Domestic Abuse | Webster University

Power and Control — Weapons of an Abuser

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project states that weapons of Abuse include:


Yelling, screaming , belittling, raising fists, knocking down doors, "playing with" guns or weapons, threats, playing mind games....these are subtle messages that an abuser uses to tell his victim to "watch it."

Verbal Attacks

By attacking verbally the abuser keeps his hands clean but effectively degrades and intimidates his victim until her senses of perception is unstable, and her self-esteem is lowered until she believes what he says is true


The abuser is better able to control their victim if they can isolate them from family, friends, and people who can help. Often the victim becomes a prisoner in their own home, unable to invite people over, and unable to go out, without their permission

Minimizing, Denying & Blaming

The abuser needs someone else on which to place blame because their fragile ego cannot handle it. An abuser may become psychotic by denying that they hurt the victim followed by accusing them for hurting him and then minimizing the injuries. It is also common for an abuser to say to their victim, "you made me hit you."

Using Children

An abuser who wants to use children as weapons may take their ex-spouse to court when they withhold visitation because the children are sick. An abuser will also feel a great sense of control by keeping the children past the court-appointed time of visitation or refusing to provide their ex-spouse with travel information when they take them out of town.

Abusing Authority

Many abusers distort the Scriptures to validate their heavy handed control and to keep their spouse in line. Whenever he/she fails to meet their demands there is a reminder that he/she is head of this house and he/she must submit to whatever he/she said.

Economic Control

This type of abuse leaves the victim helplessly in the abuser's control as they have to beg for every penny and account for the pittance he/she is given. It often leaves them trapped without means to get help.

Coercion and Threats

An abuser uses threats to keep his victim in continuous fear so they will do whatever he/she demands. He may even coerce you into illegal acts by intimidation and belittling.

Physical Violence

When an abuser's power and control is threatened they will usually resort to physical violence to instill fear and regain control.