Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
In my last article, we looked at characteristics of a battered woman/person. This article will look at some common characteristics of the batterer or abuser.
A person who abuses can be anyone from anywhere. We see this every time we hear about abuse on the news. Abusers can be teachers, businessmen, the cashier at the grocery store, even police officers to public figures to clergymen. But abusers do have some characteristics that they all share.
Believe Violence is OK
Abusive men usually learn that abusing women is ok because they receive this message through the media or witnessing abuse of their mother or other female in their life. People who abuse children were usually abused as a child themselves. The rise of violence in movies, television and video games has coincided with the rise of violence and abuse in our homes. We need to start teaching our children, especially our boys, that violence is not ok and not the answer when things get rough. Most of my friends poke fun at me for not allowing toy guns in my home. Why should I let my 5 year-old think it is ok to point a gun, real or not, at his sister?
Defense mechanisms were first defined by Sigmund Freud. Defense mechanisms are used by people to protect out feelings of self-esteem and self-respect. Most of the time, defense mechanisms are used unconsciously.
One of the most commonly used defense mechanism used by everyone including abusers is called rationalization. This is when you explain the behavior away or make excuses for what happened. Some abusers may minimize what they do to the one they abuse say things like “I only pushed her” or “I only slapped her”. Some may use denial and claim they can’t help themselves when the loose control. Or many abusers blame their victims.
One of the worse types of defense mechanisms an abuser may use is when the abuser tries to push the episodes out of his/her mind then tries to convince the victim that the abuse never occurred and cause the victims to question their own judgment.
I have heard countless times that abusers are very jealous. Usually this is the first warning signs of a potentially abusive relationship. The abuser may become jealous of any relationship their victim has. This could be with co-workers, parents, siblings, children and sometimes even pets. Anything that takes the victims attention away from the abuser is seen as a threat. This jealousy usually stems from the abusers fear of the victim abandoning him/her/ Many abusers will try to make the victim totally dependant upon him/her. The more she is tied to him, the less like she is to leave.
After hearing a case of domestic violence in the news, how many times do you hear friends and neighbors say, “He just didn’t seem like the type of person to do that” or :He is such a nice guy, a family man”. Almost every time, right? Everyone thought my ex was an angel, that’s why I never told anyone. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. Many women will tell you their abuser was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When no one is around he is one way but when no one is around he is a monster.