When individuals routinely lack access to interactions that build emotional energy (EE), they use indirect routes to maximize EE. They build strategies around attempting to minimize the loss of EE. I refer to these indirect routes as defensive strategies. Defensive strategies reflect what psychologists refer to as an internal locus of control – placing control over one’s circumstances within one’s self rather than outside in one’s environment. While an internal locus of control may help an individual to adapt to their current situation, it also helps to preserve the status quo. I focus on the case of staying with an abusive domestic partner as an illustration of the social dynamics that underlie apparently self-destructive behavior and the preservation of abusive interaction patterns, including: the formation of defensive strategies, the emotional and cognitive implications of relying on defensive strategies, the situations that are likely to lead to the cessation of defensive strategies in favor of proactive strategies, and the social implications of defensive strategies.
Summers-Effler, E. (2004), "DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES: THE FORMATION AND SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF PATTERNED SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR", Turner, J.H. (Ed.) Theory and Research on Human Emotions (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 309-325. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0882-6145(04)21012-8
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