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What is Coercive Control?

Coercive Control in Domestic Relationships

What is coercive control? Definition and discussion from UK-based domestic abuse organization Cedar Network.


"Coercive control is a term developed by Evan Stark to help us understand domestic abuse as more than a “fight”. It is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away the victim’s liberty or freedom, to strip away their sense of self. It is not just women’s bodily integrity which is violated but also their human rights."

What Defines Domestic Abuse? Survivors Say It’s More Than Assault. New York Times, Jan 2021


"The Congresswoman Cori Bush and the musician FKA twigs describe how manipulative, isolating conduct known as “coercive control” helped trap them in abusive relationships. Lawmakers are starting to listen.​"


Coercive Control: Update and Review. An academic review paper describing the phenomena. 

"We ... review new evidence on four dimensions of coercive control: the relationship between “control” and “violence,” coercive control in same-sex couples, measuring coercive control, and children’s experience of coercive control."

Coercive control checklist: 14 signs your partner is trying to control you. 

"How to spot a controlling partner and escape an abusive relationship."

What do cults and domestic violence have in common? 

What Awful Marriages & Cults Have in Common. Psychology Today. May 2013

"People often wonder why abused men or women stay in terrible relationships. It seems like a completely absurd notion. Yet, it happens every day. The fact is that abusive relationships have a lot in common with cults. In both, victims feel completely demoralized, injured and trapped."

Identifying abusive relationships. Richard Turner, psychologist and former cult-member, provides resources and information on identifying abuse in both personal and group relationships.


Why Didn't You Just Leave? Jen Kiaba explains common misconceptions about victims of both cults and domestic violence.

"Jen Kiaba is an artist and educator who grew up in the infamous Unification Church, a religious group referred to by popular media as “the Moonies” and a primary example of a cult. After escaping a forced arranged marriage, she fought her way out in her early twenties and went on to earn her BA in Art History at Bard College."

Freedom From Coercive Control and Influence. Colleen Russell is a therapist and internationally-recognized expert in coercive control in cult or high control relationships education and recovery.

Support groups for those affected by  controlling and/or extremist groups, including family members

Life After Hate


"Founded by former extremists, we are committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives."

QAnon Casulties 

"Have a friend or loved one taken in by QAnon? Look here for support, resources and a place to vent." Online reddit group for family members and friends of people caught up in QAnon. 

Freedom of Mind


"We support those affected by undue influence by providing coaching and consulting services as well as training and educational resources for individuals, families and professionals."

Dare to Doubt 


"Dare to Doubt is a resource hub for people detaching from belief systems they come to find harmful."



"A weekly podcast covering cults, manipulators, and protecting yourself from systems of control." Hosted by Rachel Bernstein, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and cult-survivor.



"No person deserves to be psychologically manipulated. Our vision is a world where psychological manipulation is recognized as a public health concern and efforts are made, globally, to reduce its harmful effects."

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