Signs of an Abusive Man [15 Signs, Stages & Types Of Abuse]

Signs Of An Abusive Man

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. Signs 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.

What Are The Top 10 Signs Of An Abusive Man?

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 And 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.

  1. 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. This is among one of the most common signs of an abusive man.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Mood Swings:

His mood switches from aggressive and abusive to apologetic and loving after the abuse has occurred.

  1. Actions Don’t Match Words:

He breaks promises, says he loves you and then abuses you.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Disrespects Women:

Shows no respect towards his mother, sisters, or any women in his life. Thinks women are stupid and worthless.

  1. Has A History Of Abusing Women/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.

What To Do To Save Your Relationship?

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. 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.

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 have figured out any signs of an abusive man in your partner. And he’s not willing to seek help for his abusive behavior, your only option is to leave.

What Are The Signs Of An Emotional Abuse?

There are unfortunately many signs of an abusive relationship. Some of these signs will manifest themselves on the outside, while others will only be seen on the inside. No matter how the signs appear, they all require immediate attention. If someone you know is suspected of being abused, the best thing you can do is get them help as soon possible. Here are some signs of abuse.

  1. Jealousy

Jealousy is a classic sign of an abusive relationship. If someone is extremely possessive, calls or emails constantly or stops by unannounced, they are the jealous type. Another sign of someone who might be abusive is if they check the mileage on the car and won’t let their spouse get out of the house because you might meet someone new.

  1. Isolation

Someone is practicing emotional abuse if they keep another isolated from their friends and family. The abuser will often claim that those who want to help are actually there to cause trouble and drive a wedge between the couple.

  1. Cruelty

Pay careful attention to how people treat animals. An abuser is likely to have violent outbursts and be physical with animals by beating them severely. This is a clear sign that they will also be abusive to humans including wives and children. These types of abusers will likely push others to do things beyond what they are capable or tease others mercilessly.

  1. Force Used in Sex

Abuse can also come in the form of sexual abuse. If his idea of fun is a rape or he enjoys using a lot of force with sex, this is also one of the many signs of an abusive man in a relationship.

  1. Mood Swings

These are also a sign of an abusive relationship. Those who are abusive will have wild mood swings and go from being sweet to being violent in a manner of seconds. In addition, they will often swing back the other way and be extremely loving and even forgiving after they have screamed at or hit someone. They may even say that they will never behave in that manner again.

  1. Threats

Any man that makes threats against his spouse’s life is also an abuser. There is nothing right about saying he will kill someone or break their neck. These words are only a precursor to what he will actually do with his own hands.

  1. Bruises

If you see someone with unexplained bruises or bruises that reappear every few days or weeks, they are likely in an abusive relationship and need help immediately.

  1. Becoming Withdrawn

Another classic sign of abuse is if someone begins to pull away from close friends and family because they don’t want the bruises to be seen or are afraid of what their partner might do around others.

If you recognize any of these signs of an abusive man in anyone you know. Talk to them immediately and find out what is going on and if they need help.

What Are The Different Types Of Abuse?

Abuse comes in a variety of ways. We will discuss the most commonly known which are, verbal and physical abuse, psychological abuse and the three stages of abuse.

Is abuse always the abusers fault?

  1. Verbal And Physical:

Verbal and Physical abuse has become common in many cultures. In my view, any form of abuse-a slap, an insult or yelling-is wrong, whether it is culturally acceptable or not.

Sometimes verbal or physical abuse starts out as a form of controlling then leads to the abuse. For example, there are those unique people-particularly some women-who want to be controlled in a love relationship. Yes, I was just as shocked as you when I first came across people like that. These people thrive in the arms of their controllers. To them, being controlled by their lover is a sign that their love is strong

  1. Psychological Abuse:

Psychological abuse is neither verbal nor physical-though those may also be present. It is about the feeling one has about how he or she has been treated. The abuser is able to go into the victim’s head because of the way victims feel about what is being done, or has been done, to them. Often victims make it even more likely for the psychological abuse to persist because they hang on to how they are feeling and what the feeling arouses in them.

Psychological abuse is commonly found in victims of physical or verbal abuse. Even when a marriage or relationship has ended, the feeling, the nervousness, the insecurity the abuse caused still remains with the victim. Victims may react strongly to any word or name that their abuser used on them.

How Do You Put A Stop To Abuse? What Are The 3 Stages?

Generally, abuse takes shape in stages. My recommendation is to prevent it before it starts. You do so by asserting that you will not tolerate abuse of any form. If it is too late for that, you can still prevent abuse as soon as you notice it. If you allow it to continue, you will find yourself going through the below stages.

The three stages of abuse If you are a victim of abuse who has allowed the abuse to occur for too long, you may find that you have gone through the three stages: the abhorring stage, the tolerating stage and the acceptance stage. Here is a real case to depict these stages and to learn about the signs of an abusive man in detail.

