Narcissistic Abuse, What Is Coercive Control?And How Do They Do This?

Is someone in your life, or have you ever had someone in your life controlling you without you even knowing it? You trust in others, believing and knowing we all make mistakes, yet we all love and care for each other. People surely don’t go around hurting and wanting to destroy others how they could? We often think that is something that happens in movies or on very rare occasions. So when it happens to us, we are left questioning, Do they even have the essential compassion and empathy to care? Unfortunately, as a lot of you might already know or coming to realise if a narcissist raised you or you had a narcissistic partner, some people simply only care about themselves only interested in meeting their own needs. What they gain from other people, then they throw you away, discard you, like you never truly mattered to them.

This is the harsh reality many of us have lived through, and it’s genuinely heartbreaking and draining to live with, also consuming and heartbreaking getting out. Once out and you recover, life becomes much happier and much more peaceful.

You can, and you will recover from this.

What is Coercive control?

Is someone angry at you and gives you dirty looks? Do they guilt trip you into doing things you wouldn’t normally do? Have they broken down all your boundaries? Do they make you feel as though everything is all your fault, and they have done no wrong? Do they make you think if only you’d change, all would be ok and they wouldn’t behave in that way? Have you changed who you are so many times for them to please them that you no longer know who you are? Are things going missing? Property getting damaged? Do you feel like your losing your own memory?

People’s misuse of your trusting kind nature when it is given to the wrong hands is hideous and devastating, leaving you with so many things to heal from. When someone takes power over you and your loving, kind nature, then manipulates you to exploit you and take control of your mind, from gaslighting to the silent treatment, then the projection to blame-shifting. Screaming insults to the subtle hurtful comments, planting seeds of self-doubt deep within your own subconscious, allowing them to take more control over you and your life slowly, with intermittent plays of them being nice when you get something right, reinforces in your own mind it was you.

It was never you. All you did was be kind with good intentions. When a robber walks into a bank to steal money and through fear the cashier hands the money over, the cashier is never to blame.

Controlling behaviour and emotional manipulation takes form in any relationship, from bosses at work, friends, family and partners, and also in many different ways, understanding cohesive control will help you know what you’ve been through, or what you might be going through and how to avoid the same happening again.

The need to dominate can be passed down from generation to generation, and this needs to be broken and stopped now.

When children are raised with narcissistic Coercive controlling parents, they either become the lost child, the scapegoat or the golden child. Whichever they fall under, they can either grow up to people please, never knowing who they indeed truly are and ending up with one narcissistic partner after another or becoming narcissistic themselves. Some do grow to form a healthy love for themselves and go on to build healthy relationships. All who’ve lived through it and started to recognise this can heal and recover and move on forming healthy friendships and relationships.

Coercive control is mental, emotional or psychological abuse. In legal terms, Coercive control is long term ongoing behaviour, where one person drip-feeds another into losing everything, losing friendship, family, money, jobs, children, homes, themselves and their reality. The manipulate slowly breaks down the victim’s personality, from breaking down boundaries, trust, health, self-respect, self-worth, and reality, to name a few. From the onslaught of mind game after mind game, it’s like living in a war zone. The target often ends up becoming confused and overwhelmed, losing all sense of self, left with guilt, disappointment and heartbreak.

They look for people who have some qualities that they can offer the narcissist, what they can use the person for. They look for people who’ve been previously a victim of abuse, perfectionists, put others first, resourceful, forgiving, helpful, empathetic, generous and kind, with poor self-esteem, vulnerable, they test small boundaries at first to see if they can break them down, this is why you need boundaries in place, as those they cannot break easily to start with they’ll often move onto an easier target, some might try harder to break your boundaries, the more you’d stick to your no the sooner they’ll go.

The abuser will often state they can not control themselves, things like. “You know what I’m like in the morning. You know what I’m like after a drink.” Again putting the blame subtly onto you, the abuser is actually deeply insecure so wants to dominate and control to make themselves feel better within themselves.

