Did you know:
1 in 4 women in England experience domestic abuse in their life.
Every 3 days a woman dies due to domestic abuse.
On average it takes a women 5 years to leave an abusive relationship.
These are shocking statistics that got even worse during lockdown.
Domestic abuse is defined as an incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of sexuality or gender (Government definition)
Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse and can be difficult to spot especially when you’re in the relationship. It’s an insidious form of abuse that happens slowly over time.
It’s a form of Psychological abuse where the perpetrator (abuser) carries out a pattern of controlling or manipulative behaviour in the relationship and exerts power over the victim. The victim is left doubting themselves, with low levels of self-esteem and then becoming even more dependent on the perpetrator.
Here are 10 signs that you may be experiencing coercive control:
Has your partner been criticising your friends or family at all? If you’re still in the early stages of your relationship you might have just brushed it off and not thought much of it. But is it becoming a pattern? Are they constantly criticising them – if so, this is definitely a red flag to be aware of.
Is your partner claiming that a friend or family member has an issue with them or has criticised them? Have you stood up for your partner and defended them and started distancing yourself from those people? This is a subtle and manipulative way of isolating you from those closest to you.
Has your partner accused you of saying things or doing things that you haven’t - but by the end of the conversation or argument you start doubting yourself?
Has your partner ghosted you for periods of time and you’ve been unable to contact them, or they haven’t responded to any communication from you?
This type of behaviour can cause you to become obsessed with them and willing to do almost anything to have contact with them again which can be extremely harmful to your mental health. You’re left feeling hurt, rejected, upset and confused amongst other things.
Is your partner continually criticising you and putting you down no matter what you do?
Do you constantly feel like you’re not good enough for them?
Do you feel like you can’t do anything right?
Are you doubting how you look?
Does your partner continually check your mobile phone to see who you’re speaking to or communicating with?
Do they monitor your social media?
Do they take an excessive interest when you’re going out and like to know who it’s with, how long you’ll be and where you’re going?
Have you stopped doing all the activities and hobbies that you used to?
Have you stopped going on girls’ nights out?
Is it too much effort to do the things you really want to do and easier just to keep the peace?
Do you have to account for everything you spend to your partner?
Do you have any control over the ‘joint’ finances?
Do you have to request money from your partner?
Does your partner tell you what to wear and how to dress?
Do they tell you where you can go?
Do they tell you what to eat?
Do they tell you when you should go to bed?
Is your partner constantly jealous of who you’re spending time with?
Are they accusing you of things that you’re not doing such as having an affair?
Are you worried about ‘upstaging’ your partner?
Are you scared of your partner?
Have they threatened violence if you don’t do what they want?
Does your partner withhold sex from you?
Do they force you to do things that you’re not comfortable with?
Do they determine when you have sex?
Realising that you’re in a toxic relationship can be traumatic for you. Leaving that relationship can be difficult and takes time to get the strength and to plan it. At all times you must put your safety first and this could mean having all the necessary steps in place before you actually leave. It can feel like a massive mountain to climb because of the abusive relationship you’ve been in where all your power and control has been stripped from you.
Make a note and keep any evidence of the coercive control for future reference – coercive control is a crime so it’s important you have the evidence. Have an escape plan so that you can leave at any moment – have a bag packed with the basics of what you need that you can access quickly, know exactly where you will go, how you will get there and inform the person beforehand that you may turn up without notice.
There are many support groups that you can reach out to depending on where you are in the world. In the UK you can seek support from:
If you’re in a toxic relationship that you want to leave, then please get in touch and we can have a chat about how I could support you or signpost you to the support that would be best for your circumstances.
Email me at [email protected]