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Tactics of Abuse

Power & Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel shows the tactics batterers may use in order to maintain power and control over his/her partner. While physical violence is certainly a very powerful tool to control someone, it is rarely, if ever, the only tactic used. Abusive behaviors such as controlling the finances, using the children, or using emotional abuse can be just as effective as a way to control as physical abuse. Although the power and control wheel is used to show certain behaviors, it is certainly not an exclusive list.


The Cycle of Violence is a dynamic of an abusive relationship that some survivors experience. Although some survivors strongly identify with the cycle of violence, some never experience the cycle.

The Cycle of Violence shows the cycle that some survivors experience in their relationship. In the beginning of all relationships, the couple is happy and everything is wonderful. This is explained as the "honeymoon" stage. In some abusive relationships, however, the "honeymoon" wears off and tension begins to build. The survivor may feel like she is walking on eggshells to avoid an explosive incident. Eventually, the explosive incident occurs. This may involve physically battering the survivor. It could also involve destroying a loved object, harming her pet, taking the children, or more severe emotional abuse. After the explosive incident, the cycle goes back to the "honeymoon" stage. The batterer may give her flowers, special gifts, or promise to never do it again. If the couple stays together, the cycle often repeats over and over until the relationship ends. Survivors who have experienced the cycle of violence explain that often the "honeymoon" phase becomes shorter and shorter, and the explosive incidents more severe.