Any type of abusive relationship is about power and control. These are the two ingredients that an abusive situation is made of. Power and control consist of coercion and threats, intimidation, privilege, isolation, minimizing and blaming, emotional abuse and/or humiliation, economic and/or academic abuse and will turn children and/or mutual friends against you. To understand how power and control works you need to understand how the above components play a factor in abusive relationships.
Coercion and threats: This is when the perpetrator (the abusive person) will threaten to harm you and/or any people that are important to you. This includes family, friends, children and even the family pet. Often they will even threaten suicide if you do not do what you are told to do. Perpetrators also will threaten to reveal secret or private information about you as well.
Intimation: This is when perpetrators cause you to be fearful by using looks, gestures and actions such as yelling or smashing things. Another method of intimation is abusing pets, destroying your property and violation of your personal boundaries.
Privilege: Perpetrators will treat you like a servant, make all the decisions, discredit you, speak for you, deny your right to privacy and cut off your access to privileges. After a while you will be dependent on their actions in order to even have your basic needs met such as food or shelter.
Isolation: This is another tactic perpetrators use to have power and control. They will do everything in their power to cut you off from the outside world. He/she will pressure you to choose between him/her and other people or activities. They will embarrass you in front of family and friends as well as insult them. This behavior also includes using jealousy to justify controlling you and will pressure you to spend all their free time with him/her.
Minimizing and blaming: He/she will make light of the abuse, tell you no one will believe you and will even deny the abuse happened at all. Perpetrators also will say you provoked the abuse and it’s your fault or try to pass it off as the abuse as just a fight.
Children and Mutual Friends: He/she will turn your children against you and constantly challenge your parenting skills. Perpetrators also will say you are unable to parent and even threaten to take your children away. He/she will also target your friends by saying you are the abuser and spread lies and rumors about you. The goal in this behavior is to create divisions in relationships.
Emotional abuse and/or humiliation: He/she will put you down, make you feel bad about yourself and play mind games. They will also make you feel guilty and show romantic interest in other people in front of you. The ultimate goal is to manipulate your feeling and reinforce your fears.
Economic and/or academic abuse: Perpetrators will prevent you from getting a job or keeping a job. He/she will also keep you from attending classes or bettering your education in any manner. Then they will take all your money, keep your name off of accounts, use your credit cards without permission and make sure your name isn’t on any assets.
All of these aspects of power and control are so horrible but they are effective in obtaining power and control over someone. Obviously if this behavior presented it self in the beginning of the relationship no one would stay. Perpetrators often tend to be the most charming people! They will slowly gain control over a period of time and because they are so manipulative most people won’t realize what is going on. This is why education is such a key in healthy relationships.