“What’s Wrong With You?” How to Deal With Negativity in Abusive Relationships



By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.



Have you ever noticed how some people gravitate toward what’s wrong over what’s right? They spontaneously latch onto what may be problematic as though indulging in it makes them the problem solver.

It postures them from a place of “elevation.” At least that is how it appears to them from its onset…until one realizes they are in the pits hovering over a “problem.”

You Are the Problem

In your presence, you are conveniently the problem. Instead of focusing on what horrible thing just happened or how someone wronged them, you become their negative focus.

You know how it sounds. It is a piercing examination of you being defective to them. It may start out innocently as a “little” question: “Why did you….?” Or, it can be a “casual” comment of… “You always….”

Before you know it, you are the ineffective, defective, deficient person. You are the problem for their masterful solving. You feel diminished and less than…all in a moments time.

Abusive To Self and Other

Some people will tell you that these gestures making you the “what’s wrong” focus is abusive to you. I believe that the focus in general toward what is wrong is abusive to both self and other.

Think about it. Here we are amidst a beautiful day or a lovely evening and one might latch onto what is wrong or what is right. What do you think the person gripping onto the “what’s wrong” agenda feels? Now, for a moment, get into the space of what’s right and notice how you feel.

When you define your moment with negativity, you are indeed negative. You become the less than…deficient being. Whereas, when you embrace what is right, you are that rightness inside and out. I trust you know the difference.

Your Choice, Your Focus, Your Well-being

Here’s the insight for those of you living in an abusive relationship. When your partner leaps into the “what’s wrong with you” conversation, be mindful that this dialogue is not about you. The choice, the focus and the energy is theirs. Keep it so. And know you are in charge of your focus, your energy and your well-being.

Simply shifting your awareness to “this is about them” over “this is about you” will usher you into self-control. It will subtlety place the missing boundaries into your interaction with this person.

The more adept you become in managing this minor (which often becomes major) focus, the easier it will be for you to take charge of the everyday ongoing chronic negativity characteristic of abusive relationships.


Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court.


For information on domestic abuse therapy, visithttp://www.enddomesticabuse.org/domestic_violence_trt.php and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse


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