The Abuser

Who is Responsible for Abuse?  

The abuser is always responsible, not the victim! There is NO excuse for any form of domestic violence. Many times, the abuser will attempt to blame the victim through power and control tactics; sadly the victim may become convinced they did something to deserve the abuse. Abusers also blame other people, addictions, stress, childhood influences, or other outside factors...these are all excuses.  Every person is accountable for their own actions despite these types of ‘influences’ or excuses.  Some people who resort to abusive behavior have survived abuse or witnessed it themselves causing them to learn this unhealthy behavior.

Violence tends to be a learned behavior which means that with professional help, violent people can learn to think and behave in a healthy manner.


Abusers may not always be easily recognizable.  Some have severe mood changes, following the example set in the cycle of abuse.  This is similar to a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality type, appearing calm and pleasant in public but controlling and manipulative at home.  Stereotypes of drunken unshaven men, wearing ‘wife beater’ tank tops must be thrown out the window.  Abusers can be well dressed businessmen, women, and come from all social and economic classes, races, and religions.  Just as there are no boundaries for the type of victim, there are no boundaries when it comes to the type of abuser.

However, there are behaviors and characteristics to watch for:

  • Low self esteem

  • Rushes into relationships 

  • Exhibits controlling behavior

  • Cruel to animals or children

  • Unrealistic expectations and demands

  • Poor communications skills and inability to control anger

  • Blames victim or others for actions

  • Pathologically and excessively  jealous

  • Dual personality “Jekyll and Hyde”

  • Uses drinking and battering to alleviate stress

  • Does not believe violent behavior should have negative consequences

  • Does not take responsibility for actions

  • Uses threats and violence as a control mechanism

  • Experienced or witnessed abuse when growing up

  • Has been abusive to previous partners

If you recognize the warning signs of abuse or suspect someone of abusive behavior, there are safe ways to intervene.  Even if the victim leaves, the abuser will likely continue the abusive behavior in the next relationship.  The abuser must have professional help to change their behavior.  Success relies on a genuine effort and desire to change once taking responsibility for the behavior.  Without that dedication the abuse goes on.