Abusive personality types & warning signs

Inside The Minds Of Dangerous Personality Types

Have you ever been subjected to emotional or physical abuse by someone you love?

Maybe you didn’t even know it was abuse…

Thoughts like “What did I do to cause this?” started consuming you.

He seemed to love everything about me in the beginning but now he tells me I’ve changed.

He says his behaviour is a reaction to me changing.

I don’t get it…

…I don’t feel like I’ve changed.

When our relationship started, it seemed like there was nothing I could do that was wrong. Yet now I feel totally consumed with trying to ‘get it right’.

I totally love this guy but no matter what I do, he is angry with me.

Sound familiar?

Here’s a clue about what’s going on…

In the early stages of the relationship, the abuser ‘idealizes’ his partner based on a fantasy that has moulded his beliefs.

He believes that he is entitled to a woman that will meet all of his needs, without any needs of her own.

Essentially she is a non human, an object, that exists to serve him.

Every woman he lures into a relationship fulfils his idealized fantasy – at least initially.

Your compassion, integrity, rebelliousness, intelligence, independence, the fact that you are opinionated, are all very attractive qualities – in the beginning.

Ok so WTF happened then?

Everything about you matched his ‘idealized’ version of a woman. But his backward hardwiring misses one important point:

You have needs & expectations too!

Abusive personality signs

Let’s Take A Look Inside The Minds Of Abusive Personalities

First & foremost, an abuser does not view his partner as a seperate human being, with individual thoughts, feelings & emotions.

In the early stage of the relationship he has idealized her as the love of his life – the perfect woman.

As the relationship progresses, she shows signs of having needs too.

She wants her partner to be reliable – just as he expects of her.

She too has existing commitments outside of the relationship – just as he has.

Yet the more she shows signs of wanting the same things that he is entitled to – his hostility & abuse increases.

Over time, she becomes confused over the ever widening gap between the rules that seem to apply to her, but not to him.

Unfortunately in the mind of an abuser, equality is a foreign word.

An abuser considers his partner to be inferior to him. He believes he is an authority on everything to do with her & without his superior guidance, she is nothing.

Any signs of retaliation against his dominance only serve to prove how unstable she is.

What is so wrong with her that she doesn't get I'm doing this for her own good?!

The more she resists his authority, the more he attempts to break down her will. Yet even when she gives in and submits, his control still increases.

What’s the story here?

His perceived entitlement to power and control over another human being – is insatiable.

This is the part that is so devastatingly confusing for many women. They believe if they just try harder to understand what he needs, his abuse will stop.

Yet even if she is practically kowtowing to his every demand, his abuse continues.

This is a stage that many women describe as soul murder. His coercive control chips away at her identity until she no longer recognizes herself.

I feel like everything that was me is gone & I don't even know who I am anymore.

His constant cycles of punishment followed by glimpses of reward, can pull her into a trap known as trauma bonding. Whereby the only person who provides her with any comfort or relief, is the person who is abusing her.

Over time he isolates her from friends & family, which results in her becoming more dependant on him for emotional support.

His unrelenting control wears her down until she is a former shell of herself. Yet she lives in hope that by meeting his every demand, he might return to his former loving self. And he often does briefly, sometimes after his most abusive episodes.

As you will hear in the video below, soon after the abuser commits horrendous violence towards his partner, he switches to loving apologetic messages:

All I do is love you... I just wish you knew how much I loved you...

If you've never been in an abusive or violent relationship, you might be thinking: That would never happen to me. If anyone ever hit me, I'd be straight outta there. Why on earth doesn't she just leave?

Here’s something you may not have considered…

The video is not about a woman in the early stages of a relationship. Do you think if she could go back in time & hear this 911 recording on a first date, she would have continued dating him?

Of course not!

Abusers