Abuse and Manipulation Tactics
Often, when people think of domestic violence, physical violence comes to mind. However, this is just one tactic that perpetrators use to exert control over women. The behavior could look like something very minor, but could symbolize something much more powerful.
There are so many different ways that abusers can ensure that they control their victims, it would be impossible to list them all here. Here are a few that people don’t tend to think of as abusive behavior. For more information, check out Speak Out Loud.
- Gas-lighting: This is a type of emotional abuse wherein an abuser lies or downplays the impact of an event or something they say. It could include phrases like “It’s not that bad” or “you’re over-reacting” or even, “I never said that”. All of this can create doubt in your mind, and the end goal is to ensure that you’re the “crazy” one for ever questioning his behaviour.
- Isolation: Not only controlling where you goes and who you talks to, but controlling what you read, listen too, and watch on TV or online.
- Over-Protection: Like refusing to let you go anywhere or do certain things because he’s “worried” for your safety.
- Blaming Others: This is a classic abuse tactic. Perpetrators rarely take responsibility for their actions – often placing the blame on you for causing the way they acted.
- Separation Abuse: This could include forms of stalking, especially after the relationship has ended. The perpetrator will continually send flowers, gifts, or other trinkets, which shows that he can always find her. This can be a particularly effective tactic, because from the outside, the gestures seem kind and caring.
- Manipulation of Social Systems: Such as court systems or CAS. This is a way of wielding systemic power over you, and the consequences are dire (such as custody of children).
- Emotional Manipulation: Being on a “roller-coaster” emotionally with him. One moment he’s loving, kind and caring; the next he’s angry and aggressive. Women often say they feel like their “walking on eggshells” in their own home, to keep from trying to set off the abuser. This could also include things like degradation and undercutting your achievements, making you feel bad about yourself.
- Threats: Making threats to harm your family, friends, and pets (this is extremely common, and is a huge barrier for women trying to leave the relationship).
- Financial Abuse: Making sure you have zero control, knowledge or access to finances. Also a large barrier for women leaving the relationship. Often women must choose to stay, and live in violence, or leave and live in poverty.
- Cyber Abuse and Cyber Stalking: This is such a wide topic, and has many different ways of appearing. It can include things like abusers posting your personal information online (address, phone number, etc), spreading rumours or photos, creating fake email addresses so you can’t block him, etc. All of these tactics are designed to humiliate, as well as take away your sense of security and privacy. Cyber abuse can also include hacking, stealing passwords, reading emails, forcing her to be available to him at all times, telling her who she can and can’t interact with through social media. (https://speakoutloud.net/intimate-partner-abuse/cyber-bullying ) It’s important to know that it’s impossible to keep yourself safe online. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate risk. If you are experiencing any of these types of abuse, please give us a call and we’ll support you in whatever way you need.
For more information, check out Speak Out Loud.
Or, watch Leslie Morgan Steiner’s Ted Talk to see the different power and control tactics her abuser used. She also answers the “Why doesn’t she just leave?” question.