- Hannah Price
- BBC news
History Containing Annoying details.
Often, the difference between a healthy and abusive relationship is not clear, especially if the impact of the abusive relationship is not as noticeable as bruising, but is just as harmful.
When Sarah (not her real name) was a teenager, about 16 years old, she felt nervous about a boy in her class named Zack (a pseudonym). After having talked a lot for weeks, he invited her to accompany him to a party; But she was not used to going out with only one boy, so she asked him to invite her friends as well.
But she recalls that he told her, “I want us to be alone. This is our only chance to be together. Now either it will not happen again.”
Sarah had started falling in love with Zak and when he repeated his calls for her to go out alone, she knew he felt the same way. Thus, although she was afraid to walk only at night, she would go and spend some time with him. A few months later they got engaged.
Once, as she was getting ready to go to a party, she tried on some clothes and Zach said, “These clothes reveal parts of your body.” To trust his opinion, she changed clothes.
As Sara was talking to her new classmates, Zach started saying that her goal was to make him jealous and he said, “There is no other reason for you to talk to them!”
She was sure her conversation with them was innocent, but said to herself that maybe he was right because she made him experience it.
“Stop controlling my life.”
Zach started taking drugs and Sarah expressed her concern for him. He told her, “Do not control my life.”
And every time she pulled him out, Zack accused him of trying to control her. So I once wrote on Google, “Am I a controller?” to make sure.
The more time Sara spends with Zach, the less she will communicate with her friends, but Zach told her that this is normal at the beginning of any new relationship. “Basically, I did not like any of your friends,” he added.
After the exam results were announced, Sarah enrolled in the university of her choice, while Zach decided to repeat several exams. But he said, “Do not go, why do you only want me here?” And he started telling her that it made no sense for her to go: “It’s a waste of money as I will be the breadwinner and I can not live alone.”
Sarah, now 23, says the first years of their relationship “were not bad. I mean, they were not as bad as we were later.”
What is control obligated?
Coercive control can not be related to a single event in the relationship, but rather manifests itself through the accumulation of words, behaviors, and threats that offend, isolate, and control the victim, leaving the person without freedom, leaving very little of his or her personality.
Victims of emotional abuse describe what they have experienced as feelings of detachment from their sense of self-confidence and independence, while the only “normal” form of the victim’s life is with the abuser.
The coercive nature of control means that a person’s ability to see for themselves the pattern of repeated abuse becomes extremely difficult, and in some cases even impossible.
How do you know if your partner clings to you and his change towards you is a mandatory check? This is one of the questions that a BBC television documentary tries to answer: “Is this coercive control?”
In the new documentary, a group of young men and women discuss several cases to find out whether or not it was coercive control. Throughout the film, we see common myths about emotional abuse in order to dispel them.
He said he could break my neck if he wanted to.
To raise awareness of all forms of abuse, the British government recently made ‘relationship education’ compulsory in schools. The curriculum includes teaching students how to identify financial, emotional, and physical abuse, both in relationships with adolescents and adults.
Sarah says she would love for her to have access to that kind of knowledge before her relationship with Zack. For him, Zack’s “You’re Beautiful” quickly turned into “You’re so lucky to be with you, no one else loves you.”
It was her job to choose her clothes and get Zac’s approval: “He really convinced me that it was wrong not to tell her what I wanted to wear.”
She also lost sight of her friends after Zack secretly sent them a message saying, “By the way, Sarah hates you and talks about you behind your back.”
Zach often told him that he did not have enough money to buy food or live, so Sara constantly sent him large sums of money. But then he was punishing her. He used to say, “You’re sending me money just to make me feel bad.”
During college, Zach always told her that if she wanted to stay out, she would be “raped and drugged by strangers” and cause her a lot of anxiety and insomnia.
“I started to notice that my life was really limited”
If Sara were to go out and this rarely happened, Zach would have filled her with messages and phone calls asking her where she had been and what she was doing.
Sara recalls: “I started to notice that my life was really limited at university. I felt like I could not attend events or make friends. I could see that my roommates thought our relationship was weird because it was always “I asked for his permission, but I thought it was normal. He convinced me it was normal behavior.”
And soon the topic turned from simple insults to concerns about her safety.
Sarah remembers well one of Zak’s visits to her at university and she had paid for his ticket to come to spend the day together. She was spinning on Zak’s chest in bed when he told her, “Now I can break your neck if you want.”
Sarah says the pressure on her reached their intimate relationship: “He often talked about watching violent pornography and telling me if you don’t do it in the bedroom, I should take it somewhere else.”
Sarah feared for her life more than once.
“I do not want any more burhis vision. I was afraid of him “
When Zack was angry, he threw chairs, broke things and threatened them. “If I stretched out my hand and touched him to calm him down, he would take me away from him,” says Sarah. “I did not want to go and meet him again. I was afraid of him.”
In her third year of college, Sarah felt that leaving Zach was an option for her because her moments of “freedom” were running out.
That year, the roommate sat down with her and told her she was really worried that this controlling relationship would ruin her life.
Sarah said to herself, “I was not very happy and I did not understand. The relationship should not make you doubt yourself every day. I thought a lot and said to myself: Do I want to live like this all my life?”
And unfortunately, like many abusive relationships – a person’s abuse does not stop with the end of the relationship.
Domestic violence can kill people and the victims are often women. According to criminologist Dr. Jane Moncton-Smith, these cases are sometimes accompanied by coercive control.
In the documentary, lawyer Claire Ciborovska seems to say she is seeing an increasing number of cases of mandatory screening among young people aged 16 and over.
She says: “At the height of life, no one enters into a romantic relationship expecting it to be an abusive relationship, but anyone can find themselves in this situation. Sometimes, these little signs can start to show up and it can happen after a long time. “At this point, you will be in the relationship when things go wrong. “So it’s important that young people know what coercive control is, so that they can detect it early and talk about it.”
Claire says that in some cases the abuser avoids physical violence because it leaves a clear mark on what they have done. “They are manipulators, taking care not to commit any physical crime, because it is very difficult to find out if their act is just coercive control, even though their act causes a great impact on the psyche of the victim.”
When Sarah travels to show Zaku her separation, she is horrified: “I felt responsible for his life.”
“He was threatening to commit suicide”
She had no idea what his reaction would be to her announcement of separation, so Sarah told Zack while they were on the road because she wanted to be surrounded by people in a public place so he could not hurt. Months after their separation, Zach continued to harass her. “If I did not answer, he was threatening suicide,” she said.
When she kept his number, Zack showed up at her doorstep and went back to her mother’s house. “I realized I could not get rid of him completely until I moved to a new house and he no longer knew my address.”
More than a year after their separation, Sarah has devoted her time to connecting with people and says she is now in a happy relationship and is starting to feel like she is single again.
Are you in a tight relationship?
According to a leading association in the field of domestic violence, these are some common examples of coercive behavior:
- Isolating you from friends and family
- Depriving you of basic needs like food
- By monitoring you through internet communication tools or through spyware
- Take control of some aspects of your daily life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what clothes you can wear and when you can sleep.
- Denying you access to support services, such as medical services
- Being constantly frustrated is like saying you are worthless
- to offend or belittle
- check your money
- threaten or intimidate you.