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Characteristics of an Abuser

The following is a list of characteristics or behaviors that tend to be present in someone who is likely to engage in abusive behavior, either physically or emotionally.  It can be difficult to look at someone you love or care about and consider the possibility that he may be an abuser.  If you look at these behaviors independently it is easy to dismiss or excuse them.  However, it is rare that someone would have only one of these characteristics.  If any of these behaviors are present in your relationship, at a minimum, there are unhealthy, dysfunctional dynamics in your relationship.  It should not hurt physically or emotionally to be in a relationship.

Possessiveness
He may want to keep you all to himself, not wanting you to spend time with other people.  He’ll often say it’s because he loves you so much he just can’t stand being without you.

Jealousy
Gets very angry if he thinks you are looking at someone or if someone may look at you.  He may accuse you of cheating.

Doesn’t like your family or friends
He may suggest your family friends don’t like him and that they will try to talk you out of being with him.

Becomes involved in relationship very quickly
He says that he loves you very early in the relationship.  He’ll sometimes want to rush into a committed and/or sexual relationship.

Charismatic
Abusive men tend to be charming.  People will often have a hard time believing that he could be abusive.  He often appears to be empathetic and draws people towards him.

Imposing his beliefs/opinions
He may dismiss your thoughts/beliefs.  Tells you that you don’t make sense or you just don’t understand.

Short-tempered
He may get angry very quickly, often over small things.

Blames others for problems
He doesn’t take responsibility for his mistakes.  It’s always someone else’s fault.

Physical aggressiveness
He may have a history of physical aggression and/or hurting people, then dismiss it as “playing around”.

Heavy use of drugs/alcohol
He may have a history of getting into trouble when using substances.

Acts differently when you are around other people
You may notice he seems like a different person when others are around.

Invasion of your privacy
He may go through your purse, cell phone, or email.  He may want to be around when you are speaking to someone on the phone.

Lying
Abusive men are often caught in lies.

Secretiveness
He may keep information about finances, work, or friends/family from you.

Cruelty to animals
He may mistreat animals.  Investigations of animal abuse are often how family violence is brought to the attention of social services (NCADV).

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All the information I share on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Your participation on the site does not constitute a therapeutic relationship. If you are struggling and need immediate support, please contact RAINN @ https://rainn.org/ or call your local emergency services.
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