Are You in the Abusive Relationship Doghouse, Again and Again?


By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

“I can no longer live in your doghouse, nor can I visit it when you touch that place of utter disdain.” Sound familiar?

Living in an abusive relationship can mean frequent trips to the doghouse. It’s a place established metaphorically. It is the space wherein an abusive person determines that you have done “wrong.”

Now this wrong doing could be anything from your failure to deliver on a promise expected but not necessarily made…to an investment in your own well being over selfless care for controlling other…to your inflection being too high, too low, too fast, too slow, too much the same.

Doghouse Ritual

When you are in the doghouse because this person has declared it so, you are to remain quiet and take your punishment. Now this could be anything from a demand that you sit still while they dump on you…to an order that you acknowledge your defect and make amends.

You know in you heart that no matter what you say and do, it is only a matter of time until you are in the doghouse again. But the pain of being there inspires you to deliver. And so you do.

Doghouse Demands

When you look more compassionately at this doghouse ordeal you can see the crying baby behind the roaring bear. It is so clear to you that this person is expressing their own shortcoming when ordering you into the doghouse.

But it is not their vulnerability that compels your cooperation. Rather it is the futility of their demands and the bullishness in their style. You may have been behind their hand or at the end of their rope and/or the recipient of their ongoing, chronic mental verbal abuse.

And from this experience, you know the venom within them. You know what they are capable of and you know what might set them off. You learn to pull back simply to survive.

Doghouse Survival

The word “survival” is so accurate when you think of the life of domestic abuse victims. It is truly about surviving and holding your own as you navigate the storms. Unfortunately, these storms can come raging in as hurricanes and they can change the face of the relationship.

As a survivor, you have choices. You can remain status quo. You can leave the relationship. Or, you can inspire change within the dynamics that define and bind you to this other person.

Whether you are dealing with an intimate relationship, a spousal relationship gone dry, or a relationship with a sibling, an adult child or another family member…the doghouse dynamics are pretty much the same. To learn more about ending domestic abuse in your intimate relationship, visit

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Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals and couples worldwide recognize, end and heal from narcissistic domestic abuse.

© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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