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Learn About Coercive Control and Psychological Abuse

Men’s tactics of coercive control against female partners

– Posted in: Male perpetrators Warning signs of abuse Why does he do it

Types of tactics

The following list of tactics of power and control summarises the list that you can download by subscribing to SpeakOutLoud in the side panel.   I have written separate blog posts explaining each of the following ways men use coercive control against female partners:

Systematic pattern of power and control

As the above list suggests, physical violence is just one tactic among many that some men subject their female partners to. And not all these men use physical violence — ever. Rather they use some, or all, of the above psychological and structural forms of control.

Each behaviour, when looked at separately, could seem justifiable. Each singular behaviour could look like something minor. Each behaviour on its own could appear that the woman provoked it. Just one of these behaviours viewed from the outside — out of context — could appear like he was just having a bad day.

However, look at this short list in its entirety. Now consider this mass of behaviours as a systematic pattern. Also know that women who are subjected to this pattern of abuse and control experience MANY of these tactics — every day, every week, every month, every year — for years and years. Then ask yourself if you think this systematic pattern of power and control is about the man just having a bad day. Or is there a campaign (whether it is conscious or not) to win at all costs and to maintain power and control?

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  • Victoria 1 April 2016, 2:40 pm

    It’s scary to read this for me, for I am struggling from an abusive relationship from an ex military man. It’s been 6 months since we broke up, and he broke up with me with no warning, no communication, nothing. I was devastated!

    I knew him for 4 years. We dated last August. I thought he was the one. A dream come true! He was too good to be true. We lived together after 3 weeks. Before I was diagnosed with emotional abuse, there were red flags I didn’t know till now. He had a head injury in Iraq, with short term memory loss problems. Sometimes he would zone out. He told me once he missed being in Iraq which I found disturbing. He wasn’t very social, more like uncomfortable in public.

    We didn’t totally move in together, I brought things with me that made me feel comfortable. We were on a trial basis. I felt isolated. He wanted to be with me 24\7, at first I thought it was flattery, but I had animals at home I needed to tend to and that I needed at least 2 nights at home. He took it the wrong way and gave me too much space and that I made him feel guilty.

    I went on a trip with him and his friends to his trailer. We got into our first fight because I accidentally stepped on his freshly shined boot, flipped out and treated me like a child. The next day one of my bffs were murdered. But I still stayed the whole weekend. When we got home our fights got worse and he acted weird towards me. He barely kissed me or had sex, like I was being punished. He never went to my friend’s wake with me and that hurt. I went alone. He blew me off for Halloween, which was my favorite holiday and didn’t wanna go out, but ended up going out with his friends, leaving me crying.

    We had fb issues as well. He barely posted any pics of us, or changed his relationship status. I was skeptical about a girl he was friends with, and her daughter was his godchild. He posted pics of all of them and I got really upset. He had alot of girlfriends that I liked alot, except her. He also knew I had guy friends as well and a couple were ex boyfriends from years ago. We discussed all that that if it was a problem, to end it now. He didn’t.

    He was close with my bff and talked to her alot when we had problems, how much he loved me and didn’t wanna lose me. That he’s been obsessed with me for 4 years. A week later he tells me that our fighting is ruining our relationship, things weren’t gonna be the same and he just wanted to be friends. I said mean things to him cuz if the way he was treating me and apologized many times for it, he couldn’t get passed it. I tried being friends but couldn’t do it anymore cuz he wasn’t trying. I was the only one who fought for this relationship. He never contacted me like he used to or called me like he use to and stop telling me he loved me. I didn’t understand what happened. He told my friend I broke up with him but didn’t know we were together, he just wanted to be friends. Never heard from him since.

    Christmas day, which is a bad time for me, I contacted him because I was really hurt about what happened and was confused. He didn’t care and said horrible things to me. It got so bad I lost my mind and ended up in a mental ward, I was that heartbroken and it was that bad. This was not the man I fell in love with. That’s when I was diagnosed.

