Making Unilateral Decisions Without Your Knowledge or Consent

Dr. Jeanne King, PhD. 03/23/2021

When your partner makes decisions that impact you without your knowledge or consent, he/she is basically acting on your behalf irrespective of your wishes. How do you feel about that?

If you don’t care that someone else is controlling some of your life choices and if the decisions made do not harm you, then it’s probably not a big deal. In fact, it could make life a little simpler because you don’t have to bother yourself with the details of things you don’t know or care to know. However, if the decisions made net consequences to you that are harmful, then chances are you will resent his/her making these decisions without conferring with you.

Unilateral Decisions Without Your Consent

It’s common practice for people in abusive relationships to encounter their partner making decisions that affect them without their knowledge or consent. These decisions can be in any of many areas of their lives, like: financial, social, sexual, physical residence, recreation, nutrition, health/disease…need I say more.

Essentially, what happens in this dynamic is that the decision-maker acts as though he/she is the only person in the relationship. There is no interest in, and fundamentally no regard for, the preferences, experience and welfare of the other person.

More often than not, the decision-maker holds a sense of entitlement with respect to their decision-making. In some cases, it can be that they truly believe that they know what’s best for you better than you do. Or, it may be that their own personal preferences are so blinding to them that there is no room to even entertain that you exist except to support their fulfilling their agenda.

Control Dynamics and Abusive Relationship Signs

If you are new to an abusive relationship or recently awakening to being in one, look closely at this pattern of unilateral decision-making. Notice how you feel when expected to welcome the result of decisions made without your knowledge or consent.

Then, pay attention to what happens within the relationship when you confront the decision-making of your partner. Lastly, take notice of how he/she deals with your experience of un-welcomed consequences of these decisions.

If the heels dig deeper and the campaign gets defended, you are probably dealing with someone who feels entitled to exert their will irrespective of your wishes and welfare. Or, as in the case of clear abuse dynamics, it might be that you are entangled with someone who enjoys the obvious power and control in unilateral decision-making.

For more information about signs of an abusive relationship , visit Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.

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© Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention


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