Nonviolent Abuse

Are you unsure if you or someone you care about has experienced nonviolent abuse?

Below is a description but it is by no means exhaustive. If you still have questions or need support, please click on our Help page above for a list of health and social services you can call.

Nonviolent abuse can take an endless variety of forms.

But the identifying pattern is a power dynamic of control and intimidation that puts the perpetrator in dominance over the victim-survivor.

Scamming/Restricting Money

This refers to someone pressuring you to give them money as well as them being outright in control of your finances, giving you an allowance, or restricting how you spend money.​

Insults & Humiliation

This covers persistent name calling, mocking, and behaviour designed to belittle and humiliate. Repeated intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims-survivors stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse.

Gaslighting/Mind Games

If you constantly feel like you are getting in trouble for making them angry or upset, even though you keep trying harder and harder to meet their standards, you are almost certainly being psychologically abused. You are not actually making mistakes, they are just constantly changing the rules so they have a reason to control and punish you. This way they hold all of the power all of the time.


If your partner insists on controlling how you look, dress, or any other part of your appearance like your weight or your hair cut, this is abusive. Physical appearance is the most common characteristic male perpetrators abuse intimate partners and family members about.

Social Isolation

This doesn't just refer to being physically restricted from visiting friends and family, or needing their approval to see others, but can include monitoring or blocking your calls, emails, or messages. It's also being directly told where you can and can't go or what you can and can't talk to other people about. 


This includes making angry gestures, shouting you down, destroying your possessions, punching walls, breaking things, and threatening suicide. Anything that puts pressure on you to do what they want is coercion.

Revealing Private Information

Under this category is behaviour like repeated threats to reveal personal and private information about yourself to others. They may threaten to share images of you or conversations you have had. They may have you convinced that it is in your interest that no one knows about their abuse.


This could be repeatedly insisting that you're cheating for simply looking at another person or extreme possessiveness in other forms like not wanting you to have friends or hobbies.

Rules & Restrictions

This covers enforcing rules designed to humiliate, degrade, or dehumanise you, especially if you have no control over the rules and are forced to abide by them.


Anything about your partner taking control over any aspect of your life, no matter how big or small, is a valid example of controlling behaviour.

Forceful Behaviour

Your partner may be forcing you to do things you don't want to do, including being forced to commit crimes, neglect your children, have sex (with your partner or other people), or watch pornography. Remember that just because they haven't been physically forceful doesn't mean you weren't forced.

Again, please click on our Help page above for links to people and places that can give you support if you are experiencing any of the above.

It is never too soon to get help.

There is no issue to small to talk through with a health professional.