    When I got out I was doing OK, but still had no closure. I had the courage in March to text him for closure. He was more hurtful and nasty then ever, threatening harassment charges, to leave him alone. I never got my closure but the same friend that talked to him talked to him again. He said he broke up with me because of friends with ex boyfriends, accusing me of cheating, calling me crazy and can’t handle a break up, that he felt sorry for the guys I dated, didn’t care that I lived or died, that he doesn’t love me anymore and wants nothing to do with me, and I still don’t understand why!!! I also found out he’s friends with 2 ex girlfriends, on and off with one for years, which is hypocritical!.

    I was doing really good till that conversation, which screwed me up more. My recovery went downhill after that. I’m more depressed now than ever and doing everything I can to forget the horrible things he said about me. I can’t get them out of my head. I’m scared I won’t be able to get through this. Being abused like that takes time, I know this but, I live in fear and depression everyday and I don’t know how to snap out of this and take my power back.

  • Baylis 15 March 2016, 10:09 am

    I have a very similar situation with my husband (together 8 years) – it sounds very similar to yours – the constant blaming, the put downs, especially the financial abuse (he makes a lot more money but expects me to pay for everything). I keep changing my mind about whether to stay or go. He has worn me down to the point where I have few friends and few financial resources. It’s hard to imagine being able to successfully build a new life. It happens slowly, like a frog in hot water, so you don’t realize that it’s happening until you are under his control. I feel that I am becoming aware of the ways he controls me, and I want to be free, but it’s as though some force inside compels me to stay.

  • kay 28 February 2016, 2:15 am

    You have to find the smallest spark of light left within yourself..believe me if your writing this it is there…use it to make a plan, gather up your things and walk away. Find a good therapist for support so you don’t slip back. I have left an abusive relationship after 5 years of soul destroying hell. I have no family, no close friends, and have a young child. There have been days I thought I would go under, either take my life or illness would get me through the stress of the abusive cycle. I have done a lot of reading on this subject and learned why we get caught in these toxic dynamics. Knowledge really is power. I am still here and am so pleased I am. My child needs me to be the healthiest I can. In fact I want him to have a happy childhood..that was another wake up call. Some days are an awful struggle but I would now rather die struggling to be a free soul, a lone parent than being subjected to anymore humiliation, abuse.

  • Monique 18 December 2015, 9:20 am

    The systemic targeting and abuse of women culturally, by vested interests has impacted the women of my family significantly. One of the tactics used I’m observing, is the male creating false narratives and making out that I did, what he has done. I have happily walked away from relationships, friendships and potential relationships due to the endemic misogynism and use and abuse of my being for their own twisted purposes, as minions for a corrupt and destructive “status quo”. The inability to treat me with the slightest respect and be servants to those that seek to destroy all of us, show how thoroughly misleading these poor misguided fellows are.

    However, considering the lifetimes of abuse suffered by women (by all of us), my eternal patience and sympathy are being replaced by a practical requirement, for all they have put on me falsely, to be returned back to them and for them to be seen as the lying, duplicitous, fools that they choose to be at times.

    It has been tiresome, to attempt to solve these issues of male/female relationships, that are rooted in hierarchical/warfare/dominating constructs, that have resulted in the destruction we see in our societies and to our planet, today.

    Shame on them for their metaphysical abuse and targeting of a fellow being who has done their best, to demonstrate in a myriad of ways and explain to them what the issues are, from a larger range of perspectives. Their ignorance brings no bliss to me. The psychological warfare, the imposition, the countless attempts to force me into a belief system or doctrine, that suits their masters purposes… The set ups, smear campaigns, harassment on many fronts and levels constantly, show what pathetic bullying, superficial, immature, possessive, sexist fools they can be, to someone who has no desire to hurt anyone and has simply wanted to assist in solving the issues of the times.

    There is much more of course, that could be expounded upon in more depth, yet hopefully those of you who can filter through the utter nonsense, will have the true wisdom to understand somewhat, beyond any cultural or perspective bias. Of course, the various systems, abuses these men by conditioning and controlling them to enact these activities, hence ceding power to those who are unfit to have it.

