• Mathilde Fjordbak Janus
  • Christina Thea Frankø Roe
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Even in our late modern society, Intimate Partner Violence is a phenomenon of great
prevalence. Many women experience that their romantic relationships with a partner
includes physical and psychological violence. The understanding of love and what it
entails for these women, and the role love plays in these violent romantic relationships,
is scarcely investigated. This master’s project seeks to understand the phenomenon
from a narrative perspective and with a focus on love narratives. It also seeks to
study the changes in narratives based on different time periods: before, during and
after the violent romantic relationships. Four women were recruited through the social
media platform Facebook and were included in the study after answering a series
of screening questions over the phone before the interview. All four women participated
in individual semi-structured interviews which were guided by a timely chronological
order based on before, during and after the violent romantic relationship.
They were asked about the relationship itself and their understanding of love during
the different time periods. The interviews were transcribed, and the analysis of the
interviews was based on post structural, social constructionist and narrative perspectives,
and was conducted using Dorte M. Søndergaard’s analysis method. Firstly, the
authors read, thematized and categorized the empirical material. After this, the categories
and themes were condensed, and the authors looked for and identified procedural
patterns in the material. This resulted in the formulation of analytical questions
which could contribute to answering the research questions. It became clear that
there were two kinds of narratives: relationship narratives and love narratives. The
analytical questions were answered using narrative theory, and the different narratives
were identified and compared. It was found that there were great differences
between relationship narratives dependent on whether it was a prior narrative or the
current narrative of the women. One important example is, while the women prior to
their release of the relationship saw the violence as a result of their own behaviour
and regarded the behaviour of their violent partner as expressions of love; the women’s
current relationship narratives look at the violence as unjustifiable and the behaviour
as controlling and manipulating. It was found that the love narratives from
the different time periods both had similarities and important differences. Similarities
were for example the picture of love as an intense twosomeness and the goal of love
is seen as the achievement of a nuclear family. Important differences between love
narratives during and after the violent relationship were that the love narrative during
the relationship valued love to the extent that it determined the value of the women,
while the love narrative after the relationship describes love as dangerous, risky and
as an opposite to freedom. Using theories of processes of partner violence and also
cognitive and social constructionistic theories it is discussed which role the relationship
narratives and love narratives play to each other and to the women’s entrapment
in the violent romantic relationships. From this discussion a model is presented
to explain the complexity of violent relationships and therefor offers a nuanced response
to the question often asked, “why do these women not just leave?”. The model
shows how the women are trapped in a spiral of sexist gender norms, partner violence
processes, cognitive dissonance and shows upon which basis the love- and relationship
narratives are developed and contribute to these processes. The project concludes
that cognitive, social and partner violent specific processes entraps the women
in violent relationships, and therefor speaks to the understanding that the women are
not in these relationships because of personal distributes. Instead, it is indicated that
the women are in these violent relationships due to social and cognitive processes.
Implications for clinical practice and recommendations for future research is ultimately
Publication date30 May 2022
Number of pages104
ID: 471657587