Power & Control Wheel

Abuse or battering is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to control another person's actions and feelings. The power and control wheel illustrates methods batterers may use to exert power over you. The outside dark area of the wheel is the physical and sexual violence that has been or can be used. The inner spokes or "pie shaped areas" are forms of abuse. Remember, these sections are held together by the threat or use of physical or sexual violence.

Power & Control Wheel

Using intimidation

The abuser makes their partner afraid by using looks, actions, gestures, smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets, displaying weapons.

Using emotional abuse

The abuser puts their partner down, makes their partner feel bad about themselves, calls their partner names, makes their partner think they are crazy, plays mind games, humiliates them, makes their partner feel guilty.

Using isolation

The abuser controls what their partner does, who their partner sees and talks to, what their partner reads, where their partner goes, limits their partner's outside involvement, uses jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, denying, and blaming

The abuser makes light of the abuse and not taking their partner's concerns about it seriously, says the abuse did not happen, shifts responsibility for abusive behavior, says their partner caused it.

Using children

The abuser makes their partner feel guilty about the children, uses the children to relay messages, uses visitation to harass their partner, threatens to take children away.

Using male privilege

The abuser treats their partner like a servant, makes all the big decisions, acts like the "master of the castle", is the one to define men's and women's roles.

Using economic abuse

The abuser prevents their partner from getting or keeping a job, makes their partner ask for money, gives their partner an allowance, takes their partner's money, does not let their partner know about or have access to family income.

Using coercion and threats

The abuser makes and/or carries out threats to hurt their partner, threatens to leave their partner, to commit suicide, to report their partner to welfare, makes their partner drop charges, makes their partner do illegal things.

Other adaptations of the Power and Control Wheel can be located on the National Center On Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault website.