  • Jerikyo 17 December 2015, 1:49 am

    It’s 718 am in East LA, California and I am laying here reading all this man has done to me …even after I leave him I have to find out what happened. Then he withholds my property from me for months literally making me search him out. The first ten months were pretty great then he ‘temporarily’ moves in with me and does everything I am reading about! Thank you! Now, I have a name to call the actions he has done to me.

    I wish I can stop him at his game and make him look at himself as he is. The only blame I have for myself is I allowed some things to slide and forgot who I was. And we are not even married, nor do we live in our own home! Nov. 12, 2014 he managed to get me evicted from my adorable single apartment and we have been homeless ever since. Since then, he has done everything and more to smear my name to my family and friends and make himself the poor victim because I left him. Now, he seeks revenge ever since…. I want to sue him and have a judge and/or jury mandate him SUPERVISED work with/for battered women to undo damage he inflicts upon me as well as abusers who are convicted. To ‘unlearn’ the processes and tactics of emotional and physical abuse. He is, “ABOVE THE LAW” in his mind and actions. He’s a Jewish raised Israeli residing in LA more than 35 years. Me? I’m a multi racial American with enough education to acquire a BA in Anything!
    Yet, here I sit. What can I do and who can I refer to? Thank you for this informative information.

  • d 13 December 2015, 5:05 am

    I’ve had to deal with an abuser and have gone through all the abuse one possibly can go through with an abuser. Through all this I’ve been traumatized and lost alot of trust in people. Lost trust as in what I’ve experienced with a very violent abuser. Then I lost trust in those that were to help but they lied and did nothing to help. I’ve grown to be stronger and a survivor. I will never talk to another abuser/controller as I can easily spot these types now from what I went through. These are the worst type to be involved with and one can never be happy with these types. They don’t like to see others happy – they keep you down and isolated etc. I am happy to be out and away from that.

  • Mich 1 December 2015, 1:27 pm

    I was with my abuser for 2 and a half years. He left when my baby was nine months old. Just completely cut us off with nothing. I’d paid for everything, I was in debt, my kids had nothing. I had nothing at all left he even swapped my furniture. He gained control of me by raping me then making me believe it was me trying to scare him.

    He got his family involved who told me it wasn’t rape and that I was trying to scare him?! Why scare your new partner with rape? It hardly says let’s be together forever. I actually believed it was me until about four months ago. He made me isolate friends by pretending he had, so I had to. Told them I forced him to cut them off when he volunteered so he could isolate me in return. He accused me of having an affair then said he would confront him with friends, I didn’t know this bloke. He still thinks we had an affair. He tells people I was in love with him. I never said that, in fact, the only thing I could say was I met him once and wasn’t at my best.

    When we came out of a night out I’m sure I saw someone he knew there. I’ve had a window cleaner who no one knows clean my windows recently. The damage he did while I was pregnant and after birth has left me with triggers he enjoys switching. He tells everyone I’m the abuser. Makes me look crazy by sending me backwards.

    Since my daughter was two hours old I’ve been told he’s taking her from me and were on his millionth attempt, yet no one says a word. She’s now over 3 and he’s still manipulating everyone. He calls the police for hours if I do and I get blamed. Everything he does gets left at my feet.

    People say cut him off but we have a child. He was still turning up in the middle of the night after we split. Last week he told me who I mustn’t talk to. I know he slanders me on social media and his friends and family do to, I’ve been told there are messages and dirt that’s been dug up and handed round.

    The police seem to stand by him. Everyone does. I left him three years ago. I don’t even feel like I’ve left yet. I still have all the same symptoms as he won’t let me heal. Every time I try, he’s there to thwart my efforts. I told him I’d suffered with anxiety so he asked all about it then brought it back. He disguised my abuse as pnd and I was sent for counselling, where I defended him when they said he was abusive! We went for counselling together and the counsellor said I wasn’t making the effort to reconcile when I was banned from saying why I threw him out. His insidious threats continue yet no one sees what I see. Now, I’m getting to watch him abuse his child and his new girlfriend. If anyone knows how I make this one on the carpet and remove his influence over my entire life, I’d greatly appreciate any tips :/

  • Aggie 25 November 2015, 11:45 pm

    I’m so glad I read this. Thank you for the article and to everyone sharing their stories. My husband blamed me for my being sexually abused by father several hundred times between 2,yrs-10yrs of age, and he still continues with so many of the behaviours listed here, 3 years after separation.

