Characteristics of Abusers

Characteristics of Abusers


Characteristics of Abusers

When we think about abusers what comes to mind? Are you able to identify them by just seeing this person walk on the street? Abusers come in all shapes and sizes; they can be your friend, your family, a co-worker, your boss, a random stranger. Abusers can be rich, poor, use alcohol and or abuse drugs. Some characteristics that abusers may show in combination can be controlling behaviors, animal cruelty, manipulation, jealousy, and isolation of their partner. Substance abuse can also be a leading reason as to why the abuse can be committed.

Abusers feel threaten by anyone around you. It can be your friends, co-workers, family members, people you knew before them. (Bloomquist, 2000) With jealousy, the abusers can constantly accuse their partners of cheating or being unfaithful. In most cases, partners may consider or look at jealousy as a sign of love, their partner being romantic, or even protective. (Bloomquist, 2000) An interview that I found was done to multiple women who dealt with domestic violence. One of them describes, how at first the relationship was perfect, and then he started showing signs of jealousy, obsessive, and even begun to accuse her of cheating if she received phone calls. (Davey, n.d)

Isolation is another common characteristic that abusers have. Abusers will discourage their partners from spending time with family and or friends. (Bloomquist, 2000) If that does not work, they may even cause an argument or conflict between the victim and their family members to achieve the family to back away. The victim described, that in her situation, her partner was very critical of her friends and he expressed that he did not want her to spend any time with her friends. (Davey, n.d)

Controlling another characteristic of an abuser. Controlling can be anywhere from controlling finances in the home, controlling the victims outings. In this case, the victim described her partner causing such a bad scene at work, which she had to quit, and become financially dependent on him. (Davey, n.d) Controlling can also be when the abuser decides what the victim is able to wear, in terms of clothing, makeup, shoes. (Kindschi, 2013) The abusers can begin to encourage the victim to quit their job.

Manipulation can be seen as a form of gift and flowers, followed by certain statements that they will not do it again. (Kindschi, 2013) One of the victims described the manipulation of her partner by him making her feel guilty because he did not know when he would be able to see the dog ever again. (Davey, n.d) Another example of manipulation that this victim shared was that knowing she did not know how to drive a manual he manipulated her into buying a manual vehicle, knowing this information. He knew that she was not going to be using this vehicle, and that she would not be able to go anywhere.

Substance abuse may go hand and hand with behavior that is abusive. Abusers mostly always blame the drugs or alcohol for the way that they have behaved or acted towards their partner. Common phrases include, “I didn’t know what I was doing, I was drunk”, or “I was high. I don’t remember.” (Bloomquist, 2000) Substance abuse can increase the risk of violence between partners. (Kindschi, 2013) Illicit drug and stimulants can increase the chances of intimate partner violence from happening. The abuser being under the influence can cause tension, insults, and or psychological abuse. (Kindschi, 2013)

Abusers can be disguised in any person. We really do not know who they are unless we are able to witness their behavior and catch their abusive characteristics. Abusers who are using drugs can always have the drugs and alcohol to blame for their actions. Victims should always be aware of these actions. The relationship can be new, fresh, and they may think it is adorable that the abuser is showing signs of jealousy, but these are early signs of abuse. Knowing the warning signs can save so many from falling into the wrong relationship.


Bloomquist, M. (2000, April 24). Domestic Abuse: Recognizing the Potential Abuser., from

Davey, M. (n.d.). Domestic violence: Five women tell their stories of leaving an abusive relationship., from

Kindschi, D. (07/2013). Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crimes of Intimate and Family Violence, 5th Edition. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from