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Coercive Control: a need for better awareness.

90 replies

R0wantrees · 16/12/2018 12:49

Mumsnet with Women's Aid recently launched a video.

'Walking on eggshells'

"A new Mumsnet survey to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, run in partnership with Women’s Aid and Surrey Police, reveals that 38% of the survey respondents say they have been in a controlling or abusive relationship* with a partner – but almost a quarter (24%) of users who said they had been in a controlling or abusive relationship told no-one about any incidents of controlling or abusive behaviour"

See also the Duluth Wheel in screenshot

Freedom Programme:

Lundy Bancroft: Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of Angry & Controlling Men'

I'm sure there are other valuable resources which might be added
Coercive Control: a need for better awareness.
OP posts:

R0wantrees · 16/12/2018 12:51

Important thread collating some of the failings and failures of child protection and Safeguarding frameworks:

OP posts:

BeUpStanding · 16/12/2018 13:25

Thanks for posting this R0. Better awareness of coercive control is absolutely needed; how to recognise it and how to support people suffering from a coercive, controlling relationship. A very good friend of mine has spent several years trying to break away from her abusive partner. It's been both heart-breaking and extremely frustrating at times seeing her struggle with the invisible bonds that keep her ensnared.

One thing I've learnt through reading about the subject, to try and help my friend, is that often the type of women who fall prey to these narcisstic / abusive / controlling men are not who you would expect. They are extremely empathetic, intelligent, independent, strong women. This can make it even more isolating, as no-one would guess what is going on behind closed doors.

Thanks so much for starting this thread, it's good to be able to talk about it.

Here's Woman Aid's introduction to Coercive Control:

Here's an article on how to support someone experiencing domestic abuse


Pennydrew142 · 17/12/2018 08:16

Thanks for posting. It’s sad how many still can’t tell anyone.


QuentinWinters · 17/12/2018 08:19

I just got out of a marriage with elements of this and I didn't even realise what was going on until I started seeing a psychologist for long standing depression and self esteem issues. I was in total denial because if the cognitive dissonance of believing my husband loved me vs. Some of the things he did and how he spoke to me.

It's horrible.


R0wantrees · 17/12/2018 08:28

I was in total denial because if the cognitive dissonance of believing my husband loved me vs. Some of the things he did and how he spoke to me.

It's horrible.

QuentinWinters It is. Flowers

OP posts:

FlawedAmazon · 17/12/2018 08:30

This is a perfect example. He cheated on the mother of his child multiple times, and when she'd finally had enough and left him, this is what he did.

The women on the thread can see it for what it is. A couple of the men are excusing his behaviour. This is not contrition, this a man who not only coerced Cardi Bs staff into going along with his narcissistic behaviour, he's trying to make himself loook like the victim. Utter prick.


R0wantrees · 17/12/2018 11:15

I've just posted this on another thread but is especially relevent here:

Yesterday, I read two pieces of important writing which are pertinent to this thread and exemplify the heart of the issue:

Twitter thread by Jammersminde February 2018:
"I often talk about my experiences of Domestic Abuse/Violence, of being in refuge with my child, my sense of safety and security when I try to engage with TRAs. I don’t do it to gain sympathy or to play victim olympics, but it goes directly to why I am so concerned not
only about the proposed changes to the GRA but also increasingly about all the companies and services who are choosing to ignore the sex based rights women have under the EA.

Because of this, I have been accused of using my child to “score points”, being an “abusive mum” bringing my child up to hate and fear men, being transphobic, not giving a damn about abused TW, scare mongering etc etc.

None of which is true.

In return I have repeatedly explained why women and children like us (not only us of course) need guaranteed male free spaces

I have gone into more detail about our trauma, ptsd etc both here and on FB than I really wanted, as I desperately hoped that it would make at least one person understand and see that needing our female only spaces doesn’t come from transphobia. I have made clear that I would always support trans rights but that we have to find a way for it to work for everyone, not just the minority. I have tried to stay calm in the face of pure misogyny, aggression and disregard to OUR rights to feel safe, secure and comfortable.