    I’ve had 5 broken bones in the past 3 years. Leaving is dangerous. I lost my self worth and gained 30kg during the marriage. I lost all the weight when we separated. Other men find me attractive (I’m not interested) and it infuriates him, yet he has his second new girlfriend already. We share a teenage child so I still have to have some contact and my husband never misses an opportunity for a sly nasty put down. He knows exactly how to trigger my abuse trauma reactivity, and then tells everyone I’m crazy. It makes him feel good, lots of sympathetic women think he’s a poor darling. If only they knew! He even managed to have me locked up by convincing a crooked male cop I was a risk to myself, because I cut my long hair short when I was being abused really badly one day. The only time I feel like killing myself is when I have to endure his spite/shaming.

    When I started to take care of my appearance again he told me I was too old and men wouldn’t want me, so he was prepared to take me back so I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life alone. He wants me to suffer financially so I can’t afford to socialise and in the hope my son won’t want to live with me, but my son is being raised by me to be a good man, and he loves his father but despises his father’s negativity and twisted thinking. My son knows.

    Today I gave up on the illusion of friendship, and my foot was broken in the process. Last week it was my finger. 2 months ago it was my ribs. 2 years ago it was my face. This man is a Jekyll and Hyde monster to me, but charming to others. I had to give up playing music because he was always upset I had more music ability than him. He kept playing himself. I can’t even listen to him talk anymore. I can’t believe I stayed so long with someone who enjoyed hurting me. I’ve given up on trying to placate now. I’m an explosion of refusal to take one iota of crap, and I’m not sorry.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 4 November 2015, 6:40 am

    Z… there is life after years of abuse. It never feels possible while you’re in it. With support from counsellors who really truly ‘get’ the types of abuse and control you’ve been subjected to, you will flourish beyond anything you thought possible. If you can’t find the support you need close by, remember you can use FaceTime or Skype to start getting support from me to unravel from this tight ball. https://speakoutloud.net/counselling

  • Z 2 November 2015, 6:16 am

    I have been mentally abused for the last 7 years, my partner from an army background shattered my self worth, insulted me on a daily basis saying he was ‘just joking’. We broke up many times after he told me I was never good enough. Then when I re-build my life and get control he comes back and gets back in somehow!

    I’m now depressed, wanting to kill myself, close to losing my job because I can’t cope with stress anymore and I feel ashamed for having believed the same lies years after years. I’m angry with myself for not having control of my emotions anymore to the point that I have lost the will to live.

    I go to work and stay in an empty home as he decided 2 years ago that he was going to work abroad. You would think well great he only comes back 3/4 times a year but my life is hell. I feel like I have no family, no friends, an empty house I come to, but what for, just to wait for him?

    It feels like I’m supposed to be here and deserve this painful situation where I don’t even lift the blinds up but only at weekends. We were supposed to go on holiday next week to re-build trust in our relationship. This Thursday I found out after not hearing from him at all that he went drinking with a sailing friend. When I facetimed him he looked completely hammered like he had cheated and more! I asked why he wouldn’t answer his phone for 8 hours. He said he was sailing! It killed me to see that he played with my trust again it’s like he does it overtime. So I cried and smashed a painting of his and said that’s what you just did to me again by lying and cheating. 8 years later I’m in the same pattern of cheating lies, abuse, insults put downs, threats and I’m just scared to lose everything again.

  • Kathy 16 October 2015, 5:42 am

    Susan, I don’t know if you will read this, but you’ve been given a golden opportunity by him being in jail. You need to literally disappear if at all possible. It sounds crazy, but staying is much crazier. GET AWAY to a safe place and reorganize your life. It may be scary at first, but you can do it. I got away and lived to tell. You’re in an abusive relationship and it will only get worse. He will never stop, NO MATTER what he says. This is an absolute truth. You will be a prisoner and he will be your own personal terrorist for as long as you let him.

