By Stephany Alexander
Abusive men are often survivors of abuse themselves. Signs of an abusive man can range from emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. Frequently an emotionally abusive man is also a verbally abusive man or a combination of all abuse types. A sign of an abusive man can usually be found after a few dates if you pay attention, ask a lot of questions and do some investigating into his past.
Abusive relationships are characterized by control games, violence, jealousy and withholding sex and emotional contact. An emotionally abusive man is harder to pin-point and a skilled, abusive man can easily make you think you aren’t good enough or that everything is your fault. It is just as difficult to recover from emotional abuse as it is from physical abuse. Emotional abuse causes low self-esteem and depression. An abusive man may tell you he loves you or that he will change, so you won’t leave. However, the more times you take him back, the more control he will gain. Empty promises become the norm. Make sure you pay attention to his actions and not merely his words. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Abusive relationships are never abusive in the beginning. If they were, women would dump the abusive men immediately in search of a good man.
According to the American Psychological Association Force on Violence and Family, over 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner each year! Who can forget when heavy-weight champ Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison. Tyson served three years before being released on parole. Thereafter, he married Robin Givens but they divorced on Valentine’s Day only a year later because Givens claimed Tyson abused her. Abusive behavior touches all ranges of society.
We have broken down the top 10 signs of an abusive man. If your partner exhibits one or more of these signs, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship and seek help or get out.
1. Jealousy & Possessiveness – Becomes jealous over your family, friends, co-workers. Tries to isolate you. Views his woman and children as his property instead of as unique individuals. Accuses you of cheating or flirting with other men without cause. Always asks where you’ve been and with whom in an accusatory manner.
2. Control – He is overly demanding of your time and must be the center of your attention. He controls finances, the car, and the activities you partake in. Becomes angry if woman begins showing signs of independence or strength.
3. Superiority – He is always right, has to win or be in charge. He always justifies his actions so he can be “right” by blaming you or others. A verbally abusive man will talk down to you or call you names in order to make himself feel better. The goal of an abusive man is to make you feel weak so they can feel powerful. Abusers are frequently insecure and this power makes them feel better about themselves.
4. Manipulates – Tells you you’re crazy or stupid so the blame is turned on you. Tries to make you think that it’s your fault he is abusive. Says he can’t help being abusive so you feel sorry for him and you keep trying to “help” him. Tells others you are unstable.
5. Mood Swings – His mood switches from aggressive and abusive to apologetic and loving after the abuse has occurred.
6. Actions don’t match words – He breaks promises, says he loves you and then abuses you.
7. Punishes you – An emotionally abusive man may withhold sex, emotional intimacy, or plays the “silent game” as punishment when he doesn’t get his way. He verbally abuses you by frequently criticizing you.
8. Unwilling to seek help – An abusive man doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him so why should he seek help? Does not acknowledge his faults or blames it on his childhood or outside circumstances.
9. Disrespects women – Shows no respect towards his mother, sisters, or any women in his life. Thinks women are stupid and worthless.
10. Has a history of abusing women and/or animals or was abused himself – Batterers repeat their patterns and seek out women who are submissive and can be controlled. Abusive behavior can be a generational dysfunction and abused men have a great chance of becoming abusers. Men who abuse animals are much more likely to abuse women also.
If you continue to stay in an abusive relationship because you think he will change and start treating you well, think again. An abusive man does not change without long-term therapy. Group counseling sessions are particularly helpful in helping abusive men recognize their abusive patterns. Type A personality types seem to be more prone to abusive behavior due to their aggressive nature. Drugs and alcohol can create or further escalate an abusive relationship. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are excellent programs for an addict. The abuser’s partner should also seek help for their codependent behavior at Codependents Anonymous.
If the abusive man is not willing to seek help, then you must take action by protecting yourself and any children involved by leaving. By staying in an abusive relationship you are condoning it. If you are scared you won’t be able to survive because of finances, pick up the phone book and start calling shelters. Try calling family, friends and associates and ask them if they can help or know of ways to help. Once you leave, the abuser may cry and beg for forgiveness but don’t go back until you have spoken to his counselor and he has completed long-term therapy successfully. Be prepared for the abuse to increase after you leave because the abuser has lost control. The Bureau of Justice Statistics states that on the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day so please be careful. If you partner is not willing to seek help for his abusive behavior, your only option is to leave.
Stephany Alexander is a relationship expert and CEO/Founder of WomanSavers.com – The World’s Largest Database Rating Men. She holds a degree in Communications and is the author of the book Sex, Lies and the Internet.