  1. Abhor stage:

Erica, a beautiful, educated young woman, met Tom, a polite but uneducated, hardworking man. Erica did not give herself a chance to get to know Tom. As soon as Tom proposed, she jumped at the chance. Not long into the marriage, Tom began to accuse Erica of cheating and threatened to beat her. Erica thought Tom was bluffing.

  1. Tolerate stage:

The accusations began to escalate. Tom referred to his wife of only three months as a bitch and a whore. Soon the beatings began. Erica stayed with Tom. They ended up in a psychiatrist’s office. After six sessions, the physical abuse stopped, according to Erica, but she had to call Tom every thirty minutes to inform him where she was. Erica tolerated Tom, hoping that one day he would stop abusing her.

  1. Acceptance stage:

When the abuse did not stop, Erica became used to it and accepted what was being done to her. This was followed by making excuses for her abuser. Tom abused Erica frequently. If a couple of weeks went by and Tom did not abuse her, Erica saw this as a good sign that the abuse would stop. Her psychiatrist strongly suggested that she leave her husband within a month. (When I worked with her, I gave her one week to leave her husband.) Erica packed her bags but did not leave Tom.

At the acceptance stage, the victims of abuse regard any small positive change in their abuser’s behavior as a giant step forward, as a signal that the abuse will end.

What are some common statements of victims that tell the signs of an abusive man?

Below are statements that victims of abuse commonly use to justify the abuse and to defend their abuser:

  • But I love him.
  • He stopped hitting me.
  • I hope he will change.
  • He loves me.
  • It is my fault.

If you are a victim, does what you have read sound familiar? Do you abhor the behavior of the person with whom you live? Or do you now even accept it?

16 Signs Of An Abusive Man And How To Tackle Them

  1. You May Be Attracted By His Masculinity.

The kind of qualities you know you lack like his apparent strength, confidence, determination or be it aggressive masculinity.

  1. Or It May Be His Vulnerability That Appeals.

You might find yourself saying: “he just needs someone to really, really love him (and heal his pain.) Why does it need to be you? Feeling sorry for someone is no basis for a loving, equal relationship.

(Your focus has shifted from you, your wants and your needs, to his. He has replaced you as the centre of your universe.)

  1. He Really Wants To Hear About All The Problems You’re Having.

At the beginning of the relationship he really wanted to hear about all the problems you were having. He may even have the same problems himself. (Be very wary, he may be doing one of two things: he may be learning all about your Achilles’ heel and the best buttons to push in the future to humiliate and control you; or he may be encouraging you to feel that at least he understands what you’re going through.

  1. He Expects A Big Return On His Investment.

He may seem happy to put your needs and wishes first for a little while, but it won’t be long before he starts saying: “Look at everything I do for you. You should be doing X, Y and Z for me.”

  1. The Relationship Moves Forward Very Fast.

Abusive men woo as fast as they can. They know that they can’t sustain consistent good behavior for very long. Good behavior doesn’t give them the pay offs they want. For more on that see The Circle of Violence.

  1. He Talks At Length.

He talks at length and interestingly about himself. You share a common interest – him.

  1. Past Relationships.

The women who he’s had relationships with in the past didn’t understand him and let him down or behaved badly. (Be afraid.) If at all possible, you want to meet these women and hear their point of view. If he can badmouth them, can you be sure you won’t be next?

  1. Bad Family Terms.

His relationship with his family has broken down. They may have let him down too.

  1. He’s Secretive.

There are areas of his life that he’s not telling you about. (Rest assured, there is a good reason for that.)

  1. Has A History.

He’s got a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse, and possibly violence.

  1. First Impression.

When you first meet him, there’s something about him that you don’t like. (You can do it the hard way, or the easy way. Choose not to trust your intuition and you’ll probably pay for it. Big time. Your intuition is there to keep you safe.)

  1. He’s All Sweetness And Light With You.

But he shows quite different behaviors with other people. (Rest assured that, with time, you’ll become ‘other people’.)

  1. There Are Odd ‘Blips’.

When his behavior leaves you feeling that you’re dealing with someone you don’t even know. (The ‘good’ behaviors that you like are his best – or courting – behaviors. The ‘blips’ are an indication of his real self and what the future will hold; increasingly.)

  1. Reluctant On Spending Time With Your Friends/Family.

He can always find reasons for not spending time with your friends and family. He may try to discourage you from spending time with them also. The more he can isolate you, the more power he will have over you.

  1. Doesn’t Accept You The Way You Are.

He’s not happy to accept you the way you are. (Maybe it’s because he can see all your ‘potential’ better than you can. Maybe it’s because, with his input, you could present yourself so much better to the world; in his eyes anyway.)

  1. Talks About Himself.

He’ll remind you regularly what a wonderful guy he is and how lucky you are to have him. (Although he might also admit that he’s a loser when he’s feeling low, or else to get you back on side.)


To avoid becoming a victim of verbal or physical abuse at the hands of someone who is supposed to love, protect and care for you. The first time you notice any of the above signs of an abusive man, put a stop to it immediately. Never do anything to make your man think that is okay for him to abuse you. If you try to put a stop to the abuse without success, end the relationship and move on because most abusers don’t change.

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