It's About Power and Control

This wheel represents a snapshot of what a violent teen dating relationship looks like. While it doesn't cover every survivor's experience, it does portray the most common tactics teen abusers use against their dating partners.

You will notice that the center, or hub, of the wheel is "Power and Control." This is at the very heart of this wheel because power and control are the reasons abusers choose to use violence and other tactics against their dating partners. They want complete power over and control of their partners.

In order to get that power and control, most teen abusers start out very slyly using the various tactics - or spokes - of the wheel, but usually increase their use of them over time. These include anger/emotional abuse, using social status, intimidation, minimize/deny/blame, threats, sexual coercion, isolation/exclusion and peer pressure.

The outer rim of the wheel is physical violence as violent acts or the threat of violent acts are what abusers use to get and keep their power and control over their dating partners.

Here is an easily printable version of the Power and Control Wheel.

Teen Power and Control Wheel Minimize/Deny/Blame. Making light of the abuse and not taking concerns about it seriously. Saying the abuse didn't happen. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior. Saying he/she caused it. Intimidation. Making someone afraid by using looks, actions, gestures. Smashing things. Destroying property. Abusing pets. Displaying weapons. Using Social Status. Treating her like a servant. Making all the decisions. Acting like the master of the castle. Being the one to define men's and women's roles. Anger/Emotional Abuse. Putting him/her down. Making him/her feel bad abut him or herself. Name calling. Making him/her think he/she's crazy. Playing mind games. Humiliating him/her. Making him/her feel guilty. Threats. Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt another. Threatening to leave, to commit suicide, to report him/her to the police. making him/her drop charges. Making him/her do illegal things. Sexual Coercion. Manipulating or making threats to get sex. Getting her pregnant. Threatening to take the children away. Getting someone drunk or drugged to have sex. Isolation/Exclusion. Controlling what another does, who he/she sees, and talks to, what he/she reads, where he/she goes. Limiting outside involvement. Using jealousy to justify actions. Peer Pressure. Threatening to expose someone's weakness or spread rumors. Telling malicious lies about an individual to peer group.

Related Documents
DHS-DatingViolence-PowerControlWheel PDF icon