Isolation and Domestic Abuse: How Abusers Isolate Victims (2022)

Isolation and Domestic Abuse: How Abusers Isolate Victims (1)

Isolation and domestic abuse cannot be separated. Whether physical or emotional or both, isolation is the first step to convincing a victim that their controller is the most important person in the world. How do abusers isolate victims? Why are isolation and domestic abuse inextricably intertwined?

Isolation in Domestic Abuse Has to Start Somewhere

Usually, the isolation in domestic abuse begins with the controller inserting emotional wedges between the victim and his or her family and friends. At some point, the victim finds it too difficult to connect with friends and family due to

  1. the controller's embarrassing or abusive behavior, or
  2. the victim's belief that the controller is telling the truth.

Either way, physical withdrawal from close relationships and isolation follows. Oftentimes, the victim of isolation and domestic abuse believes they chose to stay away from those people and do not see the controller's manipulations at all.

Isolation and Domestic Abuse Trapped Me: Here's How

Isolation and Domestic Abuse: How Abusers Isolate Victims (2)In the beginning of my abusive marriage, I became isolated quickly partly because it was what I thought I wanted. No, I did not tell myself, "Kellie Jo, it would be great and completely logical to withdraw from the people I love and rely only on my husband!"

The isolation and domestic abuse crept up on me silently. I did not make choices knowing my husband abused me. I thought I was making up my own mind. I see my controller's manipulations only in hindsight.

(Video) Narcissistic Abuse: Isolate & Control

1.) Abuser Saw My Weakness

In the two years before I met Will, my husband-to-be, my parents divorced, my grandfather passed away and my plans to attend UC Berkeley fell through. I joined the Army, and a soldier raped me. Those traumatic experiences left me reeling emotionally and mentally. I was weakened but didn't understand it completely.

I felt that I needed someone to protect me because I obviously couldn't protect myself (that was the lie I believed). Will, with his assertive swagger and deep loud voice, seemed to fit the bill. I didn't expect to marry Will, but I think he saw a willing victim in me, so he wanted to get married soon after we met.

2.) Abuser Acted Jealously

At first, I found Will's jealousy sweet. The idea that he loved me so much that it hurt him to see me speak to another man left me in awe. I didn't think I was that special. I willingly agreed to stop touching people on their shoulder or hand when I spoke with them, something I did unconsciously to connect with people. Following through with the agreement made me feel disconnected from other people.

A short time later, his jealousy took on a more ominous tone. During a visit to Oktoberfest, a young German man was walking around handing out roses to women. He handed me a rose and Will stood up, grabbed him by the throat, and pushed him onto a neighboring table. Everyone was shocked.

Will sat down after the commotion and told me that I shouldn't accept roses from another man. The statement was a threat. I suddenly realized that any kind of attention from the opposite sex was dangerous. Jealousy is not cute.

3.) Abuser Dictated Who I Could Trust

Will constantly told me who I could trust and who I could not. If he saw me speaking with someone he'd warned me about, there was hell to pay. The first instance of physical violence in our marriage came after I'd changed out of my diesel-soaked uniform into sweat pants and a shirt in Will's best friend's bathroom. Will said I could trust his best friend, so I thought nothing of it.

(Video) Isolation - Understanding the Power and Control Wheel

After Will picked me up and took me home, he grabbed my throat and held my face very near to the hot stove, yelling "See what I do for you? I make you dinner and you fVvk another man!" That taught me that even if he said I could trust someone, I'd better not.

Isolating me from other men was the first step. Then, using the idea that he knew who I could trust and who I couldn't, he isolated me from my co-workers who could have helped me, including the other females in my company and battalion.

After my sister came to visit us in Germany, Will told me I couldn't trust her either. He said that she hooked up with one of his friends, and because she was a slut, I had no business being near her. I never once paid attention to what he said about my sister, and that is probably why he attempted to verbally and emotionally abuse her, too. He wouldn't do that in front of anyone but my sister. He punished her hoping I would give up the relationship to save her from him.

4.) Abuser Physically Intimidated Others

My sister became the only person in my family who Will would physically intimidate and allow to hear him abuse me. I knew he could hurt her. She knew he had hurt me. He used his strength and size to intimidate both of us as a reminder that he could do worse. Will's behavior toward my sister made me wary of bringing around other family members, but he never acted out in front of them.

The incident with the boy and the rose falls into this category as does Will's aggressive behavior at bars. Some people may say he was showing off his strength to impress me, but after holding my face to a stove, the only thing his bar fights did was remind me I had to go home with him.

Twice in the last year and a half we were together, Will physically abused me in front of our children. In addition to controlling me, I believe those displays of power were meant to show our growing boys what could happen to them, too.

(Video) Why Abusers Isolate Their Victims

5.) Abuser Achieved a Type of Physical Isolation

When it was time to leave the Army, Will wanted to live near his family in Texas. He found a house for us out in the country about an hour from everyone else. I was a stay at home mama, and my duties revolved around our boys and home.

  • He required my shopping excursions to be short, and I do not remember being away from the house for more than six hours alone.
  • He did not support my efforts to run my own business because it brought strangers onto his property.
  • He didn't support my desire to go to school until most of my courses could be completed online.

All of those actions and demands isolated me from most human contact.

6.) Abuser Feigned Dislike

My sister also moved to Texas, but Will said he didn't like her husband. He made it clear that my sister was a leech and a mooch. Her husband didn't have a brain, couldn't be trusted with the most simple man's work.

Along those same lines, Will didn't trust my mother. He said that she left my dad for her (current) husband who was also a leech and a mooch. He said she couldn't be relied on for marital advice because she was a failure. He ominously told me, "You're going to be just like her!" and I set out to prove to him that no, I would never leave him for any reason. I was not like my mom.

Needless to say, Will's dislike for my family affected how I viewed them too.

What Can You Do About Isolation and Domestic Abuse?

You could refuse to be isolated, period. You could reach out to people you've banished from your life and reconnect. Your controller will have something to say about this, of course.

(Video) Abusers Like Their Victims Isolated

If you feel family and friends aren't the way to go (sometimes we feel guilty for being mean and nasty to them in defense of your abuser), then reach out to a local domestic violence group or an online group if necessary. The National Domestic Violence Hotline will tell you where to find the groups and emotionally support you, too.

Additionally, reconnecting with your intuition and doing what it tells you to do will go a long way toward breaking your isolation. And, if you reconnect with your intuition, your abuser cannot see the threat until it's too late.

Isolation is key if your abuser is going to be successful in their attempts to control you. Isolation and domestic abuse make you feel as if what goes on in your home is normal and that what you believed about the world is an illusion. The real illusion is the warped way your abuser wants you to live. Your abuser doesn't care about you, only about his or her ability to control you.

If you've left your abuser but continue isolating yourself, read Isolation After Domestic Abuse: How To Overcome the Habit.

You can also find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so please do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

(Video) A Narcissist will isolate you... and this is on purpose.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, November 6). Isolation and Domestic Abuse: How Abusers Isolate Victims, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, September 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/11/isolation-is-key-for-the-ability-to-abuse

FAQs

Can abuse cause isolation? ›

Isolation as a Form of Abuse

Abusers may humiliate, intimidate, threaten, and coerce their victims. Isolation may be seen in cases involving elder abuse, child abuse, and hostile work settings. It keeps victims from reaching out to others for help and causes them to become dependent on their abusers.

Is social isolation a form of abuse? ›

Isolation is a form of abuse often closely connected to controlling behaviors.

Is isolation a form of control? ›

Isolation of the victim from the outside world is an important element of psychological control. Isolation includes controlling a person's social activity: whom they see, whom they talk to, where they go and any other method to limit their access to others. It may also include limiting what material is read.

How can isolation increase the likelihood of abuse or harm? ›

Vulnerability to exploitation

Those experiencing isolation may have little contact with people who could check up on their safety and wellbeing. Signs that they are being exploited are more likely to go unnoticed, further increasing their vulnerability to repeated abuse and harm.

How does isolation increase vulnerability? ›

Numerous research studies have concluded that isolation leads to vulnerability. When an individual becomes socially isolated they lack the very support they need that can give them strength, knowledge and even the know-how to fight against abuse.

How do you tell if someone is isolating you? ›

Six Warning Signs of Isolation and Emotional Abuse
  1. Your partner insists on as much one-on-one time as possible. ...
  2. Your partner refuses to interact with your friends and family. ...
  3. Your partner invents reasons why you should not see friends and family. ...
  4. Your partner uses jealousy, guilt, or other emotional manipulation.
11 Nov 2020

What does isolation do to a person? ›

Health Risks of Loneliness

Social isolation significantly increased a person's risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.

What is an example of social isolation? ›

All types of social isolation can include staying home for lengthy periods of time, having no communication with family, acquaintances or friends, and/or willfully avoiding any contact with other humans when those opportunities do arise.

What is it called when someone tries to isolate you? ›

Narcissistic Abuse Isolates You From the Outside World

Seeking continuously (as in every hour of every day) to convince others, and perhaps even more themselves, that their false mask of superiority is real, narcissists isolate those close to them to control what “their loved ones” reflect and reveal about them.

How do you help someone who is isolating themselves? ›

For world mental health week, here are some of the things I wish people knew about how to deal with someone who has isolated themselves.
  1. Recognise the signs. ...
  2. Reach out with patience. ...
  3. Avoid toxic phrases. ...
  4. Be specific with your offers of help. ...
  5. It's ok to tell them you're concerned but not in the space to help.
12 Oct 2019

What is the difference between isolating and quarantining? ›

You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected. You isolate when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don't have symptoms.

How do you deal with isolation? ›

In this Article
  1. Take action.
  2. Take care of yourself.
  3. Be social.
  4. Spend quality time with family.
  5. Change your mindset.
  6. Take a break from news.
  7. Get busy.
  8. Go outdoors.
18 Aug 2021

How does social isolation affect people? ›

Research has shown that chronic social isolation increases the risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety and substance abuse, as well as chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It also raises the risk of dementia in older adults.

What factors contribute to social isolation? ›

Factors that prevent people from engaging with others, such as long-term illness, disabilities, transportation issues, unemployment, or exposure to domestic or community violence, may increase social isolation and loneliness.

What are the characteristics of social isolation? ›

Social isolation can be defined structurally as the absence of social interactions, contacts, and relationships with family and friends, with neighbors on an individual level, and with “society at large” on a broader level.

What are five factors that can lead to isolation? ›

Here are some of the leading causes:
  • Living alone.
  • Being age 80 or older.
  • Having a compromised health status or multiple health problems.
  • Having no children or contact with family.
  • Lacking access to transportation.
  • Living with low income.

Which people are most likely to be socially isolated? ›

The World Health Organisation identifies poor social networks as a vulnerability factor which is particularly associated with: older people, people in poor health or with disabilities, people reliant on social services for home care, people living alone, ethnic minorities, people who are homeless, people who are ...

What is the difference between loneliness and social isolation? ›

People may find themselves socially isolated regularly as a side effect of an isolating mental health issue such as social anxiety or agoraphobia. For example, someone with agoraphobia may feel too anxious to leave their house on some days. Loneliness, on the other hand, is an emotional state.

Why do men isolate their partners? ›

Isolation is an early sign of abuse.

This type of intense infatuation, though, usually results in social isolation for one or more of the partners. Over time, this becomes a toxic pattern that leaves us open to abuse and heartbreak — left at the mercy of partners who want us completely under their control.

How do you isolate her from her friends? ›

How to isolate a girl from her friends - YouTube

What does it mean to isolate someone in a relationship? ›

Isolation is a painful product of abuse and unhealthy relationships. Partners who behave abusively often intentionally separate their significant other from the people that care about them, because it offers them greater power and control over the relationship and survivor.

What does God say about isolation? ›

Proverbs 18:1 – A man who isolates himself seeks his own desires; he rages against all wise judgment. Some people live alone because friends and families have abandoned them. Psalm 27:10 is for them.

What does feeling isolated mean? ›

Isolation is the experience of being separated from others. It may result from being physically separated from others, such as when a person lives in a remote area. Isolation can also result from being emotionally removed from a community.

What is extreme isolation? ›

If we define social isolation as both "living alone" and also "not having contact with family and friends on a weekly basis" researchers calculate that about 70,000 people in Norway (current population around 5 million) are experiencing this form of "extreme" social isolation.

Does a narcissist try to isolate you? ›

One of the first things a narcissist does it isolate you from family and friends. They want you to be completely dependent on them and eliminate any support system you have in place. It starts slowly with them making comments that they do not like your friends or family.

What happens when a narcissist is isolated? ›

The narcissist goes into a schizoid mode: he isolates himself, a hermit in the kingdom of his hurt. He minimises his social interactions and uses "messengers" to communicate with the outside. Devoid of energy, the narcissist can no longer pretend to succumb to social conventions.

What narcissists do when they can't control you? ›

Narcissists also gaslight or practice master manipulation, weakening and destabilizing their victims; finally, they utilize positive and negative emotions or moments to trick others. When a narcissist can't control you, they'll likely feel threatened, react with anger, and they might even start threatening you.

How do you help someone who is socially withdrawn? ›

Understand and make clear that you aren't there to fix your friend or tell them what to do. Check in, listen, and be compassionate, not judgmental. And then go back and check in again. Someone who is withdrawn socially will probably not come to you, so you need to keep going to them.

Why do we isolate ourselves? ›

Our fears and difficult past experiences can make us go to great lengths to avoid people, settings and activities. We instinctively want to protect ourselves, and we can feel like isolating ourselves is the best way to do that. We might feel safer and more secure when we are alone.

How many types of isolation are there? ›

The manual introduced the category system of isolation precautions. It recommended that hospitals use one of seven isolation categories (Strict Isolation, Respiratory Isolation, Protective Isolation, Enteric Precautions, Wound and Skin Precautions, Discharge Precautions, and Blood Precautions).

What is isolation in safety? ›

The aim of an isolation procedure is to: isolate all forms of potentially hazardous energy to ensure that an accidental release of hazardous energy does not occur. control all other hazards to those doing the work. ensure that entry to a restricted area is tightly controlled.

How do you quarantine someone at home? ›

The person who is sick should isolate
  1. If possible, have the person who is sick use a separate bedroom and bathroom. If possible, have the person who is sick stay in their own “sick room” or area and away from others. ...
  2. Shared space: If you have to share space, make sure the room has good air flow. ...
  3. Avoid having visitors.

Is isolation a good coping mechanism? ›

The most current researchers have agreed that isolation is one of the more effective and important mechanisms of defense from harmful cognitions. It is a coping mechanism that does not require delusions of reality, which makes it more plausible than some alternatives (denial, sublimation, projection, etc.).

Is isolation a defense mechanism? ›

Isolation of affect is a defense mechanism in which the individual blocks out painful feelings by recalling a traumatic event without experiencing the emotion associated with it. Isolation of affect is largely an unconscious process and is one of the immature defense mechanisms.

How can we address heads feelings of isolation? ›

Focus on the opportunities isolation provides, rather than the things you have lost. Take advantage of extra time to make positive changes or pursue goals you may have put off. Find ways to stay relaxed and connect to your social networks.

What are the problems associated with isolation? ›

Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and even death.

What are the effects of prolonged isolation? ›

1669, 2015). Hawkley points to evidence linking perceived social isolation with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life.

How does isolation change the brain? ›

Socially isolated people have an increased risk of cognitive decline such as impaired concentration, memory loss, dementia, and loss of social capacities. They also suffer adverse emotional consequences such as depression, stress, and anxiety. They also feel sick more often and have a shorter lifespan.

How can you can assist a patient showing signs of social isolation or loneliness? ›

Offer diversional activity, such as pet therapy, art therapy, group activities, volunteer visits, online group games or activities. Provide opportunities for expression of feelings, thoughts and stressors to assist with coping.

What challenges may a person who is socially isolated and lacking in social skills face as he or she ages? ›

Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher risks for health problems such as heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline.

How is social isolation measured? ›

Measures social isolation by measuring frequency, size, and closeness of contacts of the respondent's social network by assessing the perceived level of support they get from friends and families. Three questions on family, and 3 on friends. Questions are framed the same way across family/friends.

