Power and Control

Abuse is about power and control. Below are examples of classic ways in which a batterer uses power and control to get what they want. Using intimidation: making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying her property, abusing pets, displaying weapons. Using emotional abuse: putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think she’s crazy, playing mind games, humiliating her, making her feel guilty. Using isolation: controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes, limiting her outside involvement, using jealousy to justify actions. Minimizing, denying, and blaming: making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously, saying the abuse didn’t happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying she caused it. Using children: making her feel guilty about the children, using the children to relay messages, using visitation to harass her, threatening to take children away. Using male privilege: treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle”, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles. Using economic abuse: preventing her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, taking her money, not letting her know about or have access to family income. Using coercion and threats: making and/or carrying out threats to hurt her, threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare, making her drop charges, making her do illegal things.