I have been ridiculed, called names sneered at and told my child should learn to share and get over his transphobia. This has been in response to me explaining how even a male voice would see him shaking and crying with fear when we first arrived in refuge.

Grown men have told me that my then 7 year old traumatised child should get over himself! I have been repeatedly told that a TWs NEED to work in a refuge shouldnt override the residents NEED to keywork with women only and have a women only environment.

I am being told that all the issues there already is in mixed sex services is our problem to deal with and if it means we can’t use them, well I deserve that because I’m a bigot.

I never intended to mention that we were in refuge. It’s a very painful thing to acknowledge to yourself and even harder to speak about, but I made the choice to do so hoping, as I said above, that explaining what the effect of male abuse has on women and children and how self ID and the continuous withdrawal of our sex based needs will have a huge impact. Not just for us, but for all the women and children who for whatever reason need/want to know that there are places which are for females only.

So today someone said that I was lying about it all. Thankfully I didn’t see it, but the person who said it was a TW who referenced an earlier convo where again I had tried so hard to convey my concerns and fears. Being accused of lying about this was probably my last straw. I don’t like the peak trans # as I know amazing TW so I won’t use it, but yes, today is the day where I just can’t try any more.

It took me a long time to admit my concerns about the ever increasing demands coming from the TRAs to myself, even longer to voice them quietly. I came to Twitter in November to reassure myself that it couldn’t be as bad as I imagined and as some people told me, but it’s worse, it’s horrifyingly worse.

The threats of violence, the delight found when someone was physically hurt, seeing DV action groups supporting male on female violence, the hate filled loathing of anyone who asks the slightest question, the refusal to consider women and children in all this.

The posturing, the sneering, the intimidation.

Do you know what it reminds me of? 10 years of hell. 10 years of belittling, gaslighting, humiliation, threats. I won’t give the info on the physical stuff, that’s mine.

Pure male misogyny, violence, hatred of women. And all this from people who say they feel like me...a woman"


& then this recent article
'Trans women should be allowed in women’s shelters – here’s why'
03 DEC 2018


OP posts:

FlawedAmazon · 17/12/2018 11:37

I was utterly enraged when I saw that video R0wantrees It encapsulates the lengths (mostly) men will go to in order to control women and yet still make themselves look like the victim'/good guy.

It's good that people are starting to slowly understand coercive control, but it's such a bloody hard thing to prove. Men who pretend they're women and when women object, make out that the women are the ones being abusive are just the same as the man in the video I posted.

Men demanding that women capitulate, no matter how they dress or how they do it, are just as guilty. The threat isn't always physical, it's often emotional and psychological. Why can so few people in a position to reverse or at least curtail this insanity, not see this? Or are they being wilfully blind? The cognitive dissonance is truly mind blowing.


OrchidInTheSun · 17/12/2018 11:52

Thank you for starting a new thread on this R0. The original one that MN posted got taken over by a WATM poster so it's great to have a new one.

Will read now Smile


R0wantrees · 18/12/2018 10:34

I've just posted these links elsewhere.

Understanding DARVO (deny, attack, reverse the victim & offender) is very relevent here.

I'm sure there are many more resources.

'How a narcissist uses DARVO & how to Protect yourself'


"A narcissistic HCP [High Conflict Person] typically engages in a lot of all-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behavior. This often takes the form of constant insults, putting themselves up by putting others down, identifying themselves as winners and everyone else as losers, and repeatedly demanding admiration from those around them."


OP posts:

R0wantrees · 22/12/2018 16:13

useful article here:
'50 Shades Of Gaslighting: Disturbing Signs An Abuser Is Twisting Your Reality'
by Shahida Arabi
Updated September 29, 2018
"'Gaslighting, explained.
How do you convince someone that something they know to be true isn’t? In psychology, what is known as the “illusory truth effect” is a phenomenon in which a listener comes to believe something primarily because it has been repeated so often. When an abuser continually tells you that you are oversensitive or that what you are experiencing is in no way abuse, you begin believing it, even if you know deep down it isn’t true.

