“He became more attentive every day, always phoning her to see how she was, asking who she was with and where she was going. In the end, you never saw them apart. Why he’d even have his hand around the back of her neck all the time, like he was “steering” her. So attentive and charming, it was so intense it became terrifying.” (1)
“She felt controlled, isolated from all other supports, dependent on him. He said he was the only one she was safe with, that he could protect her from everything and everyone. He would badmouth and ridicule everyone to her but continue to be charming to their faces. Slowly, as the years rolled on, the terror escalated and she soon heard the serious threats of: “If we separate, I’ll get everything! I’ll get the house, the car, the money, the kids and I’ll stand up in court and tell everyone you’re mad and get you locked away.” (1)
This real-life account, written by a Broken to Brilliant author, provides just a snippet of what it feels like to be coercively controlled.
So what exactly is coercive control? Here is a quick summary - Isolating you from your support system; Monitoring your activity; Denying your freedom and autonomy; Gaslighting; Name-calling and putting you down; Limiting your access to money; Reinforcing traditional gender roles; Turning your kids against you; Controlling aspects of your health and body; Making jealous accusations; Regulating your sexual relationship; and Threatening your children and/or pets. (2)
Our 32 Broken to Brilliant authors have all experienced coercive control and abuse. They are domestic violence survivors and thrivers who’ve generously shared their strategies and tips on how to rebuild your life after abuse. It is possible to recover from coercive control. And if they can do it, so can you.
Here are their top ten strategies: