Behaviors Common to an Abuser
We refer to those signs as “RED FLAGS” and recommend that you stop and take a good look at the relationship before proceeding.
- Witnessed abuse or was abused as a child. (If a person grows up seeing his/her father regularly abuse his/her mother, he/she is apt to think of this as normal behavior. If he/she was violently abused by his/her parents it is possible that he/she will either be a victim or an abuser, or both.)
- Displays violence against other people, things and/or animals.
- Enjoys watching violence in media – enjoys pornography.
- Angers easily, resorts to violence and refuses to take responsibility for actions: blaming it on loss of control due to the effects of alcohol/drugs, stress, frustrations or victim’s behavior.
- Abuses chemicals: alcohol – illegal drugs – prescription drugs.
- Jealousy: of friends, your family, job, etc...
- Humiliates you in public.
- Isolation: Doesn’t allow you to see your friends or family, needs to know your whereabouts constantly, expects you to spend all your free time with him/her.
- Dual personality – Jekyll and Hyde.
- Inconsistent work/job history.
- You fear when he/she becomes angry at you – not making him/her angry becomes important.
- Definite male/female roles; Men are in control, strong, show no emotions; Women should be quiet, passive, feminine.
- Ownership/Possessiveness: “Can’t live without you”, “You are the world to me”.
- Pressures you to marry him/her or live with him/her.
- No regard for the law; drives recklessly.
- You’re afraid of what he/she might do if you end the relationship.
- Has reputation as a “fighter,” and has a record or arrests. A person who frequently punches walls, breaks objects or throws things in a rage will possibly abuse someday.
- He/she doesn’t want you to know about his/her past.
- Speak negatively about ex-relationships.
- Treats opposite sex disrespectfully.
- Criticizes you often: Your appearance, hair, weight, clothes, etc...
- Physical abuse during courtship is a guarantee of later abuse.
Battering is a learned behavior; therefore, it can be unlearned. The preferred corrective method involves programs designed especially for abusers. They must be preceded by mechanisms that protect the battered person (shelter/supportive services.) Key elements of successful abuser programs are:
The abuser is held completely responsible for the violence and for changing his/her behavior to end it. The focus is on teaching how to choose and develop nonviolent behaviors, emotions, and attitudes.