The Psychology of Trauma

Domestic Violence

How is domestic abuse similar to other forms of coercive control?

As several writers have noted, the tactics of coercive control used in battering relationships are remarkably similar to tactics used in other situations of captivity and terror. Political prisoners, cult members, and young girls “seasoned” into prostitution are frequently exposed to tactics of coercive control. The goal is always the same, to break down the self-confidence and autonomous sense of self of the victims, and leave them at the psychological mercy of their captors.


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