Do You Know Why You Don’t Say “No” in Your Abusive Relationship?

Dr. Jeanne King, PhD. 30th March 2021

Have you ever noticed that irrespective of what you do, a batterer wants you to know how you have wronged them? They want you to realize and pay for an ongoing list of faults, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with you.

In other writings, I have used the term “in the doghouse” to describe the place this person wants you parked. It is almost as though they find deep pleasure in establishing that you are “the problem” even when you are unaware of a specific problem existing.

Object of Hatred

It’s as though they become soothed when they assign their inner disgust to you. They no longer have to identify it, see it, and feel it…even though deep within, it remains with them.

You suddenly, by their declaration, become their problem and source of discontent. You experience yourself as the object of their disenchantment and hatred. And the “real” problem of their concern remains buried in the battering…with only the emotional scars visible for your reflection.

Can’t Say “No” Without a Big Price

In this same relationship, you know that there is no room for your “No.” You are not given the right and freedom to have and hold an opinion/preference that doesn’t support their every campaign.

So if there is a task they demand your participation in and you seek to object, prepare yourself for the fallout. I know you have been here before if you are in one of these abusive relationships.

You can’t say “No” to these people without their being some punishment for your lack of cooperation. Eventually, you reach a point of withholding the “No” so as to avert the negative consequences.

For some people, that could be establishing a pattern of supporting the controlling person’s every wish in order to keep peace. For others, it can be withholding your preferences all while disappearing from the interaction to dodge the potential cascading devastation.

No Rights and No Respect

At the core of both of these abusive relationship signs/dynamics is the fact that you exist to serve them. And basic rights and respect toward you are simply not part of the relationship equation.

It’s no wonder that domestic abuse survivors lose respect for themselves. One is conditioned to waive their basic human rights as a survival strategy in the context of the abusive relationship.

If you recognize these emotional abuse signs, seek to deal with your circumstances before they spiral out of control. To learn more about abusive relationships, visit

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

© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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