A common question people ask is what are some practical ways to break the cycle of abuse?

First is identifying the syndrome

It is essential that you have identified the cluster of symptoms that defines domestic violence and understand how it lives in your life. Giving it a name is number one.

If you don’t do that what you end up doing is the following. One day you are treating what troubles you about your partner as though it’s substance abuse. Then, it looks like partner abuse. Then, the next day you treat it like it’s a narcissistic personality disorder. The day after that it could be intermittent explosive disorder.

And you just go round and round and round. But when you give it a name and see it in its full constellation, you can map out a clean and clear treatment plan to break the cycle of abuse.

Second is surrendering responsibility

The victim/survivor absolutely must surrender responsibility for the battering behavior. And by that I mean accountability for it and responsibility to it. Responsibility to “fix it,” or even holding the belief that one has the wherewithal to fix it.

The moment that happens, a window of possibilities opens up. And from here, survivors assume power in the relationship and the ability to effectively break the abuse dynamic.

Three is to have a source of support

The third ingredient and key to offsetting the roller coaster that people experience when trying to break the cycle of abuse is having a source of support external to the relationship. And the operative word here is “external.”

Having a source of support is not sufficient, because you could have a source of support that actually talks you into believing that there is no abuse—supporting your denial.

A source of support external to the relationship and the relationship abuse dynamic, the surrendering of responsibility, and first and foremost the identification of the syndrome can be your roadmap to breaking the cycle of abuse.

Author's Bio: 

For more information on breaking the cycle of abuse, I invite you to check out Domestic Abuse Dynamics: Breaking the Cycle where you can also claim your free Survivor Success Tips and eInsights. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. ©2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D. Visit PreventAbusiveRelationships.com.