In other words, a lie that is repeated long enough eventually can be seen as the truth. Researchers Hasher, Goldstein and Toppino (1997) discovered that when a statement (even when it is false and readers know it to be false) is repeated multiple times, it was more likely to be rated as true simply due to the effects of repetition. This is because when we’re assessing a claim, we rely on either the credibility of the source from which the claim is derived or familiarity with that claim. Surprisingly, familiarity often trumps credibility or rationality when assessing the perceived validity of a statement (Begg, Anas, and Farinacci, 1992; Geraci, L., & Rajaram, 2016).

The illusory truth effect can cause us to become susceptible to the effects of another dangerous form of reality erosion known as gaslighting. Deliberate manipulators who gaslight with the intention of eroding your reality and rewriting history tend to use the “illusory truth effect” to their advantage. They will repeat falsehoods so often that they become ingrained in the victim’s mind as unshakeable truths.

When this is done repeatedly to override what was truly experienced, it can leave an immense dent in the fabric of someone’s perceptions and ability to trust themselves. When used chronically to control a victim, it becomes a damaging aspect of psychological abuse, placing the survivor at risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation and even what is called by some therapists as “Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome” (Van der Kolk, 2016; Walker, 2013; WolfFord-Clevinger, 2017; Staik, 2017)." (continues)

OP posts:

R0wantrees · 22/12/2018 17:21

Freedom Programme have credit card sized versions of this available.

Coercive Control: a need for better awareness.
OP posts:

Wordthe · 29/12/2018 14:03

Great thread thank you @Rowan and here's a link about DARVO


LangCleg · 03/05/2019 08:44

I thought it might be a good time to resurrect this thread. Because the patterns of coercive control are the same whether they are taking place within the confines of a one-on-one intimate relationship or in the open theatre between males and female victims in the overheated social media environment. Similar advice on avoiding and/or dealing with coercive control applies to both areas.

A couple of quotes from Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft:

YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER. One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.

IN ONE IMPORTANT WAY, an abusive man works like a magician: His tricks largely rely on getting you to look off in the wrong direction, distracting your attention so that you won’t notice where the real action is. He draws you into focusing on the turbulent world of his feelings to keep your eyes turned away from the true cause of his abusiveness, which lies in how he thinks. He leads you into a convoluted maze, making your relationship with him a labyrinth of twists and turns. He wants you to puzzle over him, to try to figure him out, as though he were a wonderful but broken machine for which you need only to find and fix the malfunctioning parts to bring it roaring to its full potential. His desire, though he may not admit it even to himself, is that you wrack your brain in this way so that you won’t notice the patterns and logic of his behavior, the consciousness behind the craziness.

You can read the whole book here:

And remember: every reference to partner/boyfriend/husband can also apply to online troll/stalker/abuser.


littlbrowndog · 03/05/2019 08:50

Yes Lang. So relevant today


R0wantrees · 03/05/2019 09:21

Lang Thanks for reviving this. That quote by Bancroft is so important and is a key for many who have been in controlling relationships (by both sexes)

Yesterday on Radio 4 World at One there was an important segment & very powerful interview.
Its from 36:00 about Dometic abuse & no fault divorces:

OP posts:

Peachesandcream14 · 03/05/2019 09:34

Thank you for starting this thread and posting these excellent resources, it's so useful to see things laid out so simply and concisely. I recently left an abusive relationship, it took me years to realise what was happening to me was abuse, I had no idea about coercive control and thought abuse was purely violence before I started reading threads on MN. I am determined to educate my DD so she never ever puts up with the abuse that I did. I've been set back years because my ex sabotaged my jobs and attempts to return to education, isolated me from friends and controlled my access to money or spent what I earnt myself or lose or destroy my bank cards. I am slowly but surely moving forwards now thankfully, and I will never endure these things again. I really think these resources should be covered/given out in schools, as I was also in an abusive relationship from 15-19. Again I didn't recognise it was abusive until he raped me. It makes me so angry and upset that so many others are suffering without the information to help them escape


