Types of Abuse

Many Ways to Dominate

There are many methods of manipulation. Coercive control can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural, verbal or financial. Here is a breakdown of the most common types of abuse.

This might include: Physical abuse is usually the final stage, not the starting point, of coercive control; Sexual abuse occurs when a person is forced to take part in any sexual activity; Emotional abuse happens when someone says or does something to make another person feel stupid or worthless; Psychological abuse occurs when someone uses threats and intimidation, causing fear in order to gain control of someone; Spiritual or religious abuse occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control them; Cultural abuse happens when an individual’s culture or religion imposes harmful practices; Verbal abuse occurs when someone uses written or spoken language to threaten, intimidate or otherwise undermine another person; Financial abuse occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent, or misuses those resources; Neglect occurs when someone fails in their responsibility to provide care or assistance to another; Lastly, Bullying is the foundation of all coercive control.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is usually the final stage, not the starting point, of coercive control. It happens when someone strikes or physically restrains another person, but also includes painful pinching, squeezing forcefully, and pushing or shoving.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a person is forced to take part in any sexual activity. Genital mutilation and enforced abortion are extreme forms of sexual abuse. Legally, any unwanted sexually motivated touch is an assault, but an assault may take the form of verbal sexual harassment (such as catcalls) and/or enforced social roles, as well as any doctrinal assertion that either gender is inherently superior.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse happens when someone says or does something to make another person feel stupid or worthless. Anyone can make a rude or hostile comment, but emotional abusers consistently, deliberately and systematically belittle other people.

Psychological abuse

Psychological abuse occurs when someone uses threats and intimidation, causing fear in order to gain control of someone. Psychological abuse is common in abusive relationships and toxic groups. “Gaslighting” is a common form of psychological abuse where the victim is tricked into believing that they have mental difficulties.

Spiritual or religious abuse

Spiritual or religious abuse occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control them. In religious cults, this means the manipulation of doctrine to cause fear and dependency, where the leadership’s least whim is treated as if it were a divine decree.

Cultural abuse

Cultural abuse happens when an individual’s culture or religion imposes harmful practices, such as the painful and debilitating foot-binding suffered for centuries by the women of China. Even today, many people go without proper medical treatment due to the anti-scientific views of their cultural or religious groups.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse occurs when someone uses written or spoken language to threaten, intimidate or otherwise undermine another person. Verbal abuse can have lasting emotional and even physiological effects.

Bullying

Bullying is the foundation of all coercive control. While the problem is now recognized in schools, much more needs to be done to eliminate bullying from business and home environments. Bullying usually consists of verbal abuse, but can easily escalate to abuse, and leads to a feeling of helplessness for those who are bullied.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent, or misuses those resources. Predatory individuals and destructive groups use undue influence to take control of their victims’ financial resources.

Neglect

Neglect occurs when someone fails in their responsibility to provide care or assistance to another. Predatory people strip away the assets of a victim, and then abandon them. They have no concern for either young or old. A culture of neglect has been found in some care homes for the elderly, in children’s homes, prisons and mental hospitals.

Physical Abuse – Coercive Control

Physical violence is usually the final stage, not the starting point, of coercive control. It happens when someone strikes or physically restrains another person, but also includes painful pinching, squeezing forcefully, and pushing or shoving. 

Physical Abuse/ Domestic Violence Resources

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a person is forced or tricked into taking part in any sexual activity. Genital mutilation and enforced abortion are extreme forms of sexual abuse. Legally, any unwanted sexually motivated touch is an assault, but an assault may take the form of verbal sexual harassment (such as catcalls) and/or enforced social roles, as well as any doctrinal assertion that either gender is inherently superior.

Sexual Abuse Resources

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse happens when someone says or does something to make another person feel stupid or worthless. Anyone can make a rude or hostile comment, but emotional abusers consistently, deliberately and systematically belittle other people.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse occurs when someone uses threats and intimidation, causing fear to gain control of someone. Psychological abuse is common in abusive relationships and toxic groups. “Gaslighting” is a common form of psychological violence where the victim is tricked into believing that they have psychological problems.

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual or religious abuse occurs when someone uses an individual’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate or control them. In religious cults, this means the manipulation of doctrine to cause fear and dependency, where the leadership’s least whim is treated as if it were a divine decree.

Cultural Abuse

Cultural abuse happens when an individual’s culture or religion imposes harmful practices, such as the painful and debilitating foot-binding suffered for centuries by the women of China. Even today, many people go without proper medical treatment due to the anti-scientific views of their cultural or religious groups.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse occurs when someone uses written or spoken language to threaten, intimidate or otherwise undermine another person. Verbal abuse can have lasting emotional and even physiological effects.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse occurs when someone controls an individual’s financial resources without the person’s consent, or misuses those resources. Predatory individuals and destructive groups use undue influence to take control of their victims’ financial resources.

Neglect

Neglect occurs when someone fails in their responsibility to provide care or assistance to another. Predatory people strip away the assets of a victim, and then abandon them. They have no concern for either young or old. A culture of neglect has been found in some care homes for the elderly, in children’s homes, prisons and mental hospitals.

Bullying

Bullying is the foundation of all coercive control. While the problem is now recognized in schools, much more needs to be done to eliminate bullying from business and home environments. Bullying usually consists of verbal abuse, but can easily escalate to violence, and leads to a feeling of helplessness for those who are bullied.

Bullying doesn’t just happen to schoolchildren. This form of influence happens throughout society: in the workplace, social clubs, places of worship, and wherever people of any age gather.

Bullying is commonly defined as aggressive, domineering behavior, determined by four factors:

  • it is deliberate
  • it is intended to cause pain, discomfort or fear
  • it relies on an imbalance of power, and
  • it is persistent.

Bullying can take several forms, the most common of which are:

  • physical abuse – slapping, pushing, kicking, shoving or using force to intimidate
  • exclusion – deliberately excluding people from social events, or using the silent treatment (shunning and alienation are extreme forms of this)
  • slander or mudslinging – spreading false, malicious rumors
  • verbal abuse – name-calling, taunting, jeering, and mocking
  • degradation – using shame, embarrassment, or threats to coerce and subjugate

There are also targeted forms of bullying, where people are harassed for their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, physical ability, economic status, their appearance, their perceived social standing, or any other difference from the majority. Although our society is becoming more inclusive of diversity, there are still far too many instances where those who are seen as different in some way are picked on and bullied mercilessly.

Whether targeted or not, bullying is at the base of most undue influence. It is the common tool of both destructive groups and predatory individuals. Underneath the demand for compliance, there is usually a threat or an induced phobia. Bullying can be used to coerce people into anything from handing over their lunch money to avoid a blow, to handing over their children, to avoid damnation.

Bullying can lead to disastrous results: without support, victims do not learn the social confidence needed to fend off the attacks, and they can make disastrous choices, sometimes causing irreparable damage. Victims of bullying can become isolated and can resort to suicide – the most significant cause of death in young people. Out of rage, some victims will lash out and go on the offensive. The epidemic of school shootings in the US is often a response to bullying.

A culture that rejects bullying and shames predators and their supporters can overcome the extreme consequences of this behavior. If children are taught to speak out through intelligent disobedience and assertiveness training, and if bullies are identified early and helped to find a better expression for their unhappiness, there will be far less bullying.

Bullies are human predators. Learn how to recognize them here.