Protective Mothers' Alliance International

family court abuse/corruption

Tactics of Power and Control used by Men against Intimate Female Partners / Dr Clare Murphy

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1 One-sided power 

games 

• He determines how, when and what gets communicated

• If one tactic does not work, he changes to a new tactic

• What matters to him is not what he does, but what he gains

• She is not allowed to contradict him

• He makes the rules and all the big decisions

• Monopolises her time and energy

• His wants are most important

• He does most of the receiving

• He has his own way at her expense

• He claims to be always right

• He has the last word

 

2 Mind games • Says that if she loved him she’d do what he wants

• Brainwashing – guilt trips, confusion, crazymaking

• Blocks her from clarifying mixed messages

• If she withdraws he punishes her, if she reaches out he rejects her

• Charming in public and abusive in private

• His actions don’t match his words

• Questions all her judgments

• Manipulates with lies

 

3 Inappropriate 

restrictions 

• Refuses to let her work

• Makes her late for appointments

• Acts as if she can do what she wants, then becomes upset when she does

• He expects her to ask permission

• Discourages her from her own interests

• Intrudes and interrupts her activities

1 One-sided power 

games 

• He determines how, when and what gets communicated

• If one tactic does not work, he changes to a new tactic

• What matters to him is not what he does, but what he gains

• She is not allowed to contradict him

• He makes the rules and all the big decisions

• Monopolises her time and energy

• His wants are most important

• He does most of the receiving

• He has his own way at her expense

• He claims to be always right

• He has the last word

 

2 Mind games • Says that if she loved him she’d do what he wants

• Brainwashing – guilt trips, confusion, crazymaking

• Blocks her from clarifying mixed messages

• If she withdraws he punishes her, if she reaches out he rejects her

• Charming in public and abusive in private

• His actions don’t match his words

• Questions all her judgments

• Manipulates with lies

 

3 Inappropriate 

restrictions 

• Refuses to let her work

• Makes her late for appointments

• Acts as if she can do what she wants, then becomes upset when she does

• He expects her to ask permission

• Discourages her from her own interests

• Intrudes and interrupts her activities

• Deprives her of privacy

4 Isolation • Discourages her from seeing family and friends

• Moves from town to town

• Calls her names if she spends time with friends

• Tells her that her friends or family don’t care about her

• Rude to visitors, refuses to go to joint social events

• Requires relationship issues be kept secret

• Tells her that she cares more for her friends and family than for him

• Tells her he’s the only one who understands and loves her

• He attempts to divide and conquer by provoking jealousies and rivalries

• Controls incoming information; including what she reads

• Leaves a small amount of petrol in the tank, or takes her car keys

• Says what she does makes him jealous so insists she not do it

 

5 Over-protection 

and ‘caring’ 

• He frequently phones or unexpectedly goes to her work to check up on her

• Tells her she never has to work because he wants to take care of her

• Tries to keep her at home by saying he worries when she’s away

• Takes her to and from work so the co-workers will not get ‘ideas’

• When she is out, he is extremely jealous

• Harasses her about imagined affairs

• Begs her not to go out alone or she might get raped

6 Emotional 

unkindness & 

violation of trust 

• He withholds care, respect, approval, affection and support

• Acts like she doesn’t matter

• Ignores her when they begin a conversation

• He promises to help and then ‘forgets’ or helps with conditions attached

• Complains about or dismisses her if she’s upset or asks for emotional support

• He lacks empathy

• Threatens to abandon her if he doesn’t get his way or makes it emotionally

difficult when she wants to or needs to leave

• Exploits her intimate disclosures and uses them as ammunition

• Acts cruelly, then says she is too sensitive and cannot take a joke

• Ignores her need for assistance when she’s tired, overworked

 

7 Degradation • Criticises her strengths and achievements

• Puts her down, calls her names, uses abusive language

• Corrects things she says or does

• Deprives her of sleep, food and health care

• Humiliates and embarrasses her in public

• Puts down, makes fun of cultural/spiritual traditions/beliefs

 

8 Separation abuse • Stalking campaigns: driving by her house, leaving notes on car windshield,

taking photos without consent, warning her that bad things might happen,

performing favours without her permission, leaving unwanted gifts and

making unwanted phone calls

• Visitation of children is accompanied by harassment

• Endless legal hearings aimed at diminishing her financial and emotional

resources

• ‘Custody blackmail’

• Negotiation for custody and property occurs in a climate of fear including

blackmail

9 Using social 

institutions & social 

prejudices 

•  Threatens to tell social services that she is an unfit parent

• Uses battles for child custody to get at partner

• Tries to convince her she needs a psychiatrist

• Uses social prejudices to reinforce his power. Tells her she deserves abuse

because she’s just a woman (gender); she’s just a

Maori/Black/Indian/Aborigine/Hispanic (race); she wasn’t born here

(immigrants); she’s just a kid (age); she doesn’t have a real job

(volunteers/housework); she’s only a mother (non-breadwinner); she’d be

nowhere without him (wealth); she can’t even walk out the door (disabled);

she’s a fat slob (body image), she’s dumb (education)

• Comments/actions that denigrate her abilities/worth based on her gender

• Uses religion as a threat. Tells her she has to obey him because the Bible says

so. Says God does not allow divorce.

