Are You in an Abusive Relationship?

Abuse can come in many forms and not just physical or sexual. All abuse is an attempt to control other people by changing the balance of power in a situation or a relationship. The Power and Control Wheel was originally developed by the Domestic Abuse and Prevention Program in Duluth, Minnesota. It was developed from the experience of battered women who had been abused by male partners. However, the abuser in a situation can just as easily be a female. The wheel does an excellent job of quickly assessing for the layperson whether their relationship dynamics are likely in a power and control imbalance. It shows the typical tactics used by abusers in adult relationships.

If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, there is help for you. There are battered women shelters in most major and many small cities in the world. Seek help so that the pattern does not continue in your life or get perpetuated in the next generation – most children tend to model their adult relationships after what their role models were in childhood.

For more information on all the various forms of The Power and Control Wheel, see the website.

Loads of Love & Light to you all!

Tracy & Marion (a.k.a. The Shift Doctors)

**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at .


  1. I am a male, 39 years old. 6’3″ 210 lbs. I suffer through all of these tortures daily. My 5’2 girlfriend uses everything she can to keep me prisoner and make me feel horrible. I’m not dumb enough to react with violence or anger. However I can feel my will to live slipping daily. There is nobody to help a man in need. I have 2 children(1 with her) that live with us. If I were to leave my kids behind with her they would be subjected to an evil that defies explanation. So I stay. Tortured and alone, as I’m not allowed to have friends. At one time I had a great career. She would text me and say things like she was going to leave our daughter at home alone that I should leave work and come home to take care of her. Now I’m trapped, and my kids are too.

    • Jamaal, you are not alone. There are many men (as well as women) who find them self in similar situations. There is help for everyone available, but you must make the first step in making a decision to change or speak up to those who can assist you. You might consider seeking legal advice as well as considering getting into counseling with a mental health professional. We are all very powerful in our choices. No one can take our power from us unless we somehow go along with it or allow them to have it. We are not a victim of anyone or anything. You may have friends any time you choose. If you have copies of the texts she sent, then a legal counselor or child protective services may be able to give you very good advice as to what is and is not appropriate parenting and what might be grounds for action. You might consider a return to your great career and hire a childcare provider if you feel your girlfriend is unreliable. There are free legal and mental health services out there for you and the children if they are in need of assistance.
      You are never truly trapped although it can certainly feel that way sometimes. Change can be scary but it can be for the good as well. Change could be something as simple as putting your foot down and deciding what you will and will not tolerate in your life… and then speaking up and taking action. You and your girlfriend can go into counseling, you can go into counseling, you can choose to react differently to the situation, you can stay in the situation as it is, you can leave with the children that you are in legal custody of, you can have a heart to heart conversation with your girlfriend/family/former friends. You are very powerful in your choices.
      No one and nothing is worth allowing your will to live slip away- your children need you. You are a role model for your children in everything you do. They will likely model their future relationships on what is modeled for them. Only you can choose to model something differently.
      Sending loads of Light to you and your children and family!

  2. I am also in an abusive relationship. My husband makes me feel that i deserve to be beaten and strangled because i am a “bad person”. What is wrong when the wife calls her husband when it’s late in the evening and he’s still not home and not even a phone call fro him? But he talks to our friends, telling them that i am the one being abusive, that everyday i beat him. He makes me look like i am the bad peron when he knows that he is the one making all these abuse. Sadly, i have a 5-month old daughter that i intend to protect as long as i live that’s why though i want to leave him, i can’t. I don’t want to leave my daughter alone with him. I am trapped. Depressed. Helpless. I’m in hell.

    • Bea, While we may feel stuck in many times in our life… it is only our perspective that causes us to feel stuck. It sounds like you might benefit from speaking with and gaining support from a therapist who specializes in marital therapy to gain a new perspective. Even if your husband did not agree to go with you to counseling, it is important to be aware that we cannot change any other person; we can only change our own self. We are very powerful in our choices: and we exercise this by our choice of where we choose to focus our thoughts, what emotions (guilt, shame, anger/resentment, abandonment, feeling unlovable, fear of the unknown, heartbreak, inadequacy/powerlessness, how we define our self, lack of self-love,etc) we ‘dance’ or ‘sit’ in, and what actions we choose (and, yes, choosing to do nothing is a choice).

      Therapy can help you begin to understand that you are not a victim of anyone or anything except for your self. When we blame anyone else for what is going on in our life, then we put shackles on our feet. Having a 5-month old daughter now makes you a powerful role model for her as well. What do you choose to model for her in regard to right relationship between a man and a woman. Our children tend to model what is shown to them by their parents or parental figures in their life. You are only in a hell by choice. You can contact a local battered women’s shelter after you feel a bit stronger in therapy; they could actually assist you AND your daughter by giving you both somewhere to stay, someone to talk to, and often assist with legal matters and job placement. You seem to believe that you would not be allowed to keep your daughter- perhaps you should consider speaking with an attorney to get some legal advice. The situation may not in fact be as you perceive it. If you are depressed, please get help from your local mental health center, primary care physician, or pastoral counselor. You are not helpless… you just perceive your self to be. You are in a hell of your own choosing until you choose to take your power back and take action to change your perspective, focus on what can be done, and then act on it.
      Loads of Light to you, Bea!

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