the power & control wheel

Developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, Minnesota, the Power and Control Wheel illustrates the tactics an abuser uses on their victim. Constantly surrounded by threats and/or actual physical and sexual abuse, the victim is subjected to the various tactics listed in the spokes as the abuser attempts to exert complete power and control.

*adapted by Jen Snider to be gender neutral and with slight modifications not included in the original

Power & Control Methods

There are many methods used by abusers to exercise power and control over their victims.

Using Intimidation

Makes me feel afraid or unsafe with actions, gestures, looks; Throws things; Breaks things; Damages my property; Abuses your pets; Displays weapons.

Power & Control Wheel

Using Emotional Abuse

Puts me down; Makes me feel bad about myself; Calls me names; Makes me think I am crazy, misinterpreting or over-reacting; Plays mind games; Humiliates me; Makes me feel guilty or ashamed.

Using Isolation

Controls what I do, who I see, what I read, where I go and who I talk to; Limits my volunteer, religious or outside activities; Monitors my behavior and communication; Uses jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

Makes light of the abuse; Doesn’t take my concerns seriously; Denies abuse ever happened; Shifts blame for the abuse to me by saying I caused it.

Using Children

Makes me feel guilty about the children; Uses the children to relay messages; Uses visitation to harass me; Threatens to take the children away.

Using Privilege

Treats me like a servant; Acts like the “head of the household”; Makes all the big decisions; Defines each person’s role in the relationship; Uses gender, race, class, etc. stereotypes against me.

Using Economic Abuse

Prevents me from getting or keeping a job; Makes me ask for money; Gives me an allowance; Takes my money; Refuses to let me know about or have access to shared income.

Using Coercion And Threats

Makes and/or carries out threats to hurt me; Threatens to commit suicide; Threatens to report/embarrass/out me to an agency or others; Threatens to leave me; Pressures me to commit illegal actions.

you are loved

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

II Corinthians 4:8-9