  • jenn 29 August 2015, 5:58 pm

    kieran, you need to “GET AWAY” as fast as you can–this person is dangerous and so destructive. He does not care about you. Even if you are married, who cares. Get the heck away from this crazy person. He is capable of anything.

  • susan 13 August 2015, 1:45 am

    My partner is as controlling as they come. He is currently serving a sentence for domestic assault on me and somehow he still manages to control everything I do and I don’t know how I fall for it, I am a puppet. I am 22 with two children one of which is his. I have so many rules to follow and I find it’s easier to follow them than break them. I have to visit him every day and on weekends it’s all day from 8.30am until 6pm. I am not allowed friends or social media. I am only allowed to call my mum. I am not allowed a computer or to go out the front of my house. I am only allowed to get fuel and go to the shops if necessary. If I go to the mall it’s to buy him something. I have to email 5 times every 10 minutes to anyone who has kids you can understand the difficulty. I am not allowed to nap during the day I have to swear on my children every few emails silly things like I haven’t contacted anyone or I haven’t been anywhere. I’m not allowed to drink or go anywhere. He asks randomly for me to send him pictures of where I am so I can’t go anywhere. To the extent which when I gave birth to our daughter I had to visit him that day she is three months old now.

    I think I am scared because of how he used to abuse me when he was home. He definitely minimizes what he’s done, making jokes and playing it off as a joke. He gaslights me and makes me feel crazy and the one to blame. He has unrealistic expectations of me. If I am five minutes late to email he will go on about it for days – it’s exhausting. He mentally exhausts me and I think it’s on purpose. He is tedious and clever. I was studying science at a university 2 years ago now I can’t even talk to people without shaking. He jokes around about turning me agoraphobic. I don’t think he is joking. I am becoming increasingly anxious in public. He gets out in 2 months.

  • Helen 8 July 2015, 8:42 am

    My daughter has filed domestic abuse against her husband and divorce is underway. However she is not allowed to move until court gives an ok. Husband had been staying with a friend but has now rented an apartment two blocks away on the same street. He is very controlling with two teenagers. My daughter has so far been able to keep custody of their six year old daughter. She is afraid of them being so close. He is teaching the boys that it is was all her fault.

  • Brenda 6 July 2015, 4:27 pm

    My Dad was an awful abuser! My ex-husband of 22 years was a three way abuser! It’s taken me 14 years to get over both of them. I don’t trust men. I’m wary of any future relationship. I’m a bundle of nerves, most days. After trying to commit suicide, I’ve been in therapy for 14 years. There are still days I can’t face people.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 January 2015, 5:07 pm

    michelle…..Walk away. I’ve been following women’s comments for 14 years. I’ve researched relationships like the one you are in for 14 years. I’ve counselled thousands of women who wish they got out of there sooner. It ALWAYS gets worse. Walk away while you have your sanity. Women lose themselves the longer they stay. The longer you stay the harder it will be for you to get out and develop a HEALTHY relationship with someone else. Walk away safely. He sounds like a controlling possessive man who might get nasty if you say you are going to leave, or if you do leave. Get support to leave and follow your gut instinct about how he might react. You do not have to inform him unless or until you are safely out of there. The balance of nice times and bad times that you describe WILL increasingly tip towards more and more bad, then all bad….Clare

  • michelle 14 January 2015, 4:46 pm

    I have been dating a guy for about 5 years. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable. In ways that are hard to explain or justify. He will twist things I say in discussion back on me and I feel too overwhelmed to explain to him what he is doing.
    I make very little money and spend most of it on him and the rest on gas for my car that he drives. He makes a great deal of money. When he drinks he often gets angry at me and seemingly makes up a problem to yell at me.
    I feel like all I do is bend over for him. He will make inappropriate (and negative) sexual comments about me in front of all of his or my friends. When I confront him about it or tell him it hurt or embarrassed me, he gets angry and looks disgusted. He says things like “SO-RRY. I won’t joke around with you ever again. Fucking god”.

