Relationships are all about affection, understanding and standing by one another in hard times. It can be pretty hard to realize that you are undergoing coercive control in your relationship as it is tough to pin point. Threat, humiliation and isolation; these are the simple weapons that are used by a partner while in a relationship to gain control over their partner. A trap of domination is what coercive control is and it even when it is hard to identify, it can be suffocating. Thus, if you feel that you are being suffocated, you must understand that your partner is trying to control you, rather than live each moment with you.
What is Coercive Control in Relationships?
Coercive control is a type of domestic abuse but it doesn’t have to be physical as it is mostly mental abuse on a lower and dominating manner. It involves things as isolation, assault, humiliation and threats. This term was introduced by Evan Stark and helps in targeting an abuse that is more than a fight but less than a physical assault.
According to a lot of relationship therapists, coercive control targets the victim to be captured in a world that is not real and is isolated from people who think good for them or are trying to be an ultimate support for them. A world that seems more of confusion, fear and contradiction is not a world of love at all. It is coercive control that does not let you live to the fullest with your partner and the people around you as well.
Signs of Coercive Control in your Relationship:
How are you going to know that you are being controlled by your partner rather than living in the moment with you. Here are some signs of coercive control in relationships:
- They isolate you:
Isolation is a huge sign of coercive control in relationships. Your partner tends to isolate you from your friends and family. They achieve the concept of isolation gradually as they make you feel guilty if you are not hanging out with them and prefer your own friends once a while. This will instantly make you feel guilty and you will slowly begin to isolate yourself.
- They have an Opinion in EVERYTHING:
If your partner is controlling you, they will have an opinion about everything. From your style to your school and from your eating habits to which you hang out with; they will want to have a say in everything. Also, their opinion is somewhat the ONLY way for you and they leave no other option. Even if you do come out of their opinion once in a while, they are going to use it against you later on.
- No Trust; Only Doubts:
A controlling relationship has not trust foundation. The sense of controlling someone arises due to fear of losing and vulnerability. These two never let a person trust someone and thus they tend to control. Usually people, who are hurt before, have a coercive controlling behavior. But the past cannot define you and the fear of betrayal cannot allow you to control someone for a long time as it is not healthy for the partner.
- Need of Reassurance: If your partner is trying to control you, he or she will need reassurance. They constantly want reconfirmation of the fact that you love them and you are not going to leave them. Where in the beginning of a relationship, this might seem lovely but as time passes by, the need of reassuring your partner that you love them and won’t be leaving them can get annoying.
- They wish to be your Shield: In a controlling relationship, the partner starts to act more like a keeper than a partner. They wish to “protect” you from everyone even when there is clearly no need for it. They tend to keep you safe from everything but them. This not only isolates you but also gives them the power to control you a lot.
Is Coercive Control a Crime?
Coercive control is illegal and is stated as a crime. If you are personally facing this issue then you can report it to the police immediately. In coercive control relationships, it gets extremely hard to get rid of the partner. Thus, reporting it somewhat gets essential if it is being challenging to leave your partner behind. The person who is found guilty is prisoned for 5 years or he might have to pay a fine too. In serious cases, the guilty might have to be charged with both. Also the fine is not that easy to handle as it is a hefty amount.
The court can also restrain order for your protection if the person found guilty is an extremist. This tends to ensure your safety at all points and also offers you mental peace which you might have been lacking severely due to the relationship.
Is coercive control common?
Coercive control has nothing to do with love; it is all about controlling and owning a person. Yes it is 76% percent coercive control cases happen in an intimate partner context and happens in 5 out of ten relationships according to survey results.
How to assess Coercive Control?
There are a lot of ways through which you can assess coercive control. It is not that hard. If you feel like you are not living your best life in a relationship, you might be overlooking the fact that your partner is not living the moment with you but is controlling you. Here is how, through some simple habits of your partner, you can assess the fact that they are focusing on controlling you.
- Monitoring your activities with your friends and family; always wanting to know what you are doing and where you exactly are.
- Constantly checking up with you about where you are and what you are up to.
- Questioning your behavior all the time. Whether you are sad or you are happy; your partner is simply interested in questioning your whereabouts instead of being understanding or helpful.
- They constantly remind you that you hold no worth and you are not capable of anything. They try to pull you down a lot and demotivate your spirit too.