What is Coercive control?

  • Isolating from friends and family.
  • Controlling finances.
  • Forcing you to take part in things you don’t want to.
  • Damaging property.
  • Monitoring your activity and movements.
  • Threats to publish things about you or call police on you.
  • Threats to harm the family.
  • Threats to take your home.
  • Threats to harm you.
  • They are repeatedly putting you down.
  • They are depriving you of basic needs.
  • Humiliating you.
  • Taking control of where you sleep.
  • It is stopping you from doing day to day activities you enjoy.
  • Social media monitored or hacked.
  • What you wear.

Examples of coercive control tactics they use.

  • They monitor your outings, accuses you of things you haven’t done, cause arguments before you go out, or arguments when you get back, so you no longer want to bother going out or doing things for you, keeping you busy, so you don’t have time for your own hobbies. Play you off against friends and family, putting you in the middle and making you choose, often lying about what friends and family have said about you.
  • They control your money. Either not working and using yours, or letting you believe it’s a good idea for you not to work them not giving you enough, yet not allowing you back into work.
  • They will guilt trip you, triangulate you, shame you and pity play, to get you to break down your boundaries and do things you don’t want to or wouldn’t normally do.
  • They will damage property, from punching doors to smashing items up.
  • They can never let you have the last word, even if that means them sulking off and giving you the silent treatment.
  • They invalidate you, call you names, call you crazy, insecure, sensitive, put you down in obvious overt ways. “You look fat in that.” or covert means. “Are you really going to wear that?”
  • They use anger to intimidate you or silent treatment to punish you if you don’t give them what they want.
    They don’t give you any choice in your life by making you so afraid of their reactions, so you are too scared of what might happen if you don’t do as they say.
    They can’t compromise, and it’s their way or no way.
    They claim to know what’s best for you and find ways to force you into believing they are right.
    They hide things from you.
    They will make excuses and lies up about any evidence you have against them.

When it comes to being in a relationship, you usually do things for others out of love and respect, as the partner would do for you. Like the washing up, going to an event. It’s give and take, sometimes 50/50, others 80/20 and 20/80 and so on.

In a coercive controlling relationship, it’s 100 % you doing all through fear. They might intermittently do things. Still, when you ask yourself, will they ever truly do for you or did for you, and look at all you do for them, if it’s mostly you doing it all, you could be in a cohesive controlling relationship or have been in one.

Recovery steps.

  • Write down what truly happened, to put your memory and reality back, also to look through if you have doubts and want to reach out and get in touch with them.
  • Remove the abuser’s negative thoughts from your mind, and start to put your own in, “I am good enough. I do deserve better. I am worth it.” And keep going until you have removed them and you’re thinking for yourself again.
  • Start putting yourself first, when travelling on a plane if the cabin pressure drops, and you are told to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, you have to be at your best, now is the time always to be kind to yourself first, then be kinds to others.
  • Get creative, write, draw, sing, paint, garden, play an instrument, find your creative side again.
  • If you feel ok to do so, share your story with others that understand you, getting it out of your mind space, some people don’t want to out loud, this is normal, write it out and destroy it to get it out, or keep to refer back to.
  • Connect with good people, reach out to old family and friends. You might have to ditch your pride for this. Good family and friends will understand and be there for you, step out of your comfort zone and find places to meet new people, surround yourself with positive people now.
  • Dress how you want to dress for yourself, do the things you love doing for yourself and might have been stopped from doing them, go for that run, join the gym, hoover when you want, sleep when you want.
  • Create new routines for you, remove reminders of them.
  • Take control of your diet and exercise. Just start drinking a little more water and taking a walk. Yoga, meditation are extremely good. Dance to music on your phone.

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


Video on why narcissists can not compromise.

Video on trauma bonding.

3 thoughts on “Narcissistic Abuse, What Is Coercive Control?And How Do They Do This?

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