R0wantrees · 03/05/2019 09:50

I am slowly but surely moving forwards now thankfully, and I will never endure these things again. I really think these resources should be covered/given out in schools, as I was also in an abusive relationship from 15-19. Again I didn't recognise it was abusive until he raped me. It makes me so angry and upset that so many others are suffering without the information to help them escape

Peachesandcream14 I absolutely agree about the need for raising awareness at school/ youth services etc.
I also had not realised that what was happening was a pattern. Neither had those around me, including professional counsellors. Im still learning.
Once patterns are recognised they become very obvious but I think the majority of people do not truly understand or recognise them.

Flowers & all best wishes to you.

OP posts:

R0wantrees · 03/05/2019 10:03

This important thread by Coercive Control Conference:

"To understand coercive control.
To REALLY understand it, you need to understand how manipulators work. The things they know they can do, to bring us to our knees.

It goes without saying that the first thing they will control is HOW they present. The public at large will only ever see the
nice side.

They take an interest in you.
An intense interest.
They especially want to know about anything in your past that has caused you pain, upset or trauma.
They do this by prematurely disclosing some traumatic episode in their life to fool you into trusting them

It creates a false sense of intimacy. For a while, it will seem as you are the keepers of each other’s secrets. It forges a bond and gives the illusion that you are closer than you really are.

To the controlling person, it is simply a fishing expedition.
The aim is to find out personal, intimidate, painful details about you that they can then manipulate to use over you to emotionally stab you.

Their premature disclosure of some traumatic event in their lives turns out, often, just to be a lie.
It never happened.
It was never real.

And that is often when the abuse starts.
The devaluation....

And then the apology.
The one you so desperately want to believe because, up to that point, it was just so good to be loved by you.

And this is the clincher:

Should you forgive?
If you forgive, they know that they can debase you and then win you back.
If you don’t, they will look for someone who will.
In many ways, the tactics used mirror those used by narcissists.

BUT that is not to say that all those who are controlling are narcissists. Many are.
But not all.

What they DO have in common is how they love bomb you until you’re invested.

They can not sustain the façade of the wonderful, attentive, perfect soul mate so they need to ensure you fall in love with them quickly. Before you find out their true nature.

Another characteristic they share is their need to present a false image of themselves to the outside world.

Once they know you’re invested in the relationship, they can reveal more of their true selves. They know it’s harder to leave once you’ve committed. This could be an emotional investment or it could be financial. Moving in together, a joint mortgage, pregnancy.

And this is where the mind games really begin. The love bombing then the rejection. The pushing away and reeling back in.

The honeymoon stage is over.

Your reality is no longer your reality. It is the reality they create for you. It’s gaslighting.

The rug has been pulled from under your feet. You become disoriented, hyper vigilant, confused and most probably sleep deprived. You are walking on eggshells.

Afraid you’re going mad.
Afraid to make them mad.
Afraid. All the time.
Sometimes, not even knowing why you’re in fear but the panic is there. Always.

They KNOW what you’re scared of.
You told them at the beginning when they disclosed their fears.
They told you their fears so you would feel obligated to share yours. The problem is, they lied.
But they know how to hurt you. They know your Achilles heel.

It doesn’t take much to control you.
They know what you’re scared of.
They lovebombed and rejection cycle has resulted in #traumabonding
There has been so much #gaslighting, you doubt your reality. You’re doubting your sanity.

Yet you look to your abuser for reassurance.
Reassurance that it’s not you. You’re not going mad.
You don’t yet realise just how much they are manipulating your reality and that they alone hold the key to the answers they deny you.

And all it takes is a look or a sigh or some tiny gesture for you to realise what they are capable of.

