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What are the common characteristics of domestic violence abusers?

Domestic violence abusers are skilled manipulators. Because abusers typically reserve their worst behavior for private moments with their victims, you might not even be aware that someone you love is being abused. This is something that I know all too well, as nobody ever knew I was being abused until after I put a stop to it. Here are some of the most common characteristics of domestic violence abusers that you might not be aware of.

Common Characteristics of Domestic Abusers
Common Characteristics of Domestic Abusers


One of the most common characteristics of domestic violence abusers is their assertion of control over the relationship. They accomplish this both physically (by restraint and battery) and psychologically (by ingratiating himself into every aspect of her life). For instance, Chuck would keep me from going out with or talking to anyone and at the same time make sure that he belittled me enough to make me think he was the only thing I had going for me in this world.


In an effort to win over the victim's trust and refute accusations of abuse against them, domestic violence abusers present themselves as friendly, caring people. Chuck would oftentimes explain to others that he had to take care of me because I was mentally unwell. What he failed to realize is that he was the cause of my mental health issues.


Common characteristics of domestic violence abusers include such things as becoming envious and irate when their victim hangs out with friends, texts someone else, or even leaves for work. Chuck would always make sure that I had no transportation so that I'd have to stay home. He didn't like me to even be around his friends. I was essentially cut off from the world by my domestic violence abuser.

Manipulates and Blames the Victim

Another very common characteristic of domestic violence abusers is that they'll use specific words and phrases to elicit reactions from their victims. To get what they want, they are perfectly aware of what to say and how to behave. This was Charles' favorite thing to do to me. He'd demand oral sex and then compare me to his ex, putting me down the entire time. Of course, there was also much manipulation taking place outside of the bedroom as well because this truly is a very common characteristic. However, I didn't notice this nearly as much because Chuck was great at making me feel guilty, toying with my need to be a people pleaser.

Attacks Self-Esteem

This last example that I shared with you about how my domestic violence abuser manipulated and blamed me is based upon another one of these common characteristics of domestic violence abusers: attacking the victim's self-esteem. This is done because abusers want their victims to believe they are dependent on them. The victim will be told that they are unattractive, ugly, foolish, or unwanted. The victim feels more dependent on their abuser the less value they have in the world.

Threatening and Demanding

While everyone seemingly knows of this common characteristic of domestic violence abusers, they threaten their victims, what they don't always know is that domestic violence abusers may also threaten to hurt their loved ones (e.g., family members, children, pets). This is their attempt to keep their victim under control since they want total control over their victim. Therefore, they'll also frequently demand to know at all times what their victims do, where they go, and who they see.

Destruction of Property

By damaging their victims' possessions, domestic violence abusers intimidate their victims. He may do this to exact revenge on his victim; by destroying items that are important to her, he conveys the idea that whatever he destroys might have been her or that she might be next. I still remember the day when Chuck was angry at me so he reached over and smashed a set of tea candle vases that my friend had brought me from Greece. That was the first of the many things he destroyed - I'm very fortunate in that he didn't also destroy me physically.

My experience of surviving domestic abuse and later becoming a victim of domestic violence is described in Healing Family Trauma Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, PA. Here, I want to reach out and let people know they're not alone. By visiting my Etsy store, you can contribute to the success of my endeavors. Thank you!


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