Domestic Abuse Counseling
Why Do Couples in Abusive Relationships
Waste Hope in the Wrong Therapy?
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
One of saddest things about people in abusive relationships is the way they use their counseling losses and therapy misses to lock themselves in their despair, until the lid pops and they end up in a domestic abuse divorce.
These people know they walk on eggshells and sleep on rocky waters. They reach out to couples therapy and oftentimes find that the dynamics underlying their discord solidifies.
Once they both acknowledge that they are getting nowhere in therapy, they stop the counseling. Then when the abuse stirring in their relationship is sufficiently felt by both of them, a new therapist becomes the target of hope once again.
While the hope is sweet, the prospect for a positive outcome remains the same as it did prior, because the therapy is the same. They engage a different therapist, but the same therapeutic orientation.
Seeking Therapy Without Treating the Problem
After the second try (i.e. stab at it...no pun intended), they conclude that therapy does not work and cannot influence their dysfunctional relationship. They appreciate that both therapists share the same observations. And they themselves even admit to what the professionals observe.
However, at this juncture, they live on the tail of two failed therapy attempts. Consequently, one or both of them believes that therapy simply doesn’t work, or doesn’t work for them…and certainly not for their problems.
What surprises me is that it doesn’t occur to couples that they are in the wrong therapy. It’s possible that therapy is such an obscure thing for the general public, that they see it as one intervention.
I liken it to the belief that “medicine” is what you do when you hurt or when you are ill. Now this may sound like an over simplification, but imagine this: A podiatrist’s treatment doesn’t correct your back pain, and you walk around believing that podiatry doesn’t work.
The Divorce Remedy for Domestic Abuse
Then the going gets rough for the couple once again, but this time they have cold feet...and they prefer not to go the therapy route, so they hold tight until the day comes when one of them is served with divorce papers.
This scenario, as I have described, happens to more domestic abuse couples in divorce court then not. In other words, it is common practice for abusive relationships in route to divorce. I lived it firsthand and observe it in couples coast-to-coast.
If you are in an abusive relationship seeking help for the control and abuse issues that you live, find help directed toward the dysfunctional dynamics in your relationships. If you don’t get specialized treatment, you will spend your promise and exhaust your hope before giving yourself the benefit of an appropriate intervention for your problem.
© Jeanne King, Ph.D. — 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.