Friday, October 31, 2008
Special Series: The Truth About Domestic Violence: Traits of An Abuser
Part One Part Two
What Are The Personality Traits of an Abuser?
In the first article, I mentioned certain elements that are common to an abusive relationship, and the tactics that an abuser will use such as intimidation, isolation, financial abuse, etc. But what are the personality traits of an abuser?
First of all, alcohol or drugs do not make someone abusive. When a man is abusive, he makes a CONSCIOUS DECISION to abuse and then cop-out by blaming it on the alcohol, drugs or stress.
When a man is abusive, he may:
Be jealous which is a sign of HIS insecurity masked by love and concern for YOU.
Be controlling in every decision that concerns the victim. She can’t go to the store without him timing her from the moment she leaves until the moment she comes back. And, if she’s “late”, here comes all the questions!
Be quick to get involved in a relationship, and may say something like “I’ve never loved anyone like you before” or “You’re the only person for me.” If someone loves you, what they say is secondary to their actions! Most women are hopeless romantics – I’m no different! I used to dream about the man that would sweep me off my feet, but not in the beginning of the relationship! If after 3 months of dating he suggests you two live together, or he wants to meet your children, be on guard! Be cautious of the “whirlwind” relationship!
Have unrealistic expectations about you – how you dress, who you speak to. The abuser will expect the victim to do things that he/she wouldn’t do.
Cut you off from everything that you love. When he sees supportive people in your life or even family members that you are close to, he may accuse them of causing “trouble” in the relationship, or tell you “I don’t like him/her”.
Be hypersensitive and easily insulted and perceives the slightest setback as personal. He may say “He/she/it is the reason why I can’t get a job” or if you try to playfully joke around with him, he may get “mad” and act like his feelings are hurt.
Be cruel to animals and/or children and be insensitive to their pain. He may torture animals in secret, or if you have children, may have higher expectations of them beyond their abilities. He may even tease them or make them cry. If you need a clearer picture, think of the Nixmary Brown case here in NY. (see http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/nyc-wake0117,0,1989110.story?coll=ny-top-headlines) My abuser kicked my kitten out in the middle of the night and I didn’t find out until the next morning. When I asked him about it, he said he didn’t know what happened to her!
Use force during sex and call it “being playful”; act out fantasies where you are helpless; demand sex when you are ill, tired, or right after an argument where there was verbal and/or physical abuse.
Have a Jekyll and Hyde personality. He may act lovey-dovey in public with you then be abusive in private. It does not mean he is “crazy” or “unstable”. There’s an old West Indian saying – “A monkey knows which tree to climb”!
Break things during an argument, and it won’t be HIS things! It will be something that he knows is worth something to you or may have sentimental value.
And last but not least,
Was abusive in past relationships. Sometimes, we women feel that we have the capability to change our man, to make him a better person. There are women out there who have been approached by the Ex and have been warned about his abusive nature. PLEASE do not believe that “she’s just trying to get him back”, or when he tells you “I LOVED her but I’m IN LOVE with you”, or that “she did X, Y and Z to me, and that’s why I did what I did”.
The next time you hear any of these things that I’ve mentioned, remember:
An abuser will DENY the abuse! and even more importantly,
The Heavenly Father has His way of protecting us by revealing what he needs us to see!
Stay tuned for the next installment!
Ivette Attaud-Jones, is a social entrepreneur, former army wife and a 19 year survivor of domestic violence. After the loss of her infant twin daughter to domestic violence and beginning her journey to healing, she has made it her mission to speak out against domestic violence by raising awareness within the community. Ivette is the Founder and Program Director for My Life My Soul, The Unspoken Journey of Life After Domestic Abuse, an empowering support group for women, due to launch October 1.
She is also the author of Silent No More, A Woman’s Story of Surviving Domestic Abuse in the Military, due to be published in the near future. She has also served on the Battered Women’s Justice Committee of Voices of Women Organizing Project; regularly appeared on the Bronx public access show, Healing Touch on Channel 70; and has facilitated a domestic violence workshop for clergy members. You can reach Ivette at
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Excellent summation. And you know, if all of these were present at the beginning, an abuser wouldn't be able to con woman after woman to have a relationship with him. With my ex, it wasn't until the relationship was breaking down and I was discussing leaving him when he said, "I knew I loved you from the minute I laid eyes on you." Eeeek!! If I'd known that, I would have felt 'creeped out' in the beginning. It wasn't until 5 years in that he suddenly revealed he'd been tabbing the klm's I'd use in his car. I didn't know he'd been doing that.
The biggest factor here is really for women to let go of the romantic fantasy of the 'whirlwind' relationship. It's the biggest red flag that can be dealt with in the early stages. But even that is not foolproof, as I know a friend who 'took it easy' for 2 years and he kept the 'real him' hidden for that long.
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