Signs of an Abusive Person

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some signs that may help you decide if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship.

Some Warning Signs of an Abusive
Adapted from Lundy Bancroft “Why Does He Do That?”

  • He/she speaks disrespectfully about their former partners.
  • He/she is disrespectful toward you.
  • He/she does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • He/she is controlling.
  • He/she is possessive.
  • Nothing is ever his/her fault.
  • He/she is self-centered.
  • He/she abuses drugs or alcohol.
  • He/she pressures you for sex or coerces you until you give in, or may even rape you.
  • He/she gets serious too quickly about the relationship.
  • He/she intimidates you when he is angry.
  • He/she has double standards.
  • He/she has negative attitudes toward the other gender.
  • He/she treats you differently around other people.
  • He/she appears to be attracted to vulnerability.
  • He/she has an attitude that they are superior.
  • If it is a man, believes in the inferiority of women.
  • The following are used by males against females in Spiritual abuse.
    • He appears religious and tells you how to correctly interpret Scripture and sermons. Belittles your ideas, thoughts, feelings and interpretations.
    • Misuses Biblical teachings regarding a “women’s place” to reinforce abusive behaviors.
    • He believes men and women are not equals and uses Scripture to “prove it.”

Other signs of abuse:

  • He/she retaliates against you for complaining about his/her behavior.
  • He/she tells you that your objections to their mistreatment are your own problem.
  • He/she gives apologies that sound insincere or angry, and they demand that you accept them.
  • He/she blames you for the impact of their behavior.
  • It’s never the right time, or the right way, to bring up things.
  • He/she undermines your progress in life.
  • He/she justifies their hurtful or frightening acts or says that you “made” them do it.
  • He/she touches you in anger or puts you in fear in other ways.
  • His/her controlling, disrespectful or degrading behavior is a pattern.
  • You show signs of being abused
    • you are afraid of him/her or are frightened by their temper
    • you are often compliant because you are afraid of their anger
    • you have the urge to rescue them when they are troubled
    • you find yourself apologizing to yourself or others for their behavior when you are treated badly
    • you make decisions about activities and friends based on your significant other’s wishes or how they will react
    • you are getting distant from family and friends
    • your level of energy and motivation is declining
    • your self-opinion is declining, and you are always fighting to be good enough
    • you feel like you can’t do anything right
    • you feel like the problems in the relationship are all you fault
    • you leave arguments feeling like you’ve been messed with, but can’t figure it out or explain why.
    • You feel inferior as a Christian and that you need to try harder
    • You have been hit, pushed, shoved, had things thrown at you or your things broken on purpose
    • You drink or use drugs to numb the pain or to be able to handle things at home