In a relationship involving domestic violence, the abuser wants to feel in control of the victim and the situation. If a person is experiencing some of these common tactics of control, it is a clear indicator they may be in an abusive relationship. 

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, also referred to as domestic abuse, involves the abuse of those closest to the abuser. This abuse encompasses many types of harm, such as physical, psychological, and emotional.

Domestic violence involves intimate relationships, like husbands and wives, but could also include other family members, like parents and children. 

The main objective of domestic violence is usually to gain control over the victim. Abusers employ many behaviors to frighten, hurt, and manipulate their victims. 

Victims of domestic violence often stay in these relationships for fear of what may happen if they attempt to leave or share stories of their abuse. However, the law tries to protect domestic violence victims and stop the cycle of abuse. 

Common Tactics of Control in Domestic Violence Cases

While domestic abusers may take many unfortunate actions against their victims, they tend to use several tactics to maintain control at all times. Some of the most common tactics of control include:


Isolation is likely the most common control tactic in a domestic violence relationship. Isolating the victim means cutting them off from the outside world and their close family and friends. Abusers often do this to avoid the victim telling anyone about their experiences or having anyone note obvious signs of abuse. 

Isolation typically includes:

  • Taking away the victim’s cell phone or computer
  • Forbidding the victim from going out or seeing family and friends
  • Taking away the victim’s means of transportation
  • Moving the victim far away from family and friends

Abusers also isolate their victims through threats and force. When a victim is isolated, abusers feel they have more control over them.

Threats and Intimidation

Threats and intimidation can come in many forms in an abusive relationship.

For instance, an abuser may make threats against the victim or against the victim’s loved ones to ensure they have control over them. Because they know the victim does not want to experience physical harm, some abusers may maintain control using threats alone. 

Abusers also intimidate their victims to assert their dominance. For example, a big and strong male abuser could easily intimidate a smaller, weaker woman. 

In many cases, threats and intimidation work because the victim has seen what the abuser can do. Therefore, a threat may be enough for the abuser to retain control.

Damage to Property or Harm to Other Individuals

When thinking about domestic violence, you may automatically think of physical abuse to the victim. However, an abuser can maintain control by harming others or causing damage.

When an abuser gets mad, they may do things like punching a wall or breaking something meaningful to the victim. This alone may be enough to get the victim to react in a way that is favorable to the abuser.

Additionally, abusers may threaten to harm or actually physically harm people important to the victim, like their children or parents. Because the victim wants to maintain peace and protect their loved ones, they comply with the abuser. 


Gaslighting involves making the victim believe their understanding of a situation is completely misconstrued. It is a way to make the victim question their own reality and doubt themselves. Gaslighting is a common form of manipulation. 

Look for Signs of Domestic Abuse and Seek Help

It can be confusing to determine whether an individual’s actions are wrongful and you’re being abused. Nonetheless, if you believe you’re experiencing domestic violence or abuse, it is best to seek help as soon as possible.

If you’re facing charges for domestic violence, drug crimes or any kind of criminal charges, call us today.

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Today For Help

For more information please contact the San Diego criminal defense attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation, give us a call at (619) 357-4977 or visit our convenient location:

Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers – San Diego
255 Broadway, Ste 1740. San Diego, CA. 92101