Spousal Emotional Abuse - How to Break the Cycle of Emotional Psychological Abuse

Published: 29th March 2010
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Emotional psychological abuse from your intimate partner is as clear as the day is long when on the receiving end. But for the bystanders, it's ambiguous.

Some people will even tell you that when you are the abused, on some level, you become a bystander. It is as though you take yourself out of the line of fire simply to survive the blows of spousal emotional abuse, and ultimately exist.

You hate being hated. Your tire of being told how inadequate you are, how you are lacking...deficient...defective. You grow to expect darts in your own home and recoil in anticipation.

Your body is numb with the overwhelming disregard that colors your day. But none of this is distinct enough for you to put your finger on, much less identify definitively. All you know is that you feel "put down" and unsafe in your own home.

Shining the Light on Emotional Psychological Abuse

Most likely your partner doesn't even know when he/she is abusing you emotionally and psychologically. It is so automatic that he/she is unaware of this reflexive disregard so freely expressed.

Imagine for a moment being blasted abusively and a whistle being blown from the sidelines. With the whistle sounded comes a directive for both you and your partner to check in with yourselves. What do you imagine you feel? What do you expect your partner feels?

Chances are you experience your wounded vulnerability. Correct? And it hurts. You feel small and stuck under the outpouring of innuendo, gestures and commentary crafted to make you less...to make you wrong...to disempower you relative to your partner.

Your partner, on the other hand, is consciously aware of the impact of his/her emotional psychological abuse on you. And, unfortunately, this is satisfying to him/her. What your partner may be unaware of is his/her own vulnerability in the moment that he/she is being emotionally abusive toward you.

With closer reflection, it maybe clear that the emotional verbal attacks keep the abuser's vulnerability at bay. The abusive gestures keep him/her from addressing his/her own inadequacy. The emotional psychological abuse quickly shifts the scales to empower oneself by diminishing the other.

Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Psychological Abuse

By looking openly in the moment of the interaction with the commitment for understanding and insight, couples can break the cycle of emotional psychological abuse. The abuser can grow to recognize his/her own personal vulnerabilities. And most importantly, he/she can learn to choose from other options to self-comfort without violating his/her partner.


For more information about spousal emotional abuse, read Emotional Verbal Abuse: How to Recognize, End and Heal http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/emotional_verbal_abuse.php . Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps couples nationwide recognize, end and heal from emotional psychological abuse. http://www.enddomesticabuse.org/domestic_violence_trt.php Copyright 2010 Jeanne King, Ph.D. - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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