Hidden Hurt Domestic Abuse Information

Power and Control Wheel in Abusive Relationships

This information and the Power and Control Wheel of Abuse (pictured below) is provided courtesy of Kim Eyer.


Abusers believe they have a right to control their partners in the abusive relationships by utilizing the tactics found in the power and control wheel, by:

  • Telling them what to do and expecting obedience
  • Using force to maintain power and control over partners
  • Feeling their partners have no right to challenge their desire for power and control
  • Feeling justified making the victim comply
  • Blaming the abuse on the partner and not accepting responsibility for wrongful acts.

The characteristics shown in thepower and control wheel are examples of how this power and control are demonstrated and enacted against the victim.

power and control wheel in abusive relationships


  • limiting outside involvement
  • making another avoid people/friends/family by deliberately embarrassing or humiliating them in front of others
  • expecting another to report every move and activity
  • restricting use of the car
  • moving residences

Emotional and Mental Abuse

  • putting another down/name-calling
  • ignoring or discounting activities and accomplishments
  • withholding approval or affection
  • making another feel as if they are crazy in public or through private humiliation
  • unreasonable jealousy and suspicion
  • playing mind games

Economic and Financial Abuse

  • preventing another from getting or keeping a job
  • withholding funds
  • spending family income without consent and/or making the partner struggle to pay bills
  • not letting someone know of or have access to family/personal income
  • forcing someone to ask for basic necessities


  • driving recklessly to make another feel threatened or endangered
  • destroying property or cherished possessions
  • making another afraid by using looks/actions/gestures
  • throwing objects as an expression of anger to make another feel threatened
  • displaying weapons

Using Children or Pets

  • threatening to take the children away
  • making the partner feel guilty about the children
  • abusing children or pets to punish the partner
  • using the children to relay messages

Using Priviledges (perceived or cultural)

  • treating another like a servant
  • making all the big decisions
  • being the one to define male and female roles
  • acting like the master or queen of the castle

Sexual Abuse

  • sex on demand or sexual withholding
  • physical assaults during sexual intercourse
  • spousal rapes or non-consensual sex
  • sexually degrading language
  • denying reproductive freedom


  • threats of violence against significant third parties
  • threats to commit physical or sexual harm
  • threats to commit property destruction
  • threats to commit suicide or murder

Physical Abuse

  • biting/scratching
  • slapping/punching
  • kicking/stomping
  • throwing objects at another
  • locking another in a closet or utilizing other confinement
  • sleep interference and/or deliberately exhausting the partner with unreasonable demands and lack of rest
  • deprivation of heat or food
  • shoving another down steps or into objects
  • assaults with weapons such as knives/guns/other objects

Return from Power and Control Wheel to The Abusers

Related Pages:

Recommeded Reading:

Lundy Bancroft has written what is probably the most comprehensive and readable book on domestic violence, the beliefs of the abuser and the dynamics of abuse. This truly is a MUST READ for anyone seriously trying to understand domestic abuse and how to cope with an abusive relationship:

To order in the US: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

To order in the UK: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is the book to accompany the Freedom Programme in the UK. This book should be compulsory in schools - the information is so clear and so obvious and such an eye-opener! After studying domestic violence issues for years, this is the one book which finally enabled me to click it all into place and answer all my whys. Just read it:

To order in the US: Living With the Dominator (Kindle version only - and well worth buying a Kindle just to get this book!)

To order in the UK: Living with the Dominator: A Book About the Freedom Programme: 1

Click on the donate botton below to support Hidden Hurt. Thanks you.

UK National Domestic Violence Freephone number 0808 2000 247

Armed with the latest research in the field, Intimate Violence in Families explodes many of the conventional myths and controversies hindering understanding of family violence, and replaces them with the most current knowledge available. While focusing largely on physical abuse, the book also examines data on sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, neglect and other forms of intimate victimization. Gelles discusses theories of intimate violence and contributing social factors, and explores major controversies in the study and treatment of family and intimate violence. Abuse occurring in all types of family relationships are covered: partners; children; siblings; parents; the elderly; and gay and lesbian couples. If you are serious about studying domestic and family violence, this is the book you need to read:

To order in the US: Intimate Violence in Families

To order in the UK: Intimate Violence in Families

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