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Domestic Violence Treatment: To Honor or to Attack Is Trainable in Domestic Abuse Treatment
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

You can only feel that which leaves me feeling comfortable. Sound familiar?

Battered women and abused men know that when they experience and express a feeling that is not in harmony with their abusive partner, then there will be a price paid.

Price for Your Experience Not Supporting Your Abusive Partner’s Well-Being

It may be in the form of an argument, some name-calling, character assassination, or a full-blown fight over everything and nothing.

It is as though the abusive partner does not have the ability or psychological tools to step back in the face of their partner’s experience and allow it to merely exist on its own merit.

He/She does not have the tolerance to co-exist amidst that which does not overtly contribute to his/her emotional comfort. To the contrary, if your expressed feelings net some emotional discomfort in your abusive partner, then you are charged with the duty to alter the status quo.

This is a common dynamic we see in abusive relationships. And, as you may know, it leaves battering couples blindly fighting and inevitably dissatisfied with the outcome.

Honoring Your Experience Unconditionally

Imagine for a moment if your partner acquired the tools to assimilate your feelings regardless of whether they net his/her own emotional comfort. Now, I realize that this sounds like a tall order when you are living in an abusive relationship.

While it is true that demonstrating the ability to allow another person’s free expression is a monumental leap, it is a doable step in the direction of breaking the cycle of abuse. And, even more exciting, is the fact that this shift can be inspired through domestic violence psychoeducational/psychotherapeutic treatment.

Teaching Mutual Respect and Unconditional Regard

People can be taught to recognize these subtle interactional episodes. They can be taught to appreciate that you feel what you feel and respectfully honor it as your reality even when they experience some emotional discomfort as a result.

They can grow to realize that you are not responsible for their well-being any more than they are responsible for yours. Take a deep breath and imagine that.

It’s these tiny steps that mount up to huge relationship face-lifts over time. It’s these tiny steps that support the avoidance of relationship abuse. It’s these tiny steps that help couples in abusive relationships break the cycle of intimate partner violence.

If you are in an abusive relationship ripe for corrective therapeutic change, consider an intervention designed to help you break the cycle of abuse within your relationship.

2010 Copyright Jeanne King, Ph.D.

About the Author:
Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. is a 25-year seasoned psychologist, author of Psychological Healing from Domestic Abuse and Domestic Abuse Healing from Within and leading expert in identifying the subtle communication patterns of battering relationships. She helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. For more information about recognizing, ending and healing from verbal abuse in marriage, visit and get Free Instant Access to your survivor success eInsights.