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Healthy Relationships - Equality Wheel

Trust and Support - Both partners encourage each other's goals, acknowledge talents and strengths, value feelings and opinions even when different from their own, respect privacy, and listen non-judgementally.

Non-threatening Behavior - Both partners talk and act so the other feels comfortable expressing his/her opinions and making his/her own decisions. Both always feel safe around the other.

Sexual Safety - Both partners are able to say "no" to any sexual behavior they are not comfortable with, honor and respect each other's sexual decisions, communicate about sex, and practice"safe sex" if sexually active.

Financial/Economic Independence - Both partners control their own money and have equal control of household money. When gifts are given, they are given freely and without expectation for anything in return. There are no demands for money or material items.

Negotiation and Fairness - Both partners have equal decision-making power and are willing to compromise. Rules and agreements are made together and apply equally to both.

Responsible Parenting - Both partners communicate and make responsible decisions about pregnancy. If parenting, both share responsibilities and are positive, non-violent role models for children.

Honesty and Accountability - Both partners accept responsibility for their own actions, acknowledge mistakes and admit when wrong, communicate openly and truthfully, trust each other and are trustworthy.

Connections with Others - Both partners maintain friendships and family relationships, enjoy activities outside of their relationship and make their own decisions about where they go, what they do and who they are with.

Unhealthy Relationships - Power & Control Wheel

Intimidation and Threats

  • Using looks/actions/gestures/voice to scare partner
  • Throwing/smashing things, showing weapons, destroying property, punching walls or other objects
  • "Play fighting" that is meant to show strength and power over partner
  • Threatening to hurt partner or someone s/he cares about
  • Threatening to commit suicide

Emotional/Verbal Abuse

  • Constant criticism, name-calling, put-downs
  • Playing mind games
  • Embarrassing or humiliating partner
  • Guilt-trips
  • The "silent treatment"
  • Spreading rumors or telling secrets
  • Insulting partner's race or heritage
  • Damaging partner's personal property

Sexual Coercion

  • Manipulating partner into sex, including using guilt trips or threats
  • Unwanted touching
  • Pressuring partner for sex
  • "Playful" use of force during sex
  • Treating partner like a sex object
  • Sexual harassment
  • Drugging someone/having sex while they are too drunk or high to make a clear decision about whether they want to have sex

Financial/Economic Abuse

  • Preventing partner from getting/keeping a job
  • Keeping partner on an allowance
  • Making partner give you his/her money
  • Using someone for their money
  • Expecting sexual acts in return for spending money are partner


  • Discrimination based on gender
  • Using the belief that males are superior to females or that males have certain privileges that females should not have, to justify controlling partner
  • Being the one to define male/female roles
  • Expecting the male to make all the big decisions
  • "Rules" for the relationship that are not the same for both partners

Using Children

  • Pressuring partner to get pregnant
  • Using children as a way of creating dependency
  • Threatening to take away children or not allow contact with children
  • Hurting or threatening to hurt the children
  • Telling or threatening to tell the children negative things about partner
  • Threatening to report partner to child welfare

Denying, Minimizing and Blaming

  • Denying the abuse or acting like it is not that serious
  • Not taking the partner's concerns about the abuse seriously
  • Saying the partner "brought on" the abuse by something s/he did or didn't do or saying s/he deserves the abuse
  • Not taking responsibility for one's own behavior

Isolation & Extreme Jealousy

  • Controlling who partner is friends with, where s/he goes, what s/he does
  • Separating partner from family
  • Not letting partner work or be involved in his/her own activities
  • Keeping constant tabs on partner, including through pager or cell phone
  • Accusing partner of cheating as a way of manipulating him/her
  • Using jealousy to justify controlling behavior