Being emotionally abused

A phenomenological study of adult women's experiences of emotionally abusive intimate partner relationships

Josie Queen, Army Nurse, Margaret H. Brackley, Gail B. Williams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this study was to explore and describe individual perceptions, meanings, and definitions of emotional abuse through the lived experience of women who identified themselves as being emotionally abused by an intimate partner (IP). To answer the research question, What is it like to live the life of a woman who is emotionally abused by her intimate partner? A descriptive, phenomenological research design was undertaken. Unstructured individual interviews with 15 emotionally abused adult women resulted in the discovery of seven essential themes: captivity, defining moments, disassociation from self, fixing, mindful manipulation, relentless terror, and taking a stand. A combination of a hermeneutic approach and Diekelmann's approach to data analysis was used to explore differences in perceptions and develop essential themes that portrayed the essence of a woman's lived experience of being emotionally abused by her IP. The data also demonstrated that (1) IP emotional abuse has no prerequisite for partner rage or obvious emotional manipulation, (2) the absence of caring and respectful partner behaviors was just as powerful in creating an emotionally abusive experience as openly abusive behaviors, and (3) being emotionally abused was a life journey, encompassing multiple culminations, secondary physical and mental health symptoms, and quality of life issues that extended well beyond the immediate abuse experience.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)237-245
    Number of pages9
    JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
    Volume30
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 2009

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    Rage
    Battered Women
    Mental Health
    Research Design
    Quality of Life
    Interviews
    Research
    Hermeneutics
    Intimate Partner Violence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Phychiatric Mental Health

    Cite this

    Being emotionally abused : A phenomenological study of adult women's experiences of emotionally abusive intimate partner relationships. / Queen, Josie; Nurse, Army; Brackley, Margaret H.; Williams, Gail B.

    In: Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Vol. 30, No. 4, 04.2009, p. 237-245.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Queen, Josie ; Nurse, Army ; Brackley, Margaret H. ; Williams, Gail B. / Being emotionally abused : A phenomenological study of adult women's experiences of emotionally abusive intimate partner relationships. In: Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2009 ; Vol. 30, No. 4. pp. 237-245.
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