What is true isolation transformer? ›

Isolation transformers provide galvanic isolation; no conductive path is present between source and load. This isolation is used to protect against electric shock, to suppress electrical noise in sensitive devices, or to transfer power between two circuits which must not be connected.

Is isolation a form of elder abuse? ›

While limited, research on elder abuse shows it has one critically important message: Social isolation is the breeding ground for all forms of abuse.

What is it called when someone tries to isolate you? ›

Narcissistic Abuse Isolates You From the Outside World

Seeking continuously (as in every hour of every day) to convince others, and perhaps even more themselves, that their false mask of superiority is real, narcissists isolate those close to them to control what “their loved ones” reflect and reveal about them.

Why does my boyfriend isolate himself? ›

People often isolate themselves because they're experiencing emotional pain. Unlike physical pain, emotional pain often manifests itself in the following behaviours. Personality change: Their personality shifts and becomes unusual. Agitated: They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody.

Why do guys isolate themselves? ›

Most men have some level of insecurity. We are afraid to get caught in our insecurities, so we become aggressive toward others or we become passive and hide. We get wrapped up in not getting caught which actually makes us more isolated.

What is confinement abuse? ›

Confinement as Physical Elder Abuse

Confinement is defined as restraining or isolating an elder. Except for supervised medical purposes, there is no reason for physically confining an older adult. An example of elder confinement is false imprisonment within a nursing home or long-term care facility environment.

What type of abuse is forced confinement? ›

Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation. Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.

What is elder abuse in CA? ›

Under California law, elder abuse can be both civil and criminal. California Civil law The Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610 defines elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment resulting in harm, pain or mental suffering to an elder.

Does a narcissist try to isolate you? ›

One of the first things a narcissist does it isolate you from family and friends. They want you to be completely dependent on them and eliminate any support system you have in place. It starts slowly with them making comments that they do not like your friends or family.

What happens when a narcissist is isolated? ›

The narcissist goes into a schizoid mode: he isolates himself, a hermit in the kingdom of his hurt. He minimises his social interactions and uses "messengers" to communicate with the outside. Devoid of energy, the narcissist can no longer pretend to succumb to social conventions.

How do you isolate her from her friends? ›

How to isolate a girl from her friends - YouTube

What happens when someone isolates themselves? ›

Mental and physical health are interconnected. Social isolation's adverse health consequences range from sleeplessness to reduced immune function. Loneliness is associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates.

What is the best way to combat isolation? ›

Ideas for staying connected
  1. Get moving! Exercise decreases stress, boosts your mood, and increases your energy.
  2. Volunteer. You'll feel better by helping others.
  3. Stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors in person, online, or by phone.
  4. Consider adopting a pet.

How do you help someone who is socially withdrawn? ›

Understand and make clear that you aren't there to fix your friend or tell them what to do. Check in, listen, and be compassionate, not judgmental. And then go back and check in again. Someone who is withdrawn socially will probably not come to you, so you need to keep going to them.

Why do people isolate themselves from others? ›

Reasons People Self-Isolate

being embarrassed” “not feeling understood, or feeling different or disconnected from others” “feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, and helplessness” “prominent fear and anxiety (phobia) or stress”

How do you isolate yourself from everyone? ›

If you want to truly be removed from society, stop following what happens. Avoid speaking or communicating to anyone at all. Keep communication with others to the barest minimum. This involves any kind of social exchange, including speaking, email, texting or sign language.

What does feeling isolated mean? ›

Isolation is the experience of being separated from others. It may result from being physically separated from others, such as when a person lives in a remote area. Isolation can also result from being emotionally removed from a community.

Videos

1. Dealing with the isolation of a narcissistic relationship
(DoctorRamani)
2. Domestic Violence and Coercive Control
(Washburnlaw)
3. Isolation in Abusive Relationships: The Stick and Carrot Methods | HealthyPlace
(HealthyPlace Mental Health)
4. ISOLATION in Domestic Violence & Abuse
(Charity Wairimu Ngugi-Latz)
5. Isolation After Narcissistic Abuse
(DeMars Coaching)
6. Abuse & Isolation - Don't Ignore Facts
(FTD Talk)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 11/26/2022

Views: 6549

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.