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Power and Control Wheel


Not all abusive relationships include physical violence. The power and control wheel is a diagram that demonstrates abuse behaviors.

Individually, these actions may not indicate a problem, but when they occur repeatedly, they can be the sign of abuse.

  • Making fun of a partner’s clothes, weight, appearance, grades, hobbies, friends, etc
  • Minimizing, normalizing or denying abusive behaviors
  • Blaming partner for “provoking” abusive actions or telling partner they deserve it
  • Using past sexual experience or inexperience to humiliate partner
  • Posting or distributing revealing photos without permission
  • Following partner or showing up uninvited (to classes / job / home)
  • Constantly contacting them when you’re apart (calling, texting, snapchatting, etc)
  • Framing jealousy as a sign of love
  • Monitoring / hacking into phone, email, Facebook, etc
  • Constant accusations of cheating
  • Controlling who partner spends time with or pressuring them to choose between spending time as a couple rather than with family or friendsPhysical
  • Making all the decisions in the relationship
  • Feeling entitled to dictate what your partner wears, eats, or believes
  • Forcing or pressuring a partner to consume more alcohol / drugs than they want to
  • Threatening to out a person as GLBTQ
  • Threatening to hurt pets / family / self if relationship ends
  • Hitting, punching, shoving, slapping, kicking, pushing, pulling hair, biting, tripping, or grabbing partner or other objects / doors / walls
  • Putting hands around throat or cutting off air supply
  • Destroying sentimental items
  • Refusing to wear a condom, controlling choices about a partner’s birth control, termination of pregnancy, or STI screening
  • Consuming pornography against a partner’s wishes
  • Using guilt, pressure, coercion, alcohol, or drugs to get sexThreats
  • Making hurtful comments about a partner’s race, sexuality, disability, age, gender, or other marginalized identity
  • Threatening to disclose personal information about a partner’s identity• Choosing to date someone of a particular identity because its “exotic” or “cool”
  •  Believing that a partner’s marginalized identity makes them less valuable / smart / competent / capable
  • Discrediting or minimizing a partner’s experiences related to experiencing or witnessing oppressionNot
  • Telling partner they aren’t smart enough to be in college
  •  Signing up for the same classes or sitting outside a partner’s classes in order to monitor them
  • Interfering with a partner’s class attendance (i.e., using guilt to make them stay home)• Intentionally starting fights the night before an exam or not allowing them enough time to study
  • Preventing partner from applying for jobs / internships / opportunitiesUsing