    And if I can’t do something for him or his friends when they are over, he will get so mad but won’t confront me. For example he asked me if I would drive to the store and get everyone drinks, I told him that I was out of money (which I was) and he gave me the death glare that meant I would pay later for “embarrassing him in front of his friends”.

    He also complains a lot. It’s not like he doesn’t have things to stress out about because he really does, but he seems unhappy whenever we are home alone. If we go out he is usually charming and fun. If I ever have a problem however, he either doesn’t listen or gets angry.
    I’ve gotten really good at putting up with his stress and rude mean comments, but sometimes he will say or do something especially sharp and I will get upset. If I cry in front of him he yells at me for crying. Come to think of it, if I am ever not 100% chipper he gets upset at me.
    And when it comes to sex he will put me in situations that I do not like. He will come home for a minute before needed to go somewhere, and ask for sex or oral and it comes down to 1) do it even though I don’t want to, or 2) have him be angry at me for the rest of the day. He does this especially right before we are about to go somewhere together.

    And sometimes he will do things during sex that hurts me and I can’t tell him or else he will push me off and be very angry. I have to pretend I like it, or prepare to stay up for the rest of the night with his angry ranting.
    He has never physically hit or pushed me. Except for one time but he played it off like an accident. He has however reacted violently around me. Throwing stuff, punching and kicking things, etc. Sometimes he breaks my stuff. One time he punched a hole into a painting I did while he was trying to fix the hanger for me. He said he wouldn’t have broken it if he didn’t “have to fix the fucking thing in the first place”.
    He doesn’t even say super mean things to me like “you are a bitch” or “shut the fuck up” — he has, but not often.
    He has minor psychological controls but they are really seeming to add up.
    The rest of the time we are very happy, which makes the manipulation almost worse, because it comes out of the blue.
    What do I do? Fight more, try to make a difference in his behavior, or walk away?

  • Sharon 4 January 2015, 10:26 pm

    Sounds like my husband. Met when I was 20. We got married in 1997 and he went to university to do his degree while I worked. When he finished it was supposed to be my turn but there was always a reason I couldn’t.

    I raised the kids and we stayed with my mother in law. I never had control of the money nor proper access to it and I’d get put down constantly, criticised and made to feel like dirt.

    My husband refused to get a house of our own and if I pushed the issue he’d threaten to kick me out penniless.

    Their family and my children went on holidays and I had to climb through the window to get inside as they refused to give me a key to the deadbolted house. They actually had asked me to leave and I’d inquired as to where and my husband told me it wasn’t his problem.

    My husband once punched my stomach, then two punches to the head.

    Today after 15 years I have severe anxiety, still no degree, my husband finally got a house, but an investment house with his sister. We still live with his mother. There is apparently no money saved (it’s hidden) and I’m stuck here. If I leave I leave my kids, with no money, no education and no hope.

    P.S My real name is Daniel, my husband is really my wife. It’s not just women who suffer though I acknowledge it’s primarily women.

  • lady 23 July 2013, 4:15 pm

    Have your daughter watch the movie ‘Gaslight’ with Ingrid Bergman. It’s a 1940s b/w movie about psychological abuse. And a classic. She shouldn’t watch it with her husband, but at a friend’s house.

    As far as documenting abuse, what I did with my gaslighting ex is . . . I used the Voice Memo on my smartphone. I turned the Sound OFF so he wouldn’t hear the ping when I began recording.

    Thankfully I wasn’t married to my abuser, nor did we live together or have children together. When I decided to leave, I did so without warning. Two weeks later I went to my abuser’s house to get a few personal items. My very wise therapist suggested I bring a friend along, so that I wouldn’t be alone with him. I made a detailed list of items I wanted, brought big bags to carry things and we were in-and-out in 4 minutes. He was speechless. And powerless. Perfect.

