The National Domestic Violence Hotline uses the “Power and Control Wheel” to describe what happens over the course of a domestic violence relationship. This includes a partner’s assertion of power and control over another person using intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, “minimizing, denying, and blaming”, children, male privilege, economic abuse, and “coercion and threats”. While these concepts are easy to understand on paper, it can be surprisingly difficult to recognize the signs of domestic violence while you are living it.
This is particularly true early in a relationship, when the joy and happiness of new love makes it easy to overlook potential problems. Further, abusers will “test the waters” with their violent or controlling behavior early in the relationship in order to condition their partners for the escalation to come. It is therefore important to recognize the earliest warning signs of domestic violence in your relationship, or in the relationship of someone you care about, so that you can seek appropriate help.
- Self-esteem — Your partner may begin with playful teasing and insults, which escalates over time into denigrating name calling, convincing you that you make bad decisions, or insulting your looks and your intelligence.
- Money — Your partner asks a lot of questions about your money, perpetually criticizes how you spend your money, and eventually begins to restrict and completely control your access to your money. This may even extend into preventing you from working or getting an education so that you do not have access to an income.
- Communication — Your partner shows intense curiosity about who you are communicating with in person, by text, by phone, at work, and over social media. This curiosity can quickly move into the territory of jealousy—which manifests in spying and restricting your ability to see people or communicate electronically.
- Children — Your partner may begin with criticism of your parenting, which can turn into insults toward your parenting ability and ultimately, threats to your children or your parental rights.
- Isolation — Your partner consistently expresses a dislike for your friends and family, does not want to see them, and begins to pressure you into limiting communication with them.
- Sex — Your partner uses intimidation or pressure to coerce you into sex, or into sex acts with which you are uncomfortable.
- Intimidation — Your partner may use a threat or implication of force, such as menacing looks, throwing items when making a point, hitting walls, or hitting themselves. This may escalate into grabbing, pushing, and other forms of physical abuse.
New Direction Family Law
New Direction Family Law is a family law firm that handles all legal issues surrounding separations and divorces, including domestic violence protective orders. The needs of our clients are our top priority and we pride ourselves in providing thoughtful, compassionate legal guidance. Our knowledgeable attorneys will provide smart, effective legal advocacy to make sure that your voice is heard and your rights are enforced. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us at our website.