Most often it is the abusers’ own fears and insecurities that are the main reasons they abuse. Psychologists have identified some common characteristics of domestic violence abusers. Many of the perpetrators suffer from low self-esteem, and their sense of self and identity is tied to their partner.
Abusers often use violence to gain and maintain power and authority in their relationships. They are known to isolate their victims by forbidding the victims to maintain outside employment, friends, and family ties. By using the isolation ‘tool,’ the abusers leave victims without support systems, and create dependency upon the abusers, which gives them the power and control they seek. The perpetrators further limit their survivors’ options by not allowing access to checking accounts, credit cards or other financial resources. This helps them preveent their victims from leaving them, which is often the abusers’ greatest fear.
Abusers may constantly criticize, berate and humiliate their partners, thereby, causing their victims to feel worthless, ugly, stupid, and crazy. This in turn further contributes to lowering the self-esteem of the victims. The victims’ lower self-esteem may contribute to their feeling that they deserve the abuse. It affects their ability to see themselves as worthy of better treatment, which helps the abusers convince the victims to stay with them, even if it is done subconsciensly.
When abusers feel they are losing the victims through separation, divorce or emotional detachment, they often react to the situation by abusing. If victims leave through any of these methods, the abusers often feel the loss of power, control and their self-identity. That is when they will often resort to desperate measures to regain control over the victims. These desperate measures, unfortunately, are often devastating and sometimes fatal.
Personality Traits of the Abuser/Batterer
Many people believe that abusers may have some type pf menta illness, and although that may be true, the perpetrators of domestic violence are usually not sick or deranged. They actually are quite cunning usually, having learned manipulative techniques and behaviors that allow them to abuse others. The abuse the victims through domination and control techniques in order to obtain their desired responses.
Law enforcement officers commonly arrive on the scenes of domestic abuse crimes and find significant evidence of violent incidentd, such as injured victims and homes in disarray, yet the perpetrators are composed and speak casually with the officers as if nothing had occurred.
Abusers often experience dramatic mood swings of highs and lows. They are often loving one minute, and spiteful and cruel the next. People outside the home often characterize these abusers as being generous and caring, yet they behave drastically different in yhe privacy of their home environment. Perpetrators of domestic violence are rarely violent to those outside of their domicile.
The use of psychological, emotional, and physical abuse intertwined with periods of remorse, love, and happiness are deliberate tools used by abusersto gain control over the victims. Batterers may violently assault, then moments later apologize for their actions. Many purchase gifts of flowers, candy, and other items in order to gain forgiveness.
Abusers often promise that they will never harm their partners again. Their promises include obtaining professional help or counseling, but often these promises are never kept, and are only used as another “tool” to prevent the victims from leaving.
What Should You Do?
Anyone who is suffering from abuse or who knows of someone suffering at the hands of another should contact their local police by dialing 911 (if in US), or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 / TTY 1-800-787-3224. For more information go to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
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