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:
- One-sided power games including behaviours that ensure he has his way at her expense
- Mind games including guilt trips and confusing her in ways that make her feel crazy
- Inappropriate restrictions including refusing to let her work
- Isolation including controlling incoming information such as what she reads
- Over-protection and ‘caring’ including dissuading her from going out alone in case she gets raped
- Emotional unkindness, violation of trust, Cyberbullying including promising to help and then ‘forgetting’
- Degradation & suppression of potential including criticising her strengths and achievements
- Separation abuse including stalking such as leaving flowers – this sends a threatening message that he can always find her no matter where she is. Whereas, an outsider might look at this act, and think of it as a caring gesture.
- Using social institutions including engaging in child custody battles to maintain power over her
- Using social prejudices such as saying to a disabled partner that she can’t even walk out the door – this reinforces his power
- Denial including refusing to take responsibility for the harm he causes
- Minimising by saying “it wasn’t that bad, get over it”
- Blaming by twisting the story so she appears responsible
- Making excuses such as blaming stress at work
- Using children for example saying he wouldn’t get so angry if she kept the children quiet
- Economic abuse including not allowing her access to any money, or putting her in charge of the budget, but then spending all the money and abusing her when the debt mounts
- Intimate Partner Sexual abuse including pressuring her to have sex when she is sick
- Symbolic aggression including threats to harm her family, friends, pets
- Domestic slavery including punishing her for not carrying out duties he claims she should have, while not carrying out his own
- Physical violence: Men’s Motivations including hair pulling and dragging her along the floor
- Cyber abuse, Online social cruelty, Cyber bullying, Cyber stalking
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?