Power and Control Dynamics

To prevent violence you must understand the dynamics of power and control. Violence is an abuse of power, an act of exerting control over another person through physical or emotional manipulation.

  • Loss of control is frightening. For the perpetrator, the prospect of losing control is usually quite frightening, as it challenges one's basic need for self-control.
  • Violence begets violence. Never use verbal and physical control tactics yourself, as it threatens the other person's need for self-mastery. In life-threatening situations calling for physical force, follow your organization's protocols for engaging security personnel or police (Hoff, 2010).

It is important that you recognize power and control tactics in yourself. Consider both your external presentation to others as well as how you react internally and emotionally to stressful stimuli. Be aware of your own level of anxiety, fatigue, illness, as well as your beliefs and biases. The goal is to respond thoughtfully and deliberately when such situations arise.

Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020