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Unmasking Coercive Control: A Hidden Epidemic

Coercive Control

Empowered Divorce Thought Leader: Beverly Price

Coercive control, also known as coercive or controlling behavior, is a form of psychological abuse that often occurs within intimate relationships.

While it might not leave physical scars, the emotional and psychological toll it takes on victims can be just as devastating. In recent years, there has been growing recognition of coercive control as a serious issue in society. This article aims to shed light on what coercive control is, how it manifests, its impact on victims, and steps that can be taken to combat this insidious form of abuse.

“Coercive control can be challenging to define precisely.”

Defining Coercive Control:

Coercive control can be challenging to define precisely. It encompasses a wide range of behaviors that are aimed at dominating, manipulating, and intimidating a partner. However, it is often characterized by patterns of behavior that establish power and control over the victim. These patterns can include:

  1. Isolation: The abuser may isolate the victim from friends, family, and support systems. This makes them increasingly dependent on the abuser for emotional and financial support.
  2. Monitoring and Surveillance: The abuser might constantly monitor the victim’s actions. This includes tracking their whereabouts, reading their messages, or listening in on phone calls.
  3. Emotional Abuse: This includes consistent criticism, belittling, humiliation, and degradation, designed to erode the victim’s self-esteem and self-worth.
  4. Financial Abuse: The abuser may control all financial resources. Making the victim financially dependent and unable to leave the relationship.
  5. Threats and Intimidation: Coercive controllers often use threats, both explicit and implied, to keep the victim in a state of fear. This can include threats of violence or harm to loved ones.
  6. Manipulation and Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a technique where the abuser tries to make the victim doubt their own reality, memory, and perceptions. This often leads to confusion and self-doubt.
  7. Sexual Coercion: The abuser may use sex as a tool for control – forcing the victim to engage in sexual activities against their will.

The Impact on Victims:

The consequences of coercive control can be profound and long-lasting. In addition, victims of coercive control often experience:

  1. Emotional and Psychological Trauma: The constant fear, manipulation, and emotional abuse can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues.
  2. Isolation: Victims may become socially isolated, making it even harder to seek help or escape the abusive relationship.
  3. Physical Health Issues: The stress and anxiety resulting from coercive control can manifest as physical health problems, such as sleep disturbances, digestive issues, and chronic pain.
  4. Financial Dependence: Victims may find themselves trapped in financially precarious situations, unable to leave the relationship due to economic constraints.
  5. Deterioration of Self-Esteem: Constant criticism and belittling can lead to a severe erosion of the victim’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
  6. Fear for Safety: The threat of violence or harm can make victims live in constant fear for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.

“Coercive control is a hidden epidemic that affects countless individuals in intimate relationships.”

Combating Coercive Control:

Recognizing and addressing coercive control is crucial to protect victims and prevent further harm. Moreover, here are some steps that can be taken to combat coercive control:

  1. Education and Awareness: Raise awareness about coercive control through public campaigns, educational programs, and discussions in schools and communities.
  2. Legal Protections: Enact and enforce laws that specifically criminalize coercive control, providing victims with legal remedies and protection.
  3. Support Services: Establish support services, including hotlines and shelters, where victims can seek help and safety.
  4. Training for Professionals: Provide training for law enforcement, healthcare providers, and social workers to recognize the signs of coercive control and respond appropriately.
  5. Community Support: Encourage communities to create safe spaces where victims can seek support without judgment.
  6. Empowerment: Empower victims with information, resources, and assistance to help them regain control over their lives.

Coercive Control – A Hidden Epidemic:

Coercive control is a hidden epidemic that affects countless individuals in intimate relationships. Moreover, it is a complex and deeply damaging form of abuse that demands attention and action. By raising awareness, enacting legal protections, and providing support services, we can work towards eliminating coercive control and ensuring that no one has to endure the devastating effects of this insidious abuse. It is crucial for society to unite in its efforts to combat coercive control and provide a safer, more secure future for all individuals.

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About the Author:

Beverly Price, MBA, Certified Divorce Coach®, podcast host, and Founder of Her Empowered Divorce, combines divorce and empowerment coaching to provide education, support, and insight to guide women from beginning to end of the divorce process, and to conquer its emotional, technical, financial and logistical challenges and fears. 

She coaches women through the ups and downs and grow from self-doubt to self-love quicker, with less pain, more knowledge and more support than she had.  She has a personal history with divorce, co-parenting, domestic violence and more. Combining her personal experience with her training, professional certifications and business knowledge, she can help women by supporting them along their journey, helping them to work through resentments, time management, communication, overwhelm, fear, sadness and shock. You can schedule a complimentary consultation with Beverly at https://www.herempowereddivorce.com  Check out this Meetup group for support on Zoom for separated, divorcing, and divorced women https://www.meetup.com/womens-divorce-and-empowerment-group/