Healing Emotional Abuse
Boundary Issues of Domestic Violence
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
We hear about domestic abuse survivors’ boundary issues as though this is what got them in the abusive relationship. Well, maybe it did. However, it’s also true that their progressive dismantling of their personal boundaries is what keeps them safe while living in an abusive relationship.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you probably know what I mean. Now it may not necessarily be something that you are conscious of, but I trust you are aware of the fact that if you say “no,” to something your batterer wants, there will be consequences…emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse.
Domestic Abuse Without Boundaries
The more willing you are to let go of and live without your own personal preferences, the less conflict between you and your partner...or so it may seem. You grow to realize that when you assert your desires, there is a price.
Over time, the payoff is clear. In the short run, life appears easier…yet over the long haul, you build walls between you and YOU. Your interests, your wishes and your innermost desires fade into the background. And you assume the preferences of you partner.
Now, you may tell yourself that you do this because he is the “man of the house” and the “captain of the ship.” Your religious faith and social cultural norms indeed support this.
The Domestic Violence Survivor’s Lost Soul
From the outside looking in, you appear to have no preferences, no opinions, no anything that could rock the boat. You project being a smooth sailor. Your family may even know you as the “peacemaker.” And all of this looks admirable.
But in the quiet moments of your day, you can’t find yourself...you are disconnected from your essence...and in that separation you experience yourself as lost.
What came first: the woman with boundary issues or the environment that shattered them? I’m not sure there is an answer to this question. Each case, each abusive relationship, each domestic violence survivor brings their own unique personality and circumstances to the table.
What we can say with great certainty is that assertiveness and domestic violence can’t live in the same house. Why? Because the essence of each is the antithesis of the other.
Healing the Boundary Issues of Domestic Abuse
If you recognize yourself in this article and long for living who and what you are— either with or without your partner—seek to know yourself from the inside out over the outside in.
With this inner awareness, you can bring yourself into relationships through which you can discover more and more of who and what you are. And in so doing, you will heal from physical, verbal and emotional abuse.
For more information about healing emotional abuse, visit www.enddomesticabuse.org/healing_from_within.php. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Violence Prevention and InterventionThis series of eInsights is presented to you by Partners in Prevention, a nonprofit organization. If you find this eInsight article useful, we invite you to contribute to the maintenance and growth of the Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit www.EndDomesticAbuse.org
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.