How to Identify a Spousal Batterer

Four Parts:Their Treatment of YouTheir Attitude Towards OthersTheir Emotional StabilityAnalyze Their Background

If you are currently in a relationship, or you're about to enter into a relationship, this article may help you tell if the person you are with, or trying to be with, is a potential batterer. Abusive people will not normally show their abusive characteristics outwardly, but no one can hide their defining character for long. The list of things to watch for provided in this article is intended to help you identify those individuals who possess some characteristics of potential batterers. This is not to say that all individuals who exhibit these identifying characteristics are spousal batterers. Instead, use the cues to heighten your awareness of the potential, then carefully consider what that awareness reveals. Remember: You should always rely on your own instincts.

Part 1
Their Treatment of You

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    Watch for verbal abuse. If the individual consistently communicates in ways that tend to degrade you, make fun of you, or belittle your accomplishments, proceed with caution.
    • If your potential partner continually curses or often expresses words of anger, take this as a red flag and proceed into the relationship with utmost caution. Whether they mean it or not, their words and treatment of you reflect their disrespect and lack of consideration of other people's feelings.
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    Observe how the individual views jealousy. The individual may question you about who you were talking to or who you see throughout the day. They may get jealous of the time you spent with others or they may check on you excessively or ask a friend to watch you. At the worst extreme, they may even forbid you from being with certain individuals or talking to them.
    • Be careful if this person accuses you of flirting with others for a very shallow reason or has no basis at all for such accusations. This is an indication that your potential partner lacks good judgement and needs to back off.
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    Take note of controlling behaviors. At an early stage, such behaviors may seem to just be concern about your safety and your decision-making ability. It is best not become too comfortable with this kind of attitude, though. Controlling behaviors may later get worse and, after you get married, your partner may assume all control of the household and your life.
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    See if they pressure you for commitment. Potential abusers may appear to be madly in love with you and pressure you early in a relationship to get married or live together without getting a chance to know each other better.
    • Do not let them make you feel guilty for wanting to slow down or end your relationship. Invoking the sentiment of guilt is used primarily to distort your judgment and strengthen their manipulative abilities. Give yourself a chance to get to know them better before you jump in.
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    Take an inventory of their expectations. Abusers often have impossible expectations and presume that you are there primarily to meet their needs. Later on, they often come to expect that you take care of literally everything in the realm of domestic and emotional needs. If they cannot understand your limitations and won't accept you for who you are, then you might want to think twice about whether you really want to settle.

Part 2
Their Attitude Towards Others

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    Watch the way they treat their parents. Women should watch the way men treat their mothers and men should watch how women treat their fathers. If they are not kind towards their parents, they probably aren't keepers. If they talk back or are rude to their own parents, it won't be impossible that they can do worse to their partners.
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    Check for any signs of cruelty and abuse towards children and animals. You will know people more deeply if you look closely at how they treat their inferiors. If they are mean to them or constantly bully them, how do you think they will treat you and your children in the future?
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    See who they blame for problems and emotions. Most abusers would never accept their faults and shortcomings. They are always the victim.
    • A major sign that a person can be an abuser is them not assuming responsibility for their own emotions and behavior and making themselves appear to be the one who has been aggravated or wronged.

Part 3
Their Emotional Stability

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    Attune to any and all signs of anger. In particular, notice whether they can admit their behavior or they deny it. Abusers are often incapable of solving problems through a good conversation and may not even be willing to admit to actions born of their anger, no matter how obvious.
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    Watch how they control their temper. A sudden "emotional outburst" for a very small reason is a sign of a personality disorder, from which everyone should flee.
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    See if they use or attempt to use any form of force during an argument. Holding you down, tightening their hands into fists, restraining you from leaving, pushing, and even a snarl or growl are positive indications.
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    Note well if they strike and destroy objects. Think of slowing down the pace of your relationship if it is apparent that it is too easy for them to break things of sentimental value, or anything on sight, punching the wall or the mirror, kicking the chair. There is some possibility that they can do this to their partner later on.
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    Observe their sensitivity to setbacks. An abuser may take almost everything personally and will overreact even to slightest criticism. Do not tolerate a partner who easily gets upset or insulted and considers feedback as a personal attack. These people are impatient, defensive, and incapable of forgiving others.

Part 4
Analyze Their Background

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    Consider the abuser's childhood. Most people who were raised in an abusive household have a greater chance of exhibiting abusive behavior towards their family-to-be. You may discreetly ask the people who have watched them grow up about their childhood experiences.
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    Be open to information from past boyfriends or girlfriends, close friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances. The answers to such questions as: "How were they as a boyfriend or girlfriend?" or "Did they show any signs of abusive attitude with you?" are very telling.
    • It may be better not to ask their acquaintances in a dry and direct manner. Instead, it might be best to get to know these people, do some casual talking, and then lead them to the topic.


  • Some people strike inanimate objects so as not to harm any human. Consider the rest of your (potential) partner's characteristics.
  • Sudden mood swings, also known as "Jekyll and Hyde” personality, is one of the common characteristics of abusers.


  • A potential batterer may put things in your head about your family and friends so that they can isolate you and manipulate your judgement.

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Categories: Abuse | Relationships