1. Isolating you from friends and family:
This is a common tactic employed by coercive controllers, in which they attempt to manipulate their victim into feeling as though they have no one else in the world to turn to. This can involve forbidding the victim from seeing friends and family or actively discouraging contact with them. The controller may also actively try to alienate the victim from their support network.
2. Closely monitoring your activity:
The controller may attempt to keep track of the victim’s every move and action, whether through physical surveillance or by using technological methods such as GPS tracking. This type of “surveillance” is used to make the victim feel helpless, hopeless, and under constant watch.
3. Denying your freedom:
This involves limiting a person’s choices and independence in order to control them; for example, denying them access to money or transportation, or controlling what they wear or who they are allowed to talk to. The controller might also use manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping or threatening to limit the victim’s freedom further if they do not comply with their demands.
4. Gaslighting you:
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic in which an abuser makes a victim doubt their own reality, often by denying things that have happened or making false accusations about the victim. This adds to the victims feelings of confusion and helplessness as they are unable to trust what they believe to be true.
5. Constantly criticizing you:
The controller may engage in constant criticism and judgement of the victim’s decisions, thoughts and actions, in order to make them feel inferior and powerless. They may employ manipulation tactics such as guilt-tripping or use shaming language to make the victim feel that they are to blame for the controller’s behavior.
6. Controlling your finances:
The controller may attempt to gain control over the victim’s financial resources, such as limiting access to money or bank accounts, or by making decisions about how money should be spent without consulting the victim. They might also use their financial power to manipulate and threaten their partner into submission.
7. Forcing you to live by their rules:
A common tactic employed by coercive controllers is setting strict rules that must be followed by the victim in order to remain in good standing with them. These rules can range from mundane instructions such as being home at a certain time, or more extreme demands such as only speaking when spoken to. The controller may also demand that the victim follows their exact instructions in order to maintain their approval and love.
8. Parental alienation:
Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to damage the relationship between a child and the other parent. This often includes making false accusations about the other parent, or manipulating them into believing they do not need or want contact with the other parent. This can be extremely damaging for both the child and the targeted parent.
9. Policing your lifestyle:
The controller may attempt to control every aspect of the victim’s life, from what clothes they wear to how much time they spend on leisure activities. They may also actively monitor their behavior in public settings or try to dictate who is allowed to be in their life by making threats or using manipulation tactics.
10. Making jealous accusations:
The controller may display extreme jealousy, making accusations about the victim’s behavior that are untrue or exaggerated. They might also threaten to harm the victim or those close to them if they do not comply with their demands. This type of behavior is used as a way for the controller to maintain control and power over their partner.
11. Humiliating or degrading you:
The controller may engage in humiliating or degrading behavior such as name-calling or public shaming in order to make the victim feel small and powerless. This type of abuse is often used in conjunction with other forms of control, such as emotional blackmail or threats, to ensure compliance. The controller might also use humiliation as a way to punish their partner for perceived transgressions.
12. Abusing your pets or other animals:
The controller may use their pet or another animal as a tool to control and manipulate the victim. This could include threatening to harm or kill an animal in order to get what they want, or using it as a way to exert power over their partner. The abuser might also deny the victim access to their pet, making them feel helpless and vulnerable. This type of abuse is particularly damaging for both the victim and the animal involved.
13. Threatening or using physical violence against you:
The controller may make physical threats or even use physical violence against the victim in order to maintain control. This type of abuse can be incredibly damaging and frightening for victims, as it can lead to long-term physical and psychological trauma. The abuser might also threaten to harm themselves or others if their demands are not met, making it difficult for the victim to leave the situation.
14. Withholding access to basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing):
The controller may also attempt to control their partner by withholding access to basic necessities such as food, shelter or clothing. This type of abuse is particularly damaging for victims, as it can lead to mental and physical suffering due to lack of nutrition and other resources. The abuser might also use this tactic as a way to punish their victim for perceived transgressions, making them feel powerless and trapped in the relationship.
15. Engaging in sexual coercion:
The controller may also use sexual coercion or assault as a way to maintain dominance and power over their partner. This can involve making threats, using physical force, or manipulating the victim into performing sexual acts they do not feel comfortable with. This type of abuse is particularly damaging for both the victim’s mental and physical wellbeing, and should be taken seriously by those around them.