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Treating Relationship Power and Aggression
the previous track we discussed how the "Great Catch's" reconstruction
of reality created a tool of blame to erode his partner's self-esteem.
A way to increase your client's awareness of their partner's reconstruction of reality is to assist them in exploring the Rationalizations they use for the verbal abuse. In a minute I will discuss Kay's use of rationalizations as a defense mechanism with which she explained and justified Roger's actions as a means to make them acceptable to her. However, as you know, the abusers actions are unacceptable at a deeper psychological level.
Rationalized Responses we will explore are:
#1: Communication Magic
The concept of this magical communication is illustrated through Kay's belief that, as Kay stated it, "Roger will magically stop saying those hurtful things once he knows my good intentions." Kay believed that through intense study and observation of Roger, she would discover how to express herself in exactly the right way so Roger would truly and at last fully understand her.
Kay said, "I have given up everything: my friends, visits with relatives, my quilting all the things I love, just to stop Roger's anger and please him. I want him to be happy so badly. For weeks, I would do everything to please him and agree with him. I worked so hard in hopes that he would cheer up and one day say, 'I don't know what came over me. You're so wonderful!'"
stated my observation to Kay and said, "It sounds like you feel one person
can make another person happy. It sort of sounds like to you happiness is like
a little seed you can take from within yourself and put it in someone else."
#2: Hiding Pain
would be your next step if Jeannie was your client? Here's what I did. As you
can see clearly Jeannie was rationalizing her behavior by stating the virtues
of hiding her pain. I asked Jeannie, "Do you honestly believe that he doesn't
already know that you are hurt by what he says. By not responding, you let him
know that he is free to continue to criticize you, since there is no negative
consequence for his actions. In short, in his mind, his criticism works."
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Derrick, J. L., Testa, M., & Leonard, K. E. (2014). Daily reports of intimate partner verbal aggression by self and partner: Short-term consequences and implications for measurement. Psychology of Violence, 4(4), 416–431.
Edwards, K. M., Dixon, K. J., Gidycz, C. A., & Desai, A. D. (2014). Family-of-origin violence and college men’s reports of intimate partner violence perpetration in adolescence and young adulthood: The role of maladaptive interpersonal patterns. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15(2), 234–240.
Iverson, K. M., Gradus, J. L., Resick, P. A., Suvak, M. K., Smith, K. F., & Monson, C. M. (2011). Cognitive–behavioral therapy for PTSD and depression symptoms reduces risk for future intimate partner violence among interpersonal trauma survivors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(2), 193–202.
Marshall, A. D., Jones, D. E., & Feinberg, M. E. (2011). Enduring vulnerabilities, relationship attributions, and couple conflict: An integrative model of the occurrence and frequency of intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(5), 709–718.
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