coercive control

This is a pattern of behaviour exhibited by someone who wishes to dominate another person, usually one in a relationship with them. It is considered to be a form of domestic abuse although it does not involve any physical assaults, but rather encompasses all sorts of actions designed to reduce the self-esteem of the partner and make them utterly compliant. The result for the partner is a loss of identity.

Gaslighting is often involved, that is, setting up situations designed to make the partner feel that they are losing their grip on reality. They know they put the keys on the bench but the keys are inexplicably in the fridge.  Constant texting and monitoring of the partner’s phone is also common, as is cutting off access to money and isolation from friends and family.