Relationships:10 Common Behaviors of An Abusive Person

Abusive person
Photo Credit: DenIsen Family

Would you be able to identify abuse if you had to? What about if it was happening to you? For many of us, we would find it difficult to identify an abuser that we are in a relationship with. One of the reasons is because we often go into our relationships with a positive mind-set. Another reason is because when abuse is happening to us, we don’t always have the capability to recognize it. As a result, we often need others to highlight abusive behaviors and help us explore whether our relationships are healthy or not. This article will discuss 10 common behaviors an abusive person will exhibit. 

Sometimes abuse can be very difficult to pinpoint because it can come in an insidious or subliminal form. Abuse is also often very difficult  for society to understand for a variety of reasons. This lack of knowledge by society often makes it difficult for us to pinpoint abuse happening in our own relationships.

Abusive Personality Types

I listed a few behaviors below that can help you identify the abusive behavior of those in your life. Most abusers often:

  1. Turn things around: Abusers are good at turning things around or making things fit the way they want things to be or appear to others. Abusers can be very sneaky, subliminal, and vicious. Their viciousness does not always have to be expressed behind an angry face. Viciousness can be displayed through a smile and, if you look closely at the abuser, through their eyes. An abuser can sometimes do very well cloaking themselves and covering their true intent, attitudes, and behaviors. Sadly, this is how they “capture” their victims.
  2. Oust you when you oust them: The moment you decide that the abuser is not a positive force in your life, they can turn on you. Why should they continue to be nice to you if you are “calling them out” or pinpointing who the real problem is. The abuser will often retreat into an attitude of arrogance and denial. Some abusers refuse to acknowledge their pathological and unhealthy behaviors toward others. The best way to deny they are the problem is to get rid of you.
  3. Play “mind games:” Mind-games are some of the most evil things a person can use against you. Why? Because playing mind-games includes some degree of psychological and emotional control. When you are bonded to a person who come to trust them, you will most likely give the abuser the benefit of the doubt, forgive them, or sometimes even take their abuse. The victim will experience emotional and psychological confusion which includes second guessing, questioning, ruminating (i.e., thinking of something repeatedly until it begins to affect your mood), and obsessing. Once this pattern of behavior begins to affect your daily life, the abuser has won. Why? Because they are not in control of you and how you see the world and yourself. Mind-games may also come in the form of outright denial or a “my work against your word” attitude.
  4. Suffocate you with lies: As stated above, the abuser will often deny they are abusive because for the most part, the abuser cannot own up to his or her behavior nor can they acknowledge who they really are. It’s too painful to admit you are an evil person with little to no compassion or empathy. An abuser, from my perspective, is one step away from becoming a sociopath. Many abuser’s tend to lie and, as stated above, turn things around. Blatant lies are common. Circular reasoning or circular questioning is also common (i.e., taking a person around and around until the encounter begins to cause confusion). The truth is often not in the abuser.
  5. Create cliques to go against you: Abusers sometimes lack social confidence, a healthy self-esteem, and “power” within their relationships. As a result, the abuser will often form an “alliance” with other people (sometimes with others similar to them), who can go against the victim or at least validate their incorrect view of the victim. An abuser may, for example, tell a close family friend that his wife doesn’t show affection and avoid any kind of intimacy with him. The abuser’s friend may say something like “wow, why would she ruin the marriage like that? I’m on your side, don’t worry.” The victim, not knowing this, may sense that the family friend is against her or doesn’t accept her anymore. The silent ostracism can be too much to handle sometimes. The victim or the abused may begin to feel uncomfortable around this family friend and even judged. “Silent abuse” causes second guessing, obsessing, and rumination in the abused or victim.


For the other 5 signs, visit my professional blog: ‎.


Please feel free to post comments below or share you own experiences.