Abuse Tactics: Lording It

Lording it is all about making you feel like a slave. An abuser might tell you what to do and give you grief when you don’t, or the approach might be more subtle – making statements about what s/he likes and doesn’t like, and leaving you to work out what’s you have to do to please him/her, e.g. saying “the house is a tip,” so you feel you have to tidy up. Alternatively, s/he might ask questions that put make it clear what s/he thinks you should be doing, or should have done: e.g. “What’s for dinner?” “Where’s my shirt?” These questions and statements make it clear that the Lording-it abuser doesn’t consider any of these tasks to be his/her responsibility. S/he thinks it’s your job to cook, do the washing, and clear up the mess, otherwise s/he’d be doing it him/herself.

It’s very unlikely that any one abuser would use all these tactics, and there will be many ways of lording it not mentioned here. So, don’t feel you’re overreacting if you don’t see all these particular tactics – you’re not. Every situation is different.

Examples of Lording It
  • S/he can operate a car/motorbike/aeroplane/heavy machinery, but can’t work the washing machine.
  • Might start domestic tasks, but never finishes them, leaving you to do the rest.
  • Might complete domestic tasks, but does them so badly, or makes such a fuss, you never ask again.
  • Asks, “what’s for dinner?” “where’s my shirt?” or says, “the house is a tip.”
  • Doesn’t tell you how much s/he earns.
  • Compares your domestic skills to that of his (perfect) mother, or previous partner, or next partner.
  • Expects you to keep the children with you all the time (including when going shopping, socialising, or to your doctor’s appointment) – this crosses over with bad parenting and isolation.
  • Controls/spends all the money, regardless of who the main breadwinner is.
  • Leaves his/her dirty washing on the floor.
  • Regularly walks in two minutes before mealtime, even when s/he could get back earlier.
  • Leaves you lists of jobs to do.
  • Will only cook meals s/he likes, even if everyone else hates them.
  • Always hogs the remote control and/or changes channel while you’re watching something, or considers his/her programme(s) more important than yours.
  • Insists s/he’ll “do it later”, but never does.
  • Constantly asks for help when doing the simplest of domestic tasks.
  • The walls are full of his/her pictures, while all yours are in the loft.
  • The kids aren’t allowed in his/her car.
  • S/he can make any kind of mess, but everyone else has to be tidy.
  • Talks to other people about “my house” rather than “our house”.
  • Refers to any domestic tasks as “helping you out” or “doing you a favour”.
  • Doesn’t introduce you to people you meet when you’re out together (crosses over with mind games).

Please leave a comment below if you would like to add a lording-it tactic.

Please DON’T challenge an abuser, or try to leave a relationship, without getting help first.
There are organisations that can help you work out what to do, and help to keep you (and your children) safe from further physical and/or psychological harm. If you are in the UK, please see the Where to Get Help page for more information. If you are outside the UK, Google your country’s abuse charities – there will be people to help you.

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