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Power and Control

STOP Violence Program

Power and Control

The violence in abusive relationships doesn't come from anger; it's a method of control. Abusers care more about their own happiness and well-being than that of their partner, and they are willing to treat their partner terribly or even hurt or kill their partner as a result.

The Power and Control Wheel is a diagram developed by a domestic violence program in Duluth, MN. It was created based on the experiences of survivors of domestic violence, and offers a good snapshot of the types of behaviors (excluding physical and sexual violence) that are most common in abusive relationships.

Power and Control Wheel

If you recognize some of these behaviors as things that your partner does, please contact STOP Violence or the Albany County SAFE Project to talk about what's going on. We're here to help. You can also download a copy of the power and control wheel.

Because abuse isn't caused by uncontrollable anger, anger management counseling programs won't help stop the abuse. Violence in relationships also isn't caused by drugs and alcohol (although they can make the violence worse) so recovery programs like AA or substance abuse counseling also won't stop the abuse. Counseling can help, but it needs to focus on the abuser's feelings of entitlement and superiority. Abusers often blame the victim, their own anger, or substance abuse for the violence, instead of taking responsibility.

Power and Control

Ellen Pence talks about the development of the Power and Control Wheel.

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