Abusive power and control (also controlling behavior and coercive control) is the way that an abusive person gains and maintains power and control over another person in order to subject that victim to psychological, physical, sexual, or financial abuse.The motivations of the abuser are varied and can include devaluation, envy, personal gain, personal gratification, psychological projection, or just for the sake of the enjoyment of exercising power and control.
Controlling abusers use tactics to exert power and control over their victims.
The tactics themselves are psychologically and sometimes physically abusive.
Sorenson and colleagues have called strangulation the domestic violence equivalent of waterboarding, which is widely considered to be a form of torture.
Absolute control may be sought by any of four types of sadists: explosive, enforcing, tyrannical, or spineless sadists.
Understanding these dynamics are useful to anyone trying to extricate from the controlling behavior of another person, and deal with their own compulsions to do things that are uncomfortable, undesirable, burdensome, or self-sacrificing for others.
There are different levels of demands - demands that are of little consequence, demands that involve important issues or personal integrity, demands that affect major life decisions, and/or demands that are dangerous or illegal.
According to Jill Cory and Karen Mc Andless-Davis, authors of When Love Hurts: A Woman's Guide to Understanding Abuse in Relationships: Each of the tactics within the power and control wheel are used to "maintain power and control in the relationship.
No matter what tactics your partner uses, the effect is to control and intimidate you or to influence you to feel that you do not have an equal voice in the relationship." A tool for exerting control and power is the use of threats and coercion.
The silent treatment thereby enables its perpetrator to cause hurt, obtain ongoing attention in the form of repeated attempts by the victim to restore dialogue, maintain a position of power through creating uncertainty over how long the verbal silence and associated impossibility of resolution will last, and derive the satisfaction that the perpetrator associates with each of these consequences.