Equality vs. Power and Control

In my most recent marriage counselling post, I talked about some sheets we were looking at that described healthy and unhealthy relationships. I wanted to share them with you.

The Equality Wheel

Non-Threatening Behavior

  • Talking and acting so that she feels safe and comfortable expressing herself and doing things.


  • Listening to her non-judgmentally.
  • Being emotionally affirming and understanding.
  • Valuing opinions.

Trust and Support

  • Supporting her goals in life.
  • Respecting her right to her own feelings, friends, activities and opinions.

Honesty and Accountability

  • Accepting responsibility for self.
  • Acknowledging past use of violence.
  • Admitting being wrong.
  • Communicating openly and truthfully.

Responsible Parenting

  • Sharing parental responsibilities.
  • Being a positive non-violent role model for the children.

Shared Responsibility

  • Mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work.
  • Making family decisions together.

Economic Partnership

  • Making money decisions together.
  • Making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.

Negotiation and Fairness

  • Seeking mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict.
  • Accepting change.
  • Being willing to compromise.

The Power and Control Wheel

Using Intimidation

  • Making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures.
  • Smashing things.
  • Destroying her property.
  • Abusing pets.
  • Displaying weapons.

Using Emotional Abuse

  • Putting her down.
  • Making her feel bad about herself.
  • Calling her names.
  • Making her think she’s crazy.
  • Playing mind games.
  • Humiliating her.
  • Making her feel guilty.

Using Isolation

  • Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, where she goes.
  • Limiting her outside involvement.
  • Using jealousy to justify actions.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously.
  • Saying the abuse didn’t happen.
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior.
  • Saying she caused it.

Using Children

  • Making her feel guilty about the children.
  • Using the children to relay messages.
  • Using visitation to harass her.
  • Threatening to take the children away.

Using Male Privilege

  • Treating her like a servant.
  • Making all the big decisions.
  • Acting like the “master of the castle”.
  • Being the one to define men’s and women’s roles.

Using Economic Abuse

  • Preventing her from getting or keeping a job.
  • Making her ask for money.
  • Giving her an allowance.
  • Taking her money.
  • Not letting her know about or have access to family income.

Using Coercion and Threats

  • Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her.
  • Threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare.
  • Making her drop charges.
  • Making her do illegal things.

3 thoughts on “Equality vs. Power and Control

  1. Is it wrong to want the unfaithful spouse to feel guilty about the children?
    Because I think that’s important. That they see that their behaviour hurts more than just the spouse, but also the children, parents, etc.


    1. I don’t think it’s wrong to tell an unfaithful spouse how their behaviour harms everyone in the family. I sure did. That wouldn’t be in the context of using power and control in a relationship.


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