- A controlling partner is never going to give you your space or allow you to have your own privacy. They would want to poke in everything you do. This is very annoying and you easily pick up on this behavior.
- They tend to get angry at pity issues and make them large. It is usually as if they are trying to fetch for reasons to get angry at you and make you guilty.
- You don’t feel like yourself when you are around them. You feel uncomfortable and the fear of not upsetting them is always hanging upon your head like a knife. Thus, you pretend all the time and also lie to make sure that you don’t upset them.
- Controlling partners love to control what you wear and how you style up. They would hate you to expose and would like you to dress very poorly while you hang out with your friends. They slowly disrupt your sense of style and isolate you from people around you, killing your social life.
- You start behaving and doing things in a specific manner only. This specific manner is the one that suits them the best and you tend to make sure that you do it all in that way only so that nothing goes wrong in your relationship.
- Your feelings and needs are the least important thing for them. They only care about how they feel and what is important for them.
Law on Coercive Control:
The coercive control law is not applicable for everyone. If you are being abused mentally and your partner is trying to control you; you can apply to the “family court” only if you both are:
- You are or were married or indulged in a civil partnership or were/are engaged
- Whether you are or were living together
- If you both are related in anyway by blood or partnership
- If you have had a baby together or had a responsibility of a baby on your shoulders
- Or you were in an indulged in an intimate relationship
The law for coercive control is complex and it is best to ask about its applicability from the family court before taking action.
When did coercive control become an offence in the UK?
Coercive control became an offence on 29 December in 2015. Thus, it is only applied to coercive behavior that happened after this date. No claims of coercive behavior, before 29th December 2015 is accepted. Also, if your partner started controlling you in a mentally abusive manner before 29 December 2015 and continued doing so after this date too, then he can be charged for the behavior after the stated date. His behavior before 29 December 2015 is not chargeable but it can be a definite proof for showcasing his personality and negative aspect.
Is Coercive Control Common?
Coercive control is getting common these days due to insecurities in relationships these days. Insecurity and fear of losing someone boosts coercive control between partners. The best way to put a halt to it is to step outside any relationship that makes you feel like you are being controlled and is not letting you live at your fullest. Don’t accept disrespect and control thinking that it is love because it is not.
What is Coercive Control Recovery?
It is a time taking process to recover out from a mentally abusive relationship. Coercive control isolates you in a very bad manner and it tends to upset your lifestyle negatively. Being stalked, monitored and isolated from everyone is an abuse that is hard to forget and it definitely leaves it marks. It is not important that only physical abuse has its side effects. The side effects of coercive control are too long lasting. They tend to make a person frightened and they are unable to trust someone again for the purpose of love.
Relationship counselling can really help such people in overcoming that horrendous experience. A therapist can help you escape such a relationship and if you have successfully escaped it, counselling can aid you in overcoming its side effects. The therapist helps the effected person to reclaim the activities that were restricted for them while they were in the relationship. This opens ways of recovery for the person and makes them feel alive again. Thus, to recover from a coercive relation, it is best that you consult a relationship counselled as they know best as to how they can help you out of the situation in the best way.
Stepping out of a relationship is very hard but it is even harder to struggle in a commitment that does not make you feel strong and loved. The only basis on which a relationship can stand is trust and if that lacks, only then, coercive controlling takes its place. Thus, if your partner does not let you be on your own and disrupts who you really are, then you must step outside of that relationship as fast as you can. If you are in need to help then you can simply rely on https://relationshipsmdd.com/product/coercive-control-package-for-manipulative-relationships/. They are the best relationship therapists and are amazing when it comes to helping in recovery from a bad relation. There packages are also wonderful and the expertise they have on board won’t be disappointing at all.
Don’t lose yourself in the process of loving someone else. This is why it is considered extremely crucial to love your own self before loving someone else. Why? Because this gives you a feeling and understanding of what you deserve and what is best for you. Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve and what you can handle. If you see signs of a controlling behavior in your partner, then sit and try to talk it out with them. If it all continues, simply walk out. And if they don’t seem to be leaving you, you can report them for coercive controlling too as it is legally stated as a crime. Learn more about coercive control in relationships over here: https://coercivecontrol.ripfa.org.uk/