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After an Abusive Relationship - Isolation in the Aftermath of an Abusive Relationship

After an Abusive Relationship by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
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We hear of the isolation in an abusive relationship as though it is part of the territory of being in it. And that is true. Isolation is one of the primary characteristics defining intimate partner abuse.

What about the isolation after the abusive relationship... there is little written about that, notes one of our reader/members. As I scan the literature, I recognize it is true.

The isolation in the aftermath of an abusive relationship is chillingly cold. You rally up the courage to confront the abuse in your family and then the resources to navigate the system or get away from it...all to find you are the only one in your orbit after the fact.

That is the isolation in the aftermath of an abusive relationship. How does this happen?

Data Collection as the Cat Is Coming Out of the Bag

Domestic violence survivors are aware of their partner's efforts toward data collection in preparation for exposure and/or the end of the relationship. They catch their partners hiding evidence and gathering data to be used to discredit them and the victimization endured.

It's human nature to hide dead bodies, toss arm casts that babies wore, scavenge email, phone records, text messages... The hunt is on to bury evidence partly through distorting the facts.

Grooming Soldiers in Preparation for War

Data collection also involves drawing out particular information from significant individuals in one's life. It's not uncommon for domestic abuse survivors to notice that their family members are supporting the very person that abused them. It's shocking, however not uncommon.

How this happens is situation specific, but there are some common themes. The abuser seeks to align with individuals that one would expect to be aligned with the abused. This alliance is then used as compelling collaboration for the position the perpetrator seeks to take.

"Compelling" is the operative word here. It's one thing to get your ties to take your position, but when you have the other person's ties...well that's another story!

Family, Friends and Professional Colleagues in the Wake

The manipulation to secure the collaboration often leaves the abused estranged from their family members in the aftermath of their abusive relationship. I have seen countless women cut off from parents, step-parents and siblings at a time when they needed these people the most.

Digging deeper into the survivor's professional life to assist in the attack/defense war of their divorce is more of the same. Your colleagues can become the abuser's helpers and your enemies before you know what happened. We even hear of women losing their license to practice their very profession.

Endless Mommy Elimination

And the saddest part is when these family-less, friend-less, colleague-less women* stand in the aftermath of their abusive relationship also childless. Now here's the oxymoron: When this parent remains childless, she knows that she is still in the abusive relationship, even "after" leaving the relationship. It's not over as long as she is pushed out of her children's lives.

Gaining child custody is only part of it. Using the parent-child relationship as a medium to keep the abuse dynamic alive is classic in these domestic abuse cases.

Isolation as Part of the Abuse Dynamic

If you are on the other side of an abusive relationship and you find yourself standing alone, know you are not alone. There are many people standing in your shoes. Challenge yourself to understand the dynamics you lived/live and trust there are alliances out there waiting for you to establish.

For ongoing domestic violence support, collaboration and communion visit Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. ©Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Abuse Prevention and Intervention

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Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Abuse and Recovery
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After an Abusive Relationship

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