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Coercive Control in the World of Work

Updated: 5 days ago

©Workplace Coercive Control - Pattern of Oppressive Behaviours in the World of Work

I will not tolerate another person's abuse or abusive behaviour in the Workplace.

Oppression is "the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control" - Oxford Dictionary

My article requires the readers to look beyond the apparent acts of violence to see and understand the invisible violence of workplace coercive control and link the coercive traits (fear, harm, entrapment, annihilation, punishment, mindgames) of abusive behaviour. When coercion becomes a pattern of behaviour it manifests as psychological abuse, harassment and violence.

Judy Carmody, Author , Co Bully No More

Winner: Books for Peace International Award 2023

“Coercive control is defined as ongoing psychological inappropriate behaviour, rather than isolated or unconnected incidents, with the purpose of removing a victim's freedom”.

Sophie Goddard (2018)

It is very important to see the Red Flags 🚩🚩🚩and the pattern of psychological abuse, harassment and violence in the workplace before it erodes the target(s) health, career and wellbeing. Workplace bullying has a profound affect on a target(s) sense of safety and impacts on psychological, social, emotional, physical, moral and financial health & wellbeing.

A bully will not tell the target(s) that they have "selected them" for intentional, repetitive and strategic abuse or that their true intention is to cause destruction, harm and inflict evilness but will hide behind a campaign of psychological terror armed with hatred, jealousy and vindictiveness to name but a few abusive behaviours.

A red flag is micromanagement and the obsession to dominate while coercing the target(s) to become submissive, powerless and subservient. This abuse is directed and projected onto the target (s) while the abuser(s) is still scheming enough to charm others with a false persona thus creating an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and unpredictability.

Nobody deserves this treatment .


  1. Recognise the Dangers

  2. Understand the Dynamics of Coercive Control

  3. Assert your Right to Safety

Workplace bullying is the selection of a target(s) for repeated, intentional and strategic degradation, dehumanisation and annihilation from their support system. This is carried out by directing persistent coercion, intimidation, harassment and humiliation. The underhand tactics of psychological violence are used to gain control and maintain a socially dominant position by devaluing and harming a target(s) sense of freedom, autonomy and safety in the workplace.

A target may develop CPTSD in response to the continuing attacks on their well-being and is a response to unresolved trauma, grief, fear, loss, betrayal, stress, anger, rejection, isolation, panic and psychological violence. Complex injuries lead to devastating life changing consequences for the target(s) including depression, anxiety, panic disorder and hypervigilance which impacts the target(s) ability to survive these atrocious personal attacks on a daily basis.


One of the first signs of coercive control in the workplace is when the perpetrator(s) of psychological violence begins a campaign of manipulation, isolation and exclusion from work-related meetings/events/conversations/ social events. A red flag is when the perpetrator(s) undermines the target(s) in everyway possible, taking ideas and stealing credit for the target(s) work while at the same time is excessive in monitoring, criticism, judgement and scrutiny. They sabotage the target(s) presence and use tactics such as gaslighting, DARVO, stalking to diminish the target(s) feelings of safety in the workplace. The abuser (s) are relentless until the target(s) loses self-confidence and security in the workplace.

The workplace is now a PLACE OF FEAR AND COERCION. The hierarchy still support the perpetrator(s) or have little interest in the target(s) welfare or survival. When the target(s) informs "managers" ; their concerns fall on deaf ears.  The target(s) trauma is invalidated by Management, HR and the Organisation. The target(s) is told to “toughen up”, or “I find him/her alright”, or “stop playing the victim”.  There is no support for the target(s) coerced situation and the organisation does not STEP UP and resolve and eradicate psychological abuse in the workplace. The target(s) workplace becomes a place of personal crisis, panic and they begin to question their values, morals, trust and most of all their sanity.

Abuse is defined as Coercive control when "Serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse impact on his or her usual day-to-day activities". Policy information Domestic Violence. (2022). From Department of Justice  Coercive Control is defined in Section 39 of the 2018 Act

So, how can you prove that you are being diminished and bullied in the workplace? You are caught in a very dangerous vulnerable position. Someone is manipulating the situation to better themselves while assassinating the character of the target(s). A coercive atmosphere and controlling behaviours are now in place.  Coercive or controlling offences can be classed as similar to those experienced in domestic abuse and violence. They are debilitating, underhand and dangerous.

