Characteristics of an Abusive Personality

The characteristics listed below are some typical warning signs of an abusive personality. Someone does not need to exhibit all of the below listed indicators to possess an abusive personality. Sometimes people show signs of only two or three of these behaviors. If a person you are in a relationship with demonstrates some of these characteristics, you may be in a relationship that has a high potential for violence.

  • Your partner comes on very strongly and pushes for very quick involvement
  • They may say things such as “no one understands me the way you do” or “I’ve never felt like this about anyone else before”
  • They may push you into commitments that you do not feel ready for but you feel too guilty to say no to
  • They are jealous of/try to isolate you from your friends, family, co-workers
  • They do not want to “lose” you
  • Your partner does not want you to take part in activities that don’t include him/her
  • You feel cut off from these relationships because of your partner
  • Your partner is very controlling
  • They tell you how to dress and present yourself
  • You feel you have little say in the relationship
  • They handle the money and you have to ask for permission to buy things
  •  Your partner monitors everything you do
  • He/she is angry if you are “late” coming back home
  • They interrogate you about your activities
  • Your partner makes you ask permission to leave the house
  • He/she has violent and unpredictable mood swings
  • Your partner is explosive and moody
  • You feel like you are walking on eggshells to avoid an argument
  • They often blame you for problems and are degrading and critical
  • Your partners uses emotions to manipulate you; you may feel like they are playing mind games with you
  • He/she says things like “You brought this on yourself by not doing what you were told” and “You make me angry”
  • Problems are always someone else’s fault; it is never their fault; they will turn the situation around to blame you or someone else rather than take accountability for their own actions
  •  Your partner believes in traditional gender stereotypes
  • They may say things such as “The man is the head of the household”
  • He/she may expect you to serve them and wait on them hand and foot
  • Your partner may view you as inferior or incapable
  • He/she does not express their feelings
  • They may believe doing so indicates weakness
  • Your partner may cover emotions such as hurt, fear, grief, embarrassment, and guilt with anger
  • They are verbally abusive
  • Your partner curses you
  • He/she often belittles you
  •  They tell you that you are stupid, incompetent, incapable of doing anything without them
  • He/she is verbally or physically abusive to pets and/or children
  • Your partner is insensitive to the needs of those they consider to be weaker than themselves
  • They have irrational expectations of children or pets
  • They have been in previous abusive relationships
  • They admit to hitting a previous partner but it was only one time
  • His/her friends or relatives tell you that he is abusive
  • Your partner is feared by his friends and/or family; they often have a rationalization for this such as “Oh, that person is scared of everything.”
  • Your partner threatens you with violence
  • He/she threatens to hit, kick, choke you
  • They tell you that they will kill you
  • They try to excuse these threats by saying it is “normal” and that “everybody says things like that”
  • He/she hits objects or breaks things during an argument
  • They may be punishing you by breaking your possessions
  • Your partner wants to terrorize you into submission
  • They threaten physical harm to themselves and/or others if you leave them
  • You are afraid that they will kill themselves if you leave
  • You fear for your own or your family’s safety if you leave