The King's Gardeners Ministries
Reverend S. L. Gardner
Spokane Valley, Washington U.S.
- The Issue of Abuse -
Profile of an Abuser
The following characteristics
are found to be common to abusers. Taken from:"Battered Women as Survivors:
An Alternative to Treating Learned Helplessness" by Edward W. Gondolf
with Ellen Fisher (Lexington Books)
Traditional sex role expectations: Abusers tend to be preoccupied with a macho ideal of manhood. They feel a need to dominate and control women and often expect it as their right and privilege. They tend to associate feminine qualities with weakness and fear intimacy as making them vulnerable.
Communication deficits: Abusers are frequently characterized as lacking in assertive communication skills and appearing alternatively passive or aggressive in nature. They are more inclined to resolve problems and emotions through violence, as the male sex role stereotype would suggest. This tendency tends to add to the stress many abusers create for themselves and their families.
Poor impulse control: Abusers show higher levels of hostility than non-abusers. Their range of emotions tend to be reduced to anger, which in-turn is expressed primarily through violent behavior sanctioned by various male subcultures. Emotional tensions are typically suppressed until they finally "explode."
Low self-esteem: Despite the bravado that many abusers display, they characteristically suffer from lower self-esteem than non-abusers. They often feel that they have not lived up to the male sex role stereotype and consequently overcompensate with hyper-masculinity. They become emotionally dependent on their partners and consequently become threatened by the possibility of their departure. This is often evident in excessive jealousy and possessiveness.
Alcohol and/or drug problems: Abusers have a higher incidence of alcohol and drug abuse. The alcohol acts as a uninhibitor, intensifying abusive incidents, but it does not "cause" the abuse. Many batterers are abusive with or without alcohol and continue their violence even after "drying out." Some experts consider alcohol and drug abuse to act as a sedative for the emotional distress most batterers bear in response to their abusive childhood, sense of inadequacy, and poor communication skills.
Abusive childhood: The majority of male abusers have experienced or witnessed childhood violence that has left them with low self-esteem, poor role models, and sometimes traumatized.
Denial: Very much like the alcoholic, abusers deny there is a problem, and refuses to accept responsibility for the abusive behavior. Blames everyone else for making him angry thereby excusing his actions.
If you or someone you
know has a problem in this area, help is available for you! Call your local
domestic violence center for more information on anger management and batterers'intervention
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