    I would also recommend the book: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It’s about how abusers groom their victims. And also how NOT to live in fear, but to trust your intuition.

  • Ruth 9 February 2013, 12:51 pm

    Whew… this sounds like my brother to a T. Two-faced and trying to win everyone’s favor at my expense (by smearing my reputation).

    I think it’s a matter of “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. If you HAD discussed it with him (which would have probably consisted of him denying everything and refusing to take responsibility) he would have found some other way to paint you in a bad light.

    It’s great that you left. I’m in the process of cutting my brother out of my life as well and, like you, I know there will be a price to pay (people who believe the crap he’s spewing).

    I’m reading articles like this to educate myself as much as possible. I want to be able to spot this sort of behaviour a mile away. Thanks for the information Clare.

  • Rachael 1 January 2013, 10:56 pm

    I have just left my ex who used many of these tactics plus a few different ones. He is now using our children to get to me. I wish I had known or realsied the signs. Now it is just his words against mine. I have been fortunate to get suppport and help from a number of DV services and the police domestic liason officer or I would still be stuck with this man and my children would grow up subjected to his abuse towards me.

  • IM1229 22 September 2012, 3:29 am

    As a retired police officer, I know that emotional abuse can be worse than physical, mostly because its harder to prove. But it can be done. Write down things he said and what your response was. Try to avoid saying how it made you feel and focus more on what was said and in what context. A judge can understand that, rather than saying you feel depressed and worthless as a result. That’s pretty much a given. I have been the victim of psychological abuse, so I know its effects. There is great book on Verbal Abuse, I wish I had the book with me. But if you can’t buy one, go to the library or look thru the Internet. You’ll be shocked at what is considered abuse that you probably never thought of, things like getting the “silent treatment” or being the butt of a joke and being told you are too sensitive.

  • Sherry 4 September 2012, 12:34 pm

    My daughter has this happening to her – but how do you prove it in court. They are going through a divorce and custody battle and live in the same house until the first hearing in two weeks. He has never been physical but degrades her about everything and says stuff in front of her 3 year old son.

  • kieran 21 February 2012, 12:40 pm

    My boyfriend continues to use every power and coercion technique known to all military personnel as his brother was in the military and learned very confusing, mastermind psychological tactics…he continues to beat me physically using punching, slapping, choking, throwing objects, spitting, pouring water on me then throwing the bottle at my head, publicly humiliating me, in front of his friends, to stop talking back saying ‘nobody wants to listen to me’…ingoring and withholding affection and attention, cheating, lying, manipulating.
    Just recently, I called his work and found out he had been calling out because he was busy taking the girl he is cheating on me with, to dinner and out spending money on her. The same night I called him only several seconds after his text message because I was on the side of the road with no gas and needed help. I was only one mile away from his house. He didn’t pick up and refused to give me just ten dollars for gas when he had over $1500 in his pockets and I was broke because I just spent all my 300 dollars to my name on him. He just didn’t ‘feel like helping me’ or lending me a measly ten dollars.
    He then turned the whole thing around on me and said I’m cheap and didn’t spend enough money on him and how dare I contact his work…I’m a sneak and I must ‘be hiding something if I’m digging’ then threatened me and is currently using three of the above tactics.
    Another time, he punched my in my face and banged my head against the car window, spit on me, slapped my face hard and threw me into the street because I shaved my private area against his wishes. My own privates are not mine, they are his and belong to him, all while he’s cheating on me.
    He searches through my phone, intimidates me, spins things around on me, changes the subject and hangs up in the middle of my sentence when he simply ‘doesn’t feel like LISTENING’ to me. I have been physically, mentally, psychologically and sexually as well as financially used and abused for three years and he continues to use marriage over my head, because he’s playing on my emotions and using my heart and mind against me. Everything I’ve ever explained about my past and relationships have been thrown into my face and twisted. He uses this never ending ‘campaign’ of power and control, making me prove myself and jump through constant hoops to benefit him directly and if I go against his wishes, he will somehow twist what I say in such a way that makes me confused and speechless.

