Many years ago I was trained in the Duluth Model. This is a community model, but specifically a men's group for those who have been violent against women.
The concept from the training that has stuck with me the most, is that violence is on a continuum; it is not a black and white thing. That on the one end of the continuum of violence is death, while on the other is more simple methods of control like put-downs and belittling. I realized that all of us can become more non-violent. The link above is of the Circle of Power and Control. I did not copy and paste because I imagine it is copyrighted, and so going to the Duluth website is the best way. This circle focuses on violence and abuse, sexual and physical. The circle focuses on eight areas where people exercise power and control over others:
Using Intimidation. This would be like "the look" or gestures to give fear. It can also be using a loud voice, or breaking things or injuring pets to make a point.
Using Emotional Abuse. This would be doing anything to put another down; such as name calling, belittling, making her feel guilty or humiliated.
Using Isolation. This is controlling who someone sees, or what activities they can participate in. For example, if I don't not allowing your spouse to associate with others and using jealousy as an excuse.
Minimizing, Denying and Blaming. This is basically saying "she made me do it." Is that ever true? It can also include minimizing the abuse. "It wasn't that bad" or "I only pushed her."
Using Children. Using children in anyway to get what your want is controlling. An extreme case is threatening to take the children away, or using the children to manipulate others.
Using Male Privilege. This is expecting the spouse to do all the domestic tasks, or defining the roles, and making all the big decisions.
Using Economic Abuse. This is controlling the money, and limiting her opportunities to make money.
Using Coercion and Threats. This is threatening things, such as reporting her to Child Protective Services, or coercing her to break the law. It also includes threatening to leave or commit suicide as a manipulation.
Contrasting the Circle of Power and Control is the Circle of Equality which focuses on living nonviolently. This circle includes the topics of:
Non-threatening Behavior. This is behaving in such a way as to make sure others feel comfortable expressing themselves and doing things.
Respect. This is being nonjudgmental, valuing opinions and being emotionally affirming.
Trust and Support. This is respecting her right to have her own activities, her own opinions and her goals and dreams.
Honesty and Accountability. This can be one of the hardest, because it involves being honest with yourself. It involves accepting your past, admitting to abuse and accepting responsibility for yourself. It involves being open and honest.
Responsible Parenting. This is sharing the parental responsibility and being a positive, non-violent role model for your kids.
Shared Responsibility. This is making decisions together, and taking on a fair share of the load.
Economic Partnership. This is making money decisions together, and making sure both benefit from financial resources.
Negotiation and Fairness. This is resolving conflicts and problems together, and seeking mutually satisfying solutions. It can also mean accepting change and compromise.
The idea of abuse being on a continuum, makes it so these ideas apply to everyone. I think the goals of equality, non-violence are worthwhile lifetime goals. By working on these area, we have better health, and promote better health in our family, as an equal and loving relationship leads to less stress.