Battered Wife Syndrome Is Not Always Physical

Battered Wife Syndrome aka Battered Women’s Syndrome Is Not Always Physical. Domestic Violence comes in many forms. I see quite a few women in therapy due to tolerating bad behavior. Statistic show 1:4 women will be a victim at some point. (Family Violence Prevention Fund 2004). You don’t have to be physically abused to be a Battered Wife. In my opinion verbal abuse, gas lighting, belittling is just as bad as a black eye/broken ribs. Males/husbands in relationships can also suffer from batter wife syndrome, however, this article focuses on women.

Battered Wife Syndrome Is Not Always Physical

I’ve been working with a middle aged women who has been married for 10 years. She is an accomplished well educated professional working in the capacity where she takes pride in what she does. She is independent in that she makes her own money. The problem is she tolerates a verbally abusive husband. She understands she possesses some codependent traits. Her rationalization about their relationship and why he is the way he is has made life quite difficult as she has lost her sense of self and is depressed.

Her husband suffers from a psychological disease that is treatable but is in denial about his condition. His highs and lows have created disdain for this client as she is deciding whether she should stay or go. As she makes an informed decision she understands she has three options:

  1. Keep the status quo and do nothing
  2. Require him to manage his mood swings and move forward in marriage counseling
  3. Move on to separation and divorce.

She cares about and loves her husband but cannot remain in a relationship where there is verbal abuse. The high level of anxiety she experiences is making her life a nightmare as she doubts her every move. Because his illness is treatable it is his choice to accept the treatment available. Because you can only control yourself and not another person, it is basically his choice to get better or not. It is up to my client to put boundaries in place and stop enabling his bad behavior so she can live the healthy life she desires and not the codependent life she has been living.

At this point she needs to concentrate on herself and know what she wants so she knows what she wants and deserves in a healthy relationship.

There is good prognosis if her husband decides to move forward receiving the treatment necessary to manage his emotions.

For more information on codependency and getting out of an abusive relationship contact me at (858) 735-1139.




Is Your Partner Controlling?

Is Your Partner Controlling?  Do you ask yourself why you stay in a relationship where your partner is controlling?  Do you think you can change your partner’s behavior?  Have you tried to reason with him to no avail? Do you think that if you just do as she asks things will be more stable? Have you considered the problem is not him but you?

As a young and newly married woman, I was controlling in my relationship. Family members and some friends brought this to my attention.  I, of course, dismissed their feedback and minimized my behavior.

As a Marriage Counselor, I work with many couples who present with this exact situation.  A controlling husband or wife who can’t or won’t make the behavioral adjustments for family harmony.  You cannot evoke change in anyone but yourself. If you think or hope you can you may have some codependent traits that need to be identified and managed.  The recipient of bad behavior has a conscious or unconscious agenda that they possess some omnipotent power to influence their abusive husband/wife. I call this denial as some people for whatever reasons need or want to stay in abusive situations.

In working with couples who are distressed by controlling behavior, I give them tools to communicate in healthy ways. Of course, there is a choice to utilize these tools or not. An effective way to see if there is good prognosis for couples moving forward in more appropriate are as follows:

  1. Give the controlling partner the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments.
  2. Give the controlling partner a designated time frame to demonstrate either ability or incapability in making the adjustments.
  3. If change from the controlling partner is not happening determine whether there is a “can’t or won’t” factor.
  4. If there is a “can’t” factor the controlling partner needs to be assessed to see if there are any challenges in how he/she processes information. (code for any personality or mental disorder)
  5. If there is a “won’t” factor the partner tolerating the abuse needs to make a decision whether or not staying in the relationship is feasible.
  6. Counseling is encouraged throughout the process.

Before anyone can leave a long-term relationship they need information to make an informed decision.  People stay in challenging relationships for many reasons. Talking about some of those reason can help with the decision making process.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 if you continue to ask yourself “should I stay or should I go?”