Abusive relationships are based on the mistaken belief that one person has the right to control another. When the actions described in the spokes of this wheel and on the next page don't work, the person in power moves on to actual physical and sexual violence. The relationship is based on the exercise of power to gain and maintain control. The dignity of both partners is stripped away.
Used by permission of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project,
206 West Fourth Street, Duluth, Minnesota 55806
- Making you afraid by using looks, actions, or gestures.
- Smashing things
- Destroying property.
- Abusing pets.
- Displaying weapons.
Using Emotional Abuse
- Putting you down.
- Making you feel bad about yourself.
- Calling you names.
- Making you feel guilty.
- Making you think you are crazy.
- Playing mind games.
- Humiliating you.
- Controlling what you do, whom you see and talk to, what you read, and where you go.
- Limiting your outside involvement.
- Using jealousy to justify actions.
Denying, Blaming, Minimizing
- Making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously.
- Saying the abuse didn't happen
- Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior to other people or circumstances.
- Saying you caused the abuse.
- Making you feel guilty about the children.
- Using the children to relay messages.
- Using visitation to harass you.
- Threatening to take the children away
Using Male Privilege
- Making all the big decisions.
- Acting like "Master of the Castle".
- Being the one to define men's and women's roles.
- Treating you like a servant.
Using Economic Abuse
- Preventing you from getting or keeping a job.
- Making you ask for money.
- Giving you an allowance
- Taking your money.
- Not letting you know about or have access to family income.
Using Coercion and Threats
- Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt you.
- Threatening to "out" you.
- Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide, to report you to Welfare authorities.
- Making you do illegal things.