• Misinterprets her culture to prove male superiority and entitlement.

• Uses stopping abuse programmes as a tactic: by telling her how lucky she is

coz his actions are nothing compared with other men’s; misinterprets the

training and tells her that her behaviours are psychologically abusive; learns

how to use a wider range of tactics

• Drawn-out, frequent court battles

10 Denial, minimising, 

blaming 

• Minimises – says abuse was not that bad

• Tells her their relationship is the best she can hope for

• Uses rationality and reasoning such as reminding her of times he was right

and she was wrong

• Denies responsibility for his behaviours

• Blames her. Twists things around so that it appears she is responsible

• Blames the abuse on his stress, drugs, alcohol, etc.

• When she gives him feedback about his behaviours he picks her personality

apart

• Warns her that if she leaves, he will commit suicide and she will be

responsible

• Obstructs change

 

11 Using the children • Punishes or deprives the children when he is angry with her

• Makes her feel guilty about the children

• He says he wouldn’t lose his temper if she kept the children quieter

• Threatens to kidnap the children if she leaves him

• Once separated he uses the children to relay messages to her and harasses

her during visitation

• Tells her she’s a bad parent/person

• Changes or cancels visits to get at her

12 Economic abuse He controls the money . . . 

• Prevents her from getting a job

• Denies her access to bank accounts, makes her ask permission to have, or

spend money, monitors how much and what she spends money on, or takes

the money away

• Gives her everything she wants, but constantly reminds her she couldn’t

have such a lifestyle without him

• Excludes her from important financial decisions, refuses access to

information about their financial situation

She is put in charge of the money . . . 

• Makes her responsible for running the accounts, then demands she give him

money for anything he wants, when he wants, over and above the budget

• Blames her if there is not enough money

• Inappropriately uses family funds, forces her to bail him out of self-inflicted

financial difficulties

• Refuses to work creating extreme financial hardship

• Takes money out of her wallet or steals her possessions and sells them

13 Sexual abuse • Expects/demands sex when she doesn’t desire it

• Pressures her to have sex when she’s sick or it endangers her health

• Insists on unwanted and uncomfortable touching

• Begs her to strip when she doesn’t want to

• Insists she dress in a more sexual way than she wants

• Manipulates her into having sex in return for a gift or a back rub

• Will not do what excites her sexually, minimises the importance of her

feelings about sex and withholds affection

• Makes sexual jokes about her in front of the children and other people

• Makes fun of her body

• Compares her unfavourably to pornographic images and to previous lovers

• Humiliates and criticises her sexuality, calls her frigid, a whore or gigolo

• Has affairs with other people after agreeing to a monogamous relationship

• Tries to seduce her friends and family

• Makes demeaning remarks about women and tells anti-women jokes

• Makes her perform degrading sexual acts in public

• Forces her to have sex with others while he watches

• Psychologically coerced rape

 

14 Symbolic 

aggression 

• He keeps a weapon on view or within reach

• Direct or indirect verbal threats to hurt/murder her or her family

• Blocks door so she can’t leave, or he refuses to leave

• Drives recklessly with her in the car

• Attempts to run her off the road

• Uses looks and actions to make her afraid (these work easily due to ongoing

power and control tactics which seem innocent to an outsider)

• Uses the threat that he’ll abuse her again as blackmail making her drop legal

charges

• He damages property

• He abuses pets

Throws something, but not  her

15 Domestic slavery • She is obliged to carry out her responsibilities, he is not obliged to carry out

his

• Treats her like a servant by overburdening her with responsibility

• Refuses to take responsibility for finances, household duties and for own

children

• Acts like the ‘King of the castle’

• Enforces rigid gender role expectations

 

16 Physical violence • Slap, Punch, Push, Pinch, Kick, Pull Hair, Bite, Murder, Hitting her in bed

at night claiming he was asleep – yet each time it happens it follows one of

her actions he was angered by

 


 


 


 

 

 


Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

July 15, 2011 at 3:33 am

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