Power and Control Wheel: Coercion and Threats
Making and/or carrying out threats to do
something to hurt her.
Threatening to leave her,
commit suicide, or report
her to welfare. Making
her drop charges.
Making her do illegal
Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her. Bubba didn’t make overt threats to hurt the children or me. He didn’t need to. The implied threats were strong enough that he didn’t have to be verbal. When he got angry, he would tower over us, clench his fists, the veins in his head would bulge, and his body posture was puffed up – making him appear bigger and scarier. Why would he have to say one word when the physical intimidation spoke louder than anything he could utter?
Threatening to leave her, commit suicide, or report her to welfare. Bubba used to threaten to divorce me each and every time we’d have a fight. His answer to everything was, “Fine! We’ll just get divorced then!” Being a stay-at-home mom, this struck terror into my heart. I was states away from my family and support so threatening to divorce me shut me up quickly. As soon as he would say it, I would acquiesce to whatever it was Bubba wanted. All fight would go out of me. It got to a point where I stopped telling him when I was hurt or upset because I knew it would end with him threatening divorce. It was just easier to swallow my feelings than to try to take things to him in a reasonable manner. You can’t discuss things reasonably with an unreasonable person.
Bubba threatened to kill himself. That was just prior to The Incident. I think that is what scared me enough to push to get him to go to the ER and for the doctors to admit him to the psych ward. He’d threatened to kill himself and I firmly believed that he would hurt me before he’d ever try to hurt himself. He’s just self-centered enough to not hurt himself when he had me around.
About 4 years ago, Bubba was trying to get to Serenity. They’d argued about something and she’d given him attitude. It was enough to have him flying into a rage. She ran away from him and he was really trying to get to her. I stepped between them and he pushed me across the room. I got them calmed a bit and told both of them to stay still. I ran to get the boys and I put them in my car. As I was getting into the car myself, Bubba screamed that if I took the kids he’d call the cops and tell them I’d kidnapped the kids. I didn’t know any better and I believed him. He apologized and promised he’d get help. I believe him – yet again, I believed him. And again, no changes were made. We’d once again entered the honeymoon stage and I believed that this time would be different.
Making her drop charges. Making her do illegal things. We didn’t have these things in our relationship. If your spouse has found ways of making you drop charges against him or if he’s made you do illegal things, please contact your local domestic violence agency for help.