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Interventions for Leaving a Violent Relationship
Violent Relationships continuing education social worker CEUs

Section 10
Romantic Ideology of Abusers

CEU Question 10 | CEU Test | Table of Contents | Domestic Violence
Social Worker CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

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On the last track we discussed the Road Blocks of Self Delusions about leaving, Fear, and Loss of Financial Stability many battered women face that postpone their decision stuck in addictive love.

On this track we will discuss how battered women often fall into this cycle of addictive love.

As you know, addictive, non-nurturing love in battering relationships is often learned. Battered women have often been taught from a very young age that love will bring her elated and happy feelings. When a woman values herself less and feels she needs a greater and greater amount of love, her love has become addictive. Have you found, like I, that battered women in addictive love are certain they cannot; nor do they even want to survive without their partner's love, let alone leave?

Three Stages in the "Cycle of Addiction"
As you know, addictive love works itself into a "Cycle of Addiction" for the battered woman. Listen to the following three stages of this Cycle of Addictive Love and think of a battered woman you are currently treating who has talked about leaving. Which stage of the Addictive Love Cycle is she currently experiencing?
-- #1. This cycle can begin when the battered woman feels an overwhelming need for her partner, which is fulfilling at first.
-- #2. However, as soon as the supply for the need is removed and her partner is not available, the battered woman can be overcome with a depressed state. When the man removes himself for long periods of time, battered women can become overpowered by feelings of grief and loneliness.
-- #3. However, if her partner is always there, her dependency grows. As you know, this Cycle of Addiction can cause a permanent and problematic state for the battered woman.

An example of a battered woman who has fallen into the trap of addictive love is Kristy, a 26-year old accountant, who recently became involved with a co-worker, Bryan. Kristy stated, "We were together all day, every day except for when we went to work. Then Bryan started to get irritated with me, like he didn't want to be around me as much. If the least little thing went wrong, like once we ran out of toilet paper, Bryan just blew up. When I was younger I thought that under the right circumstances love would flower. I used to think that everything could be changed, that love could conquer all."

As you can see, Kristy was taught at a young age to anticipate the feelings of elation and happiness from a relationship. This made Kristy very vulnerable to addictive love with Bryan. Kristy's degree of vulnerability related directly to the extent to which she had been taught that love brings elated, happy feelings.

However, battered women are not the only ones who experience this. As you know, battering men often fall into the trap of addictive and dependent love, as well, which has a major impact on the women's ability to leave. These battering men are extremely jealous and feel the need to control each aspect of their partner's life. The battering man's fear of abandonment may lead him to physically and emotionally abuse his partner in an effort make her unable and unwilling to escape. This, in turn, makes the addicted woman more dependent, helpless, and reluctant to leave. Think back to times you've treated clients like these. How did you help them resolve their issues?

What do you do to inform your client about Addictive Love relationships? Kristy benefited from learning four Nurturing Love Basics. As I read these Basics, think of your Kristy and how these may help her to begin to release herself from her cycle of Addictive Love and facilitate her decision to stay or leave..

Learning Four Nurturing Love Basics
-- #1. Love is not a prison. This helped Kristy to see how destructive it is for two people to become engulfed in each other, to the point of one person feeling desperately alone and the other person feeling possessed or possessive.
-- #2. Evaluate the relationship on all levels.Certain aspects of a relationship may feel more dependent and addictive than others. For Kristy, it was important for her to see when these changes occurred.
-- #3. Discover the irrationality and disillusionment of the addictive feelings.The irrationality of the battered woman's feelings about love and her battering partner are best summed up by Dr. Irvin Yalom. According to Yalom, your battered client may be "in love with the idea of being in love." Thus it is important for the battered woman to focus not on the state of being in love, but rather on the person who is loved.
-- #4. Strive to attain the qualities of Nurturing Love. I stated to Kristy, "Nurturing Love promotes personal growth and comes from a realistic love for a person's qualities and personality."

In this track we have discussed the Cycle of Addictive Love that many battered women, and battering men, often fall into. We have also outlined four Nurturing Love Basics that can help you client to further assess they self-delusions about their relationship. Would it be beneficial for you to take a portion of your next session to educate your battered client about addictive love and the basics of nurturing love? If so you might replay this 7 minute tack just prior to you session. To survive her Addictive Love your battered client my need some Life Preserves.

In the next two tracks we will be discussing three Life Preservers battered women utilize in order to cope with the violence and gain new perspectives on leaving.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Bates, E. A. (2020). “Walking on egg shells”: A qualitative examination of men’s experiences of intimate partner violence. Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 21(1), 13–24.

Buttell, F., Cannon, C. E. B., Rose, K., & Ferreira, R. J. (2021). COVID-19 and intimate partner violence: Prevalence of resilience and perceived stress during a pandemic. Traumatology, 27(1), 20–28.

Eisikovits, Z., Tener, D., & Lev-Wiesel, R. (2017). Adult women survivors of intrafamilial child sexual abuse and their current relationship with the abuser. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(3), 216–225. 

Howard, C. J. (2012). Neurobiological correlates of partner abusive men: Equifinality in perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(3), 330–337.

Moskowitz, K., Richmond, K., & Michniewicz, K. (2020). Caught in a bad romance: Endorsement of traditional romantic ideology, internalized heterosexism, and intimate partner violence experiences among sexual minority individuals. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Advance online publication.

Online Continuing Education QUESTION 10
What are the four Nurturing Love Basics that may help your battered client release herself from her Cycle of Addictive Love? To select and enter your answer go to CEU Test.

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