Yet, to the outside world, looking in, the threats are invisible but what is not is your fear is your panic, your sleep deprivation, your hyper vigilance, your disorientation.

But they can’t see and can’t possibly know what has happened behind closed doors. It’s easier to believe you are mentally ill than the truth that they are manipulating you, AND THEM.

It’s all invisible in plain sight.

OP posts:

R0wantrees · 03/05/2019 11:09

Do follow the work & words of inspiring Dr Jessica Eaton:

Lots of excellent resources, training etc:
Victim Focus:

"All the things I want to say to women and girls who have been abused by men"
Jessica Eaton

28 Mar 2019
"An open letter to women and girls around the world."
Whether you have been abused, are currently in an abusive or exploitative situation, have recently escaped abuse or are still processing abuse from years ago; this one is for you.

These are the things I would say to you if we were sat together having a drink and eating some cake.

1. None of this was your fault
The first thing I want to tell you is that you are not to blame for the actions, behaviours and choices of the abuser. Make this your mantra. You are never responsible or to blame for the actions of another adult who chose to harm you for their own gratification. Take zero percent of the blame. Accept zero responsibility.

Self blame is extremely common after abuse, trauma and violence. Women and girls are socialised from a very early age to blame themselves for male violence committed against them. From every level of society, you are taught that abuse happened to you because you were asking for it, because you are a bad person, because you are naive or vulnerable, because you make bad choices or even because of what you were wearing or where you were going. In some cases, you’re even expected to ‘know what was going to happen’, as if you have some crystal ball to your disposal. (cont.)

If I was sat with you now, I would be explaining to you all of the reasons why this was not your fault. I promise you, abuse is never ever your fault.

2. Abuse is all about the abuser, and nothing about you
This one is important. Abuse is not because of who you are, what you wore, how you act, what you do, where you go, who you met or where you are from. Abuse is because the abuser wanted it to happen. That’s literally it.

Abuse is the most selfish act someone could commit. They chose to harm you simply because they wanted to. Maybe it made them feel good. Maybe it made them feel powerful. Maybe they got aroused by it. Maybe they like hurting people. Maybe it made them feel important. Maybe they enjoy manipulating people (think puppet-master complex).

Abuse is all about the abuser. It’s all about them. It’s about their motivations, their choices, their methods and their own issues. All grooming processes are actually about the abuser and what they get from the process – not about you. That means that if the process was never about you, and it was all about them, you cannot possibly be to blame.

Abuse is caused by abusers. Start to see your abuser as a selfish, horrible person with issues that cause them to choose to harm others who trust them.

You are not to blame.

3. It is not your job to fix abusive men
How many times have I said this to women around me? Over food. Over cocktails. Over coffee. Hundreds, maybe.

I’ve said it to three women in my life just this month.

The reality is, no matter how much you love this guy, you are not on this earth to fix all of his problems, behaviours and flaws. You are not his mother – and it’s not even his mother’s job to fix him.

When you got into that relationship, it wasn’t so you could end up becoming his therapist, referee, problem solver, lender, cleaner, chef, fixer and rescuer. Was it? (continues)

4. You are not going crazy
If we met, I would definitely be reminding you that all of your symptoms, experiences, thoughts and feelings about the abuse are totally normal and natural. (continues)

5. Friends and family might let you down
A sad reality for a lot of women and girls subjected to abuse is that family and friends often let us down. Research shows that many of us will be blamed, judged, outcast or bullied by our families and friends when we disclose or report abuse. (continues)

6. You are stronger than you will ever know
This one is short but extremely important. You might feel weak and hurt now, but trust me, if you have lived through abuse, violence, assaults, rape, bullying, gaslighting and fear – you are so much stronger than millions of other people. You are incredible. If you have already lived through that and coped (in one way or another) you already have amazing skills, endurance and strength.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than astounding. To live through what you experienced takes strength that some people will never ever know or need. You can do and become anything.

