Characteristics of Abusers and Victims

There are various characteristics that are common to abusers and others that are common to victims.


  • May have intense, dependent relationships with their victims

  • May have many friends, be well liked by others, and may even have special talents

  • May have extremes in behaviors and moods (becomes easily angered, overdoes nice things, etc.)

  • May have been abused themselves or ob­served others being abused

  • May abuse alcohol or other drugs and may use this to justify abusive behavior

  • May be protective of dating partner to the point of controlling that person

  • May have difficulty expressing feelings

  • May have a dual personality (in a rage at one moment and then calm and apologetic the next moment)

  • May have certain ideas of how men and women should act (example: men should be strong and not show emotions; women are helpless and passive)


  • May fear their partner’s temper

  • May try to avoid conflicts and disagreements at any cost

  • May have poor self-esteem and a poor self-image

  • May experience physical problems such as headaches, nausea, and other stress-related symptoms

  • May spend all free time with the dating partner

  • May avoid friends or end relationships to avoid anyone finding out about the abuse

  • May have physical injuries such as bruises, black eyes, etc.

  • May take the blame for the abuse

  • May insist on getting permission from the dating partner before making plans with others.