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Power Control Wheel

Emotional and Verbal Abuse is sometimes harder to define than other forms of abuse.  It is also sometimes more difficult to recognize and identify.  You may have experienced emotional or verbal abuse if someone:

  • ignores your feelings
  • withholds approval/appreciation
  • manipulates you with lies, fear
  • insults your friends and family
  • stops you or prevents you from working
  • makes all the decisions
  • threatens to hurt you or the children
  • regularly tells you to leave
  • constantly criticizes you
  • shouts and yells at you
  • destroys your property
  • controls all the money
  • tells you about his/her affairs
  • threatens to hurt friends/family
  • ridicules you
  • calls you names
  • harasses you
  • abuses your pets
  • insults you
  • withholds affection
  • threats of future violence or deportation if the woman attempts to leave



Psychological Abuse differs from emotional or verbal abuse.  It has a great power to induce fear in a victim because the threat of violence has been accompanied by at least one incident of physical abuse.  It is designed to wear the woman down to the point that she is in constant fear for her safety and that of her children.

  • making threats such as suicidal threats, violent threats against the woman, her children, friends and/or family
  • making threats to harm a woman’s property or pets, threats to kidnap the children, threats to use information he may have about her past against her if she leaves
  • forcing the woman to do degrading things, i.e. cutting up her favorite clothing; washing her mouth out with soap
  • doing things that will terrorize the woman, i.e. forcing her to drive through a red light, driving dangerously, tying a noose around her neck, playing with a gun or a knife
  • verbally attacking the woman, i.e. attacking her personality, attitudes, belief system or belittling any efforts she makes to better herself
  • controlling the woman’s activities, disrupting routines, depriving her of the necessities of life i.e. sleep, food, sex), isolating her from family and friends
  • stalking, following or spying



  • taking away a woman’s wages or other income
  • limiting or forbidding access to the family income
  • other forms of control and abuse of power