  • sylvie 16 February 2012, 5:02 am

    I hear you, sister. Exhausted and feeling stuck, I do a lot of praying too! Good luck to you in the future. I remember what a teacher once told me: “People will only treat us a certain way if we allow it.” In other words, we need to value ourselves first!

  • Carol Crawford 18 September 2011, 12:00 pm

    I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I can give an example of mental, verbal, or physical abuse for almost each bullet point. My ex continues to deny the abuse. The list is very accurate.

  • charmaine 18 May 2011, 10:15 pm

    I should have seen the red flags a long time ago, but ignored them all. My partner always tells me – “It’s not the end of the world”, “I don’t need to listen to you crying”, “I have a lot on my plate” – whenever I try to explain to him when he has hurt my feelings or simply try to communicate with him. I’m scared at times to even ask, or say anything to him, feeling he will be mad at me, and won’t speak to me. Right now, Im so emotionally drained in our relationship, that I’m hating who I am. I have lost myself, and don’t know what to do. To keep myself sane, I do a lot of praying.

  • K 1 April 2011, 2:51 am

    It should be included that physically preventing a person from walking out the door (by blocking the door, restraining them, or carrying them back into the house) is considered domestic violence in some states.

  • MM 15 September 2009, 9:14 pm

    This list is something I have longed to see. Abusers have a list of tactics that seem to come out of a manual for abuse – which is kept hidden from victims! Here’s one more: my ex husband used to make agreements with me in private which he would completely contradict in public. And, being a polite sort, I would not tackle him on it in public but waited until I could do so in private. Alas, it meant that he won. The one time I reacted immediately and said, “Hey, that’s not what we discussed”, he turned on me viciously and said I was going to do what he said. End of discussion. He did that to me in front of his ex-wife and daughter! I was humiliated and angry. Later, in private, he resorted to wheedling to get his way, and promised to make it up to me. From his point of view, the tactic worked – and he did it again and again, over my protests. Finally, I said that if he tried it again, I would humiliate him in public. I wrote down my experience of this pattern, and he acted shocked and replied, “That’s not very flattering”. I noticed he didn’t say it was untrue…

    Well, I am a proud woman and his treatment did not go down well. His goal was to charm and be beloved by others, and I was nothing more than his accessory. My needs and feelings simply were not a consideration in his life. His charm was amazing. When I left him, he tried to steal my friends and family. It almost worked on one of them, and I suspect he might have told my cousin something I said to him in private that might hurt her. They are friends these days…

    The last straw I think was his more frequent drinking, falling down in the snowbank drunk, at events we both attended. He defended himself by saying, “I was just having fun”, setting me up as the woman who only wanted to spoil his fun. I left, finally, after a winter of that treatment.

    I left him without notice. That, somehow, is supposed to be a bad thing. According to some “rules”, leaving is something you’re supposed to discuss, or be declared a coward. This, I think, is important to address.

    If I told him I was leaving, I would have to leave on his terms, not mine. For many women who are leaving, this is the most dangerous time, including the possibility of murder. This is not to be underestimated by anyone who might say, “Oh, I know ____, and he would never do that.” The TV image of a woman grabbing a suitcase and hauling it out the door past the guy they’re leaving, who actually gets out of the way and lets her go just because she tells him to – is a fairytale.

    So, I left him “for nothing” and was roundly condemned for it. Of course, I knew that would happen due to his charm. That was four years ago. I smile now to think about that, but it still bothers me that he may have influenced my cousin. The fact that he tried to take my friends (the higher status ones) bothered me. He wanted to charm them into his fold. I can do nothing about this. I can only accept it as the price paid to get my life back, and it is painful but still worth it.

    No, the guy never beat me. About our relationship, I can say this, “A guy doesn’t have to beat a woman up to beat her down”.

  • B 3 August 2009, 1:38 pm

    I see these things and they do match some losers that I have been with. Ever since – I’ve been single for a long time and it is hard to trust anyone after that. It is very sad that when a good man can’t even get a chance to treat a woman right all because somebody else ruined it for him a long time ago.