·       Gaslighting                                         Blame-Shift

·       Verbal Intimidation                           Non-Verbal Intimidation

·       Unreasonable demands                    Underhand and Manipulative behaviour

·       Negative focus on the Target          Degradation

·       Restricting daily activities                 Threats or intimidation

·        Excessive Monitoring                       Watching and restricting movement,

·       Controlling abusive behaviour          Taking personal items or entitlements

·       Demeaning the Target’s character  Gossiping, spreading rumours

·       Silent Treatment                                 False accusations

·       Dismissing work input                       Mood swings

·       Coercion                                             Intentionally sabotaging or undermining a         Stalking                                                target’s performance and position

·       Constant criticism                              Humiliating the Target

·       Excluding or ignoring                        Ostracism

·       Devalue                                               Invalidation


Coercive Control - Criminal Act Coercive Control is defined in Section 39 of the 2018

First conviction for domestic coercive control in Ireland handed down

Det Ch Supt Declan Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau Ireland said: “Coercive control is an insidious and demeaning crime designed to degrade and debilitate an individual and their persona.

“It is a deeply dangerous and personal crime against the person usually committed over a prolonged period.

“This conviction and sentencing, the first of its kind in the state, further demonstrates An Garda Síochána’s dedication to fully investigate all matters related to this vital legislation in order to protect some of Ireland’s most vulnerable persons.”

A man in Donegal has become the first person to be convicted of coercive control in Ireland.

The offence was established under the Domestic Violence Act 2018, which came into effect just over a year ago.

Irish Legal News. (2020). First conviction for coercive control in Ireland handed down First conviction for coercive control in Ireland handed down | Irish Legal News

Policy information Domestic Violence. (2022)

From Department of Justice  Coercive Control is defined in Section 39 of the 2018 Act

Published on 31 March 2022

Last updated on 31 March 2022

Coercive Control is defined in Section 39 of the 2018 Act. It provides that a person commits an offence where he or she knowingly and persistently engages in behaviour that

(a) is controlling or coercive

(b) has a serious effect on a relevant person,

(c) a reasonable person would consider likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person.

The Act also says that the requirement of a ‘serious effect’ means behaviour that causes the person to

(a) Fear that violence will be used against him or her


(b) Serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse impact on his or her usual day-to-day activities.

To learn more about Coercive Control Click Here


Emotional or psychological abuse can include:

• continual put downs and/or criticism.

• humiliation

• bullying

• threatening to hurt children or themselves

• exploitation

• intimidation

• psychological degradation

• verbal aggression

• undermining of self-esteem

• name calling

• heavy monitoring of mobile phone use, texts, email and social media

• property being destroyed.


Sexual violence is any form of sexual coercion (physical or emotional) or sexual degradation against an individual in the family or domestic unit. It can include:

• any sexual activity without consent

• unwanted sexual touching

• sexual assault

• rape

• incest

• rape between spouses, cohabitants, partners or ex-partners

• causing pain without consent during sex

• forced stripping of clothing

• victims being told that it is their duty to have sex with the abuser

• sexual degradation including the enforced use of pornography.


Financial abuse is a form of domestic violence in which the abuser uses money as a means of controlling their partner. It can include:

• economic blackmail

• complete control of all monies and bank accounts

• denial of financial independence

• complete control of family finances and spending

• denial of access to necessary funds

• preventing the victim from working

• taking control of bank cards and access to credit

• non-payment of child maintenance

• refusal of funds for household bills.


Examples of social abuse can include:

• systematic isolation from family and friends

• forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people

• constant criticising of victim’s family and friends

• victims never being left on their own by perpetrator

• refusal to allow victims to work.


Online or digital abuse is the use of technologies such as mobile phone texting and social networking to bully, pursue, cyber-stalk or intimidate a partner. In most cases, this type of abuse is emotional and/or verbal perpetuated online. Examples include:

• sending negative, insulting or even threatening emails, Facebook messages, tweets

• online put downs on status updates

• sending unwanted and/or explicit pictures

• sharing intimate images online without consent

• tracking victim online activity, search history and cache history

• stealing or insisting on being given online passwords

• constantly checking of mobile phones for pictures, texts and calls

• unkind comments/tags on Instagram or Tumblr etc.

This article pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about personal development and related sub­jects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical or legal advice. If the reader of this material has a med­ical or legal con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately health care provider or legal advisor.

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