7. Life is going to be different from now on
Don’t panic. I don’t mean in a ‘waaaah your life is doomed’ type way. I mean in a ‘life will never be the same again, because you now have new life experiences and wisdom that will guide you.’ (continues)

You’re still you, but you’ve grown and you’ve changed through trauma. Don’t be scared by this. It’s okay. I promise.

8. The shame is not yours to bear
One thing a few women have talked to me about recently is a feeling of shame or embarrassment when other people find out their husband or boyfriend was abusive. They were worried what people would say about them or whether people would think they were stupid or lying.

I just want to tell you that the shame and the embarrassment sits squarely with the abuser, not you. You have nothing at all to feel guilty about, to be shamed for or to be embarrassed about. The fact that you made it out and escaped the abuser should make you so proud of yourself. Realise the strength you have and had to have every single day to deal with the abuser and their behaviour.

This is their shame and their shit, not yours. Don’t take on any of their shame. Brush it off and tell yourself that this is not your shame.

9. Give yourself time and love
This is one I should practice AND preach. As a victim of abuse myself, I wish I had given myself time and love. But then, I had no one to advise me and no one to talk to. But that’s one thing I wish I knew back then. I wish I had spent some time just being alone, spending money and time on myself, learning to love myself again and learning to be alone again. (continues)

Don’t rush yourself, be kind and compassionate. Take time.

10. Learn who you are again
The final thing I would say to you is this:

Abuse changes you. It makes you smaller. It morphs you into what the abuser wants you to be. It makes you compliant, scared, worried, angry, self-hating and ashamed. When you’ve left an abusive situation, you can sometimes wonder who the hell you turned into. You can sometimes wonder who you are – and where the ‘old you’ went.

It will take time, but learn about who you are again. What do you truly enjoy doing? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What food do you love? Where would you love to travel? What’s your favourite music? When was the last time you danced? When was the last time you laughed? What fulfils you? What excites you? What arouses you? What intrigues you? What motivates you? (continues)

After abuse, you might spend months or years learning who you really are – away from the control and power of an abuser. Go with the flow and try new things. Listen to your body.

Your life without the abuser is a huge adventure. Yeah, sometimes it is scary – but you are more than capable of dealing with the next chapter in your life.

Love to you,

Jessica x

Written by Jessica Eaton

Tweet: @JessicaE13Eaton

Web: //

Email: [email protected]

Coercive Control: a need for better awareness.
OP posts:

R0wantrees · 03/05/2019 11:25

And remember: every reference to partner/boyfriend/husband can also apply to online troll/stalker/abuser.

See thread by Coercive Control Conference:
'Trolling and Online Abuse - Is there a difference?'

worth thinking very carefully about

OP posts:

LangCleg · 03/05/2019 11:54

Trolling and Online Abuse - Is there a difference?

This is such a good thread. Just to pull out some stuff from the last section:

As someone who has been raising awareness and better the understanding of #coercivecontrol, I have been struck by the many similarities shared by certain online abusers and coercive and controlling ex partners. This is especially true of those who partake of online #mobbing.

The reason is to more effectively turn the tables and direct the abuse away from the mobbing campaign and onto the target whilst giving the impression the target is belligerent and antagonises others. Even better if the mobbing campaign has successfully provoked a reaction.

It's really vital that we understand these dynamics and never take things at face value. And also that the language of the women's sector can often illuminate what is happening to women online - especially with regard to the so-called gender wars.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Misogynists don't change much wherever they appear.


Genderfreelass · 03/05/2019 12:40

Such an important thread OP, thank you.


FloralBunting · 03/05/2019 12:42

This thread is what makes FWR such a valuable resource.


ancientoak · 03/05/2019 15:30

Thank you ROwantrees for the CCC attachment. It's an eye opener.

Recent events have demonstrated a classic case right down to the proxies.

TT has been recently taken down. Hope someone has screenshots/ print-outs just in case it disappears permanently.

Will try to share the CCC as widely as possible.

Thank you again

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