Signs of a Battering Personality

Below are some characteristics that might identify a potential batterer or abuser, as noted on A Safe Place for Help’s website

Jealousy

At the beginning of the relationship, an abuser will always say that jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy has nothing to do with love. It’s a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. A batterer will question you about who you talk to, accuse you of flirting, or be jealous of time you spend with your family, friends, or children. As the jealousy progresses, the abuser may call frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly to check up on you. The abuser may insist that you not work or check the car mileage or ask friends to watch you.

Controlling Behavior

At first, the batterer will say that this behavior comes from concern about your safety, your need to use time wisely, or your need to make good decisions. The abuser will be angry if you are late coming home, and he/she may question you closely about where you went or whom you talked to. As this behavior gets worse, you may not be allowed to make decisions about the house, your clothing, or your going out. The abuser may keep all the money or make you ask permission to leave the house.

Quick Involvement

Many survivors of domestic violence dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they were living together. The abuser comes on like a whirlwind claiming love at first sight. The person may tell you such flattering things as “you’re the only person for me” or “I’ve never loved anyone like this before.”

Unrealistic Expectations

At first, the batterer will say that this behavior comes from concern about your safety, you need to use time well, or your need to make good decisions. The abuser will be angry if you are late coming home. He/She may question you closely about where you went or whom you talked to.

Isolation

A batterer will try to cut you off from everything and everyone. People who are your support system are accused of causing trouble. You may not be able to use the phone or go out when you want to.

Blames Other(s) for Problems

The abuser’s problems are justified by saying that people are out to get him or her. The abuser may blame problems on you and claim that you are at fault for every think that goes wrong.

Blames Other(s) for Feelings

The abuser will say “you make me mad” or “you’re hurting me by not doing what I ask.” You cannot make anyone feel anything, and often times, an abuser uses this statement to manipulate you.

Hypersensitivity

The abuser is easily insulted, claims hurt feelings when really feeling mad, or takes the slightest setbacks as personal attacks. The abuser will rant and rave about the injustice of things that have happened.

Cruelty to Animals or Children

The abuser may punish animals brutally or be insensitive to their pain and suffering. The abuser may expect children to do things way beyond their ability or tease them until they cry.

Playful Use of Force In Sex

The abuser may like to throw you down and hold you down during sex, or act out fantasies where you are helpless. The abuser may start to have sex with you while you are sleeping or demand sex while you are ill or tired or right after an assault.

Verbal Abuse

In addition to saying things that are cruel or hurtful, the abuser may degrade you, or run down your accomplishments. The abuser will tell you that you are stupid and unable to function alone.

Two Very Different Personalities

You may be confused by the batterer’s sudden change in mood. One minute the person is nice and the next minute, explosive or very sad. This does not indicate some kind of special mental problem or that the person is “crazy”.

Past Battering

You may find out the abuser has hit lovers in the past, but claims that they provoked or exaggerated it. A batterer will assault any person they are with. Situational circumstances do not make a person batter.

Breaking and Striking Objects

This behavior is used as punishment and used to terrorize you. The batterer will select specific items of personal worth to destroy. The person may strike tables or walls, or throw objects.

Any Type of Force During an Argument

This may involve holding you down or restraining you from leaving the room. Any physical assault is considered battering.

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