Domestic Abuse Treatment – Changing
Your Partner in an Abusive Relationship

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Couples in Domestic Abuse Treatment get hung up on controlling each other’s recovery. They each decide to make their relationship work and then they place their focus on the other’s therapeutic process and progress.

It looks something like this...

“I need you to change yesterday.” He wants to control her healing recovery process so she’ll get on with loving him affectionately again. And she seeks to control his rehabilitation recovery process so she can feel safe and whole in his presence.

Can you see how they can lock horns with these agendas? Now don’t misunderstand me here. I do believe both of them have a valid point of interest. But when the other person’s change process takes precedent over your own, no one heals, no one changes and recovery is not going to happen.

Change Is an Inside Job; Not an Other-Directed Goal

Change is always an inside job no matter whether you are an abuser or a domestic abuse survivor. “He can want my affectation until he is blue in the face, but he won’t get me giving it until it flows freely from me. And chances are that won’t happen until I feel loving and I am longing an intimate connection with him.”

“But this feeling can’t be and probably won’t happen as long as I feel violated by him.” (I’m putting this in first person so you can feel it in yourself as you read these words.) Now stay with me...

You, on the other hand, are feeling antsy about your partner’s changing as much as he is about you changing. It looks something like this...

“I need you to stop putting me down, and making me feel less than I am. I can no longer bear walking on eggshells, so for goodness sake give me stability and consistency. Stop telling me how I’m lacking...inadequate…deficient.”

“Instead, I privately and unconsciously yearn for your admiration, your respect and your unconditional regard. Though you have convinced me that I’m not deserving of such, on a primal level, this conditioning does not hold true for me. So please get on with it; stop abusing me and start loving me.”

Shifting the Focus to One’s Own Growth

Now let’s imagine for a moment that the other person were not part of the change process. Ask yourself what you would need independent of that person to personally bring harmony to an intimate relationship. If you can go along this path without present concern for the other person, you will amaze yourself and so will your partner. The two of you will marvel over the internal changes you both make and bring to the relationship.

For moreinformation about domestic violence treatment, visit Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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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.