Risk factors in abusive relationships
Certain personality traits predispose people to abusive relationships. The following lists are typical characteristics of both parties in abusive relationships.
Partners of Abusers:
Personality traits which are common in the partners of abusers:
- 1. Intense need for love and affection. (See Love Addiction)
- 2. Low self esteem. (Belief that they can’t have / don’t deserve better treatment.)
- 3. Drug or Alcohol Dependence.
- 4. A background involving physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- 5. ACOA issues (Adult Children of alcoholics / addicts.)
- 6. Codependent personality disorder and / or Love addiction.
- 7. Enforced isolation creating resentment.
- 8. Strong need for a relationship to validate them.
- 9. Gain a sense of worth by care taking the abuser.
- 10. Inability to set and enforce interpersonal boundaries.
- 11. Difficulty expressing anger, tendency to internalize it, act it out in other ways.
- 12. Loyalty to the abuser takes precedence over emotional or physical safety.
- 13. Belief that “it will change if I just try harder.”
- 14. Repeated attempts to leave the relationship.
- 15. Inability to follow through with leaving – return to the abuser again and again.
- 16. Clinical depression, self – medication.
- 17. Suicidal ideation or attempts.
The Abusive Personality:
Traits which are common in the abusive personality are:
- 1. Uncontrolled temper.
- 2. Extreme Jealousy. (See Love Addiction.)
- 3. Intense fear of abandonment.
- 4. A background involving physical, emotional or sexual abuse, abandonment, ACOA issues.
- 5. Unrealistic expectations of a relationship. (To “fix” them or solve their problems.)
- 6. Isolation and antisocial temperament.
- 7. Recklessness. (dangerous sexual behavior, reckless driving, drug use etc.)
- 8. Inability to accept responsibility for their behavior and actions, even in the face of dire consequences.
- 9. Cruelty to children / animals.
- 10. Threats of violence.
- 11. Low self-esteem, shame.
- 12. Codependent personality disorder and / or Love addiction.
- 13. Inability to respect interpersonal boundaries, a compulsion to violate boundaries.
- 14. Drug or Alcohol Dependence, self medication.
- 15. Emotional volitility – fear of being “out of control”.
- 16. Need for power and control to compensate for the above.
- 17. Bipolar disorder and / or Borderline Personality Disorder.
- 18. Abuse generally escalates when the partner leaves.
It should be noted that abusers are often survivors of abuse themselves.
Many of the characteristics above are documented trauma based adaptations to childhood emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Abusiveness is a family dysfunction that repeats through generations. Just as addictions pass down through generations, abusers often leave their families for a family of choice – then repeat the abusive cycle from the other side. The abused becomes the abuser and so continues the cycle. In this sense abusers and addicts are not to blame for their behavior, but they are responsible for it. Accountability is a concept addicts, codependents and abusers have trouble grasping until they are well into recovery.
It can change – BREAK THE CYCLE NOW!
* Abusive relationships are marked by attempts by the abuser to isolate their partner from social interaction. This is due to jealousy and to an unconscious awareness that outsiders will see the relationship dynamics and attempt to intervene. (Any signs of independence in their partner triggers deep seated abandonment fears and jealousy.) The enforced isolation of abusive relationships also creates an ideal climate for the progression of addictions in one or both partners. (Isolation is a common characteristic of addict / alcoholics.)