I have had various types of interactions with abusive men in my life. Starting with my first dad and then various exes throughout the years— some more angry or abusive than others. I’ve learned along the way that abusive relationships—personality disorders, having a lack of conscience, extreme jealousy, bad tempers— whatever you may call it, is really much more common than people like to talk about. It’s understandably not a common topic of conversation. It’s not very pleasant. As well as the stigma and shame attached to being in a relationship with an abusive person. Which is unfair— why are we to blame for loving a person who shows their abusive side to us after we fall for them?
There are many unique traits to each individual abuser, as well as commonalities. First, just to define an abusive person (I am using person because there are also women that are abusive, and even that may be more common than we realize I am realizing) because many people probably have different connotations with the word: they include
damaging the other person’s self-esteem, controlling their behavior and independence, disrespect, and selfishness to the extent of lacking a conscience.
And also a resulting confusion on the part of the abused partner because of the unpredictable ups and downs (good and bad times), manipulations, and cool and hot behavior.
Here is a list of the 10 different kinds of abusive person’s behavior,
Keep in mind that an abuser can have any combination of the below styles and then can also turn into a loving partner for a period of time as well.
1. The Demand Man
The Demand Man is highly entitled about what you should be doing for him and makes you feel and tells you that you’re lucky to simply be with him. And yet, he doesn’t give in return or only when he feels like it. Yet, he demands emotional support, caretaking or sexual attention and makes you feel bad if you can’t meet his selfish expectations.
“You should not place demands on me at all. You should be grateful for whatever I choose to give.”
2. Mr. Right
Mr. Right believes he is the ultimate authority on every subject, including what you should be doing with your life. To the extent of making his partner regret having her own mind and thoughts on things.
“If you would just accept that I know what’s right, our relationship would go much better. Your own life would go better, too.”
3. The Water Torturer
The Water Torturer stays evenly calm in arguments and has a quiet derision (insulting or mocking) and meanness. He can psychologically assault his partner so they don’t even understand why they are so upset.
“As long as I’m calm, you can’t call anything I do abusive, no matter how cruel.”
4. The Drill Sergeant
The Drill Sergeant controls his partner to the ultimate extreme in every corner of her life, including what she wears to when she goes out to even interfering with her job. He isolates her from her friends and family by ruining their friendships or forbidding her to see them. He is usually physically violent starting with threats, leaving her always fearful of what he might do (again).
“I am going to watch you like a hawk to keep you from developing strength or independence.”
“I love you more than anything in the world but you disgust me.”
5. Mr. Sensitive
Mr. Sensitive appears on the outside to be gentle and soft-spoken and uses personal development jargon, meanwhile still being extremely self-centered and demanding emotionally.
“As long as I use a lot of “psychobabble,” no one is going to believe that I am mistreating you. I can get inside your head whether you want me there or not.”
6. The Player
The Player is sometimes good-looking, but always sexually charming. He is always flirtatious, usually promiscuous. He is not actually addicted to sex, but rather to the thrill of using women whenever he wants just because he can. He knows how to make every woman feel she is the most special, but also keep her off-balance, guessing constantly, and feeling jealous.
“It’s not my fault that women find me irresistible. Women seduce me sometimes, and I can’t help it.”
Rambo gets a thrill out of intimidating people, not just his partner. The danger signs, however, are not machoness, but violence and intimidation towards people and disrespect and superiority towards women.
“Female and femininity are inferior. Men should never hit women, because it is unmanly to do so. However, exceptions can be made if you behave badly enough. Men need to keep their women in line.”
8. The Victim
To hear him tell it, the Victim always seems to be the one that was abused. Watch out for not just anger, but disrespect and contempt when he’s talking about an ex. Or if he claims everything was her fault. Everyone is always wronging him, and he is always blameless.
“It’s justifiable for me to do to you whatever I feel you are doing to me, and even worse so as you get the message.”
9. The Terrorist
The Terrorist, like Rambo and the Drill Sergeant, is intimidating and controlling, but he also enjoys causing fear in his partner by frequently reminding her how he can physically hurt her or kill her.
“Seeing you terrified is exciting and satisfying.”
10. The Mentally Ill or Addicted Abuser
Mental illness or substance addiction is not the cause of a person’s abuse, but it can contribute to the already existing problem and/or increase the risk of violence. People may call it “anti-social personality disorder” or “narcissistic personality disorder”, whatever you may call it, the signs include extreme self-centeredness—which include being outraged at criticism and that anyone could think they’re anything but kind and generous— and lacking a conscience, thus being able to engage repeatedly in behavior that is harmful to others—including aggressive behavior outside of his partner as well as with her, a criminal record by age 30 even with minor offenses, and cheating. These are both very difficult to change through therapy, claims Lundy Bancroft, who has 27 years of experience with domestic abuse and abusive men, and director of the first program for abusive men in the U.S.
“I am not responsible for my actions because of my psychological or substance problems. If you challenge me about my abusiveness, you are being mean to me, considering the other problems I have.”
It’s important to remember that many abusers have many different faces of the categories above and he may not even fit into any type. There will also be “good times” when he turns especially loving and thoughtful when you feel you must have been imagining the bad times or that things are back to how it used to be when you first got together. However, whether it’s a few days or a few months, the abuse will always eventually come back. Unless the abuser has dealt with his abusiveness through therapy and even then it is still very difficult to change.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”