Characteristics of Abusers

If the person you love or live with does these things, itís time to get help:

Characteristics of Abusers...Warning signs of potential violence:

Always be conscious of your own safety needs in all interactions involving an abusive person.† Do not meet privately with a violence-prone individual.† If you must do so, be sure someone is available close by in case you need help.

Abusers frequently have the following characteristics:

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How dangerous is the abuser? Assessing lethality in an abuse situation:

Some domestic violence is life threatening. All domestic violence is dangerous, but some abusers are more likely to kill than others and some are more likely to kill at specific times. The likelihood of homicide is greater when the following factors are present:

  1. Threats of homicide or suicide: The abuser may threaten to kill himself, the victim, the children, relatives, friends, or someone else;
  2. Plans for homicide or suicide: The more detailed the abuserís plan and the more available the method, the greater the risk he will use deadly force;
  3. Weapons: The abuser possesses weapons, and has threatened to use them in the past against the victim, the children, or himself. If the abuser has a history of arson, fire should be considered a weapon;
  4. "Ownership" of the victim: The abuser says things like "If I canít have you no one can" or "I would rather see you dead than have you divorce me". The abuser believes he is absolutely entitled to the obedience and loyalty of the victim;
  5. Centrality of victim to the abuser: The abuser idolizes the victim, depending heavily on him or her to organize and sustain the abuserís life, or the abuser isolates the victim from outside supports;
  6. Separation violence: The abuser believes he is about to lose the victim;
  7. Repeated calls to law enforcement: A history of violence is indicated by repeated police involvement;
  8. Escalation of risk-taking: The abuser has begun to act without regard to legal or social consequences that previously constrained his violence; and
  9. Hostage taking: He is desperate enough to risk the life of innocent persons by taking hostages.† There is a very serious likelihood of the situation turning deadly.

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Battered and Abused Men:

Most of us recognize that men experience verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of women, less well accepted or admitted is the fact of physical abuse. In our society, we think of women as the victims and men as the aggressors in physical abuse.† The fact that women are more likely to be severely injured in domestic violence adds to the problem of recognizing male abuse.† Nevertheless, it happens - frequently.† In fact, men are just as likely to be seriously injured when a woman becomes violent because women are more likely to use weapons in the course of an assault.† If a male client indicates that his girlfriend or partner assaulted him, believe him.† A man will find it harder to discuss his pain with you than will a woman, and even harder to admit to being a victim. It is easier to attribute an injury to a sports mishap or workplace accident than to admit to a doctor or police officer it resulted from domestic violence.


  1. Fewer men report abuse. They are ashamed to report being abused by women.
  2. Health care and law enforcement professionals are more likely to accept alternative explanations of abuse from a man. They will believe other reasons for the presence of bruises and other signs of injury.
  3. Our justice system often takes the word of the woman above the word of the man in abuse cases. It is just more believable that the aggressor was the man, not the woman.
  4. Men are more likely to tolerate the pain of abuse than women. They "grin and bear itĒ more. And again, many are ashamed to seek medical help for abuse.
  5. Unless a woman uses a weapon, she usually does not have the strength to inflict injury.

Abused men are as likely as their female counterparts are to have low self-esteem.† People can come to believe that they are somehow responsible for what happened.† People cling to the hope that things will get better: that the woman he "loves" will quit when their relationship is better adjusted, or the children get older and show more responsibility.† These are all pretty much the same excuses women make for remaining with men who batter them.

Are you abused?† Does the person you loveÖ

Below is a list of things Jerry can do to help himself:

Abuse Checklists:

Below is a self-assessment quiz to help you determine if you are being abused. You may be suffering abuse even if you answer, ďYesĒ to only a few questions.

You may be becoming or already are a victim of abuse if you:

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