are going to get esoteric, philosophical and down right psychological in this discussion.


The way I facilitate surrendering responsibility is through a blend of humanistic, existential, experiential psychotherapy. This is therapy that is “patient-centered,” and that is of “existence as a whole,” and “experiencing of psychological data in the moment” as it lives in one’s body.


So for example, I facilitate your identification of what is yours, you come to own it...become accountable to it and responsible for it. When one is this way with oneself, it is easier to see the distinction between what’s yours and what is not yours—what belongs to another.


Ultimately, what is discovered is that when you are in someone else’s business, you are not and cannot be in your own business. One might say, you are out of your mind. There is a distinct experiential disconnect with oneself.


This realization drives non-psychotic people to surrender responsibility for that which is not theirs. And alternatively invest in what is theirs. From here, you are more alive, more whole, more at one with yourself and more authentic with others.


How your surrendering responsibility for battering impacts the relationship

If you’re not assuming responsibility for another’s behavior, doesn’t that leave the other person to do so?  Certainly.


And if your partner doesn’t assume responsibility for his/her behavior, that remains your partner’s issue…not your issue.


This is not to say that their choice doesn’t impact you, as it may very well do so. Key point is having the understanding that their choice is not about you!


For a deeper understanding about abusive relationships, what maintains them and what breaks the cycle of abuse, visit www.IsThisAbuse.com. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © 2008 Dr. 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.