What is abuse? How can I identify an abuser? How can I tell if I’m the abuser?
Our definition of abuse: A pattern of coercive control (ongoing actions or inactions) that proceeds from a mentality of entitlement to power, whereby, through intimidation, manipulation and isolation, the abuser keeps his* target subordinated and under his control.
- mentality of entitlement
- pattern of coercive control
- power and control
The pattern can be emotional, verbal, psychological, spiritual, sexual, financial, social and physical. Not all these elements need be present, e.g., physical abuse may not be part of it.
Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away the victim’s liberty or freedom, to strip away their sense of self. It is not just the person’s bodily integrity which is violated but also their human rights.
Traditionally, domestic violence (domestic abuse) has been understood to be an incident or series of incidents of physical violence perpetrated by a partner or ex-partner. Indeed, sometimes it is understood to be a fight or a conflict between partners. This is a grave misconception. Learn more here: What is coercive control?
Definition of a domestic abuser: a family member or dating partner (current or ex) who has a profound mentality of entitlement to the possession of power and control over the one s/he* chooses to mistreat. This mentality of entitlement defines the very essence of the abuser. The abuser believes he is justified in using evil tactics to obtain and maintain that power and control.
- Sometimes the genders are reversed. See posts about male survivors.
We have these definitions in our sidebar, as they are vital to all our work.