Cella’s Chat: Do You Recognize Power and Control in Domestic Violence Situations?

Domestic Violence As I sit here with tears of disbelief after watching a documentary on domestic violence (“Crime After Crime” or “Telling Amy’s Story” are two powerful documentaries to watch on this subject), I am stirred and moved to talk and bring awareness to this subject.  Many people know that my passion is speaking about suicide prevention and awareness as I, too, have come face to face with this devil.  Recently, I have been getting more involved with the domestic violence issues in my community, which are not just isolated to the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, but are an epidemic around the world!  Did you know that every 9 seconds a woman is beat?  Yes, I said seconds, not minutes, hours or days!  I, myself, buried for years the fact that, not only did I witness domestic violence in my own home, but my first relationship also contained the cycle of power and control.  Domestic violence IS ultimately about control.

To help you better understand this cycle, I am including information from the Power and Control wheel which I hope helps you, or someone you love, identify the patterns of abuse and violent behavior an abuser may exhibit.


  • Intimidation: Making the partner afraid by using threats, looks, and gestures.  Destroying the partner’s property.  Abusing pets. Wielding weapons or kitchen implements.
  • Emotional Abuse:  Putting him or her down.  Humiliating the person.  Playing head games.  Not taking responsibility for one’s own actions.  Ridiculing the partner’s appearance or sexual performance.
  • Isolation:  Controlling what he or she does, who the partner sees and talks to, what he or she reads, and where the partner goes.  Limiting the partner’s outside activities.  Using jealousy to justify actions.
  • Denying, Minimizing, and Blaming:  Making fun of the abuse and not taking his or her concerns seriously.  Saying the abuse didn’t happen.  Shifting responsibility for the behavior.  Saying the victim caused it.
  • Using Children:  Making the partner feel guilty about the children.  Criticizing the partner in front of the children. Telling the children the partner doesn’t love them.  Interfering with visitation.
  • Economic Abuse:  Preventing the partner from getting a job, or demanding the partner work longer hours or get a second job.  Making the partner ask for money.  Not letting the partner have access to family income.
  • Gender Privilege:  Treating the partner like a servant, acting like the “king or queen of the castle.”  Being the one to define the partner’s roles.  Making a false allegation.
  • Coercion and Threats:  Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt the partner.  Threatening to leave the partner or report the person to welfare.  Threatening to make a false accusation.


A few other statistics that you may find helpful are:

  • Females experience the highest amount of intimate partner violence between the ages of 16-24.
  • Among female teenage victims of violence, a former or current boyfriend or girlfriend was responsible 94% of the time.
  • 1 in 4 people have been called names and harassed by a partner via text message.
  • 30% of teens in relationships have been “stalked” by their partners 10, 20, 30 times an hour through text messages that ask “Where are you? Are you with someone?  What are you doing?”
  • Over half the rape victims report being raped between the ages of 12-24.
  • Half of the reported date rapes occur amongst teenagers.
  • 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or a peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by a dating partner.
  • 57% of teens knows someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.


Generally, I don’t fill my blogs up with statistics, however, I feel the extreme need to get this information out.  I think the staggering facts above are clear that much of this abuse happens in young relationships.  It happened to me as well.  What we think is love is merely possessive behavior designed to look like love by manipulating one’s feelings.  It isn’t love to smother a person, track their every move, stalk them, blow up their phone with text messages or physically touch them in any manner that is abusive.  It is also a common pattern that the controlling abusive partner turns around after the abuse occurs and melts into a tyrade of “I’m sorry’s” and “I love you so much” language that it becomes so deep you could literally trudge through it with rubber boots on.  This is part of the abuse cycle.


If you are in this situation or someone you love is in the situation, please know there is help.  You can always go to the police, get a restraining order, obtain advice from our Clergy, find a local domestic violence shelter in your area or contact a domestic violence advocate.  Unfortunately, sometimes the violence escalates upon a person’s decision to leave.  Remember, we are valuable and each person has the right to be treated with kindness, express their feelings peacefully, earn and spend their own money, wear what makes them comfortable, be talked to respectfully and end a relationship that doesn’t make them happy.

Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.



  1. Thank you very much for bringing this to light. Many people think abuse is only physical. Great article, Cella.

  2. It is also important to remember that this pattern is not exclusive to the female population, or to heterosexual relationships. Abuse is seen on both sides of fence and sometimes the feeling of desperation is deeper because of the stigma or shame. (That abuse has happened to a person that has traditionally been viewed as tough and strong)!!

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