Not all violence is physical. We want victims and potential victims of abuse to recognize when they are being abused.
It is normal for a victim to minimize their abuse, and we want the message to be clear that ABUSE AND VIOLENCE ESCALATE OVER TIME. There are many WARNING SIGNS and indicators that should be taken seriously.
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSERS
There is no set of traits or specific personality that identify an abuser; these are common traits often observed in abusers:
- An abuser denies or minimizes abuse
- An abuser objectifies the victim as a sex object or their property
- An abuser has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He or she may appear successful, but internally, they feel inadequate.
- An abuser will blame violence on stress, their partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” on alcohol, drugs, or other factors.
- An abuser may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence and is often seen as a “nice person” to others outside the relationship.
WARNING SIGNS OF AN ABUSER
These behaviours, attitudes, and traits can be read as warning signs of a potential abuser:
- Extreme jealousy
- A bad temper
- Cruelty to animals
- Verbal abuse
- Extremely controlling behavior
- Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships
- Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
- Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
- Blaming the victim for anything bad that happens
- Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
- Controls all the finances
- Abuse of other family members, children or pets
- Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
- Control of what the victim wears and how they act
- Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
- Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
- Harassment of the victim at work
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Information summarized from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Signs of Abuse” – https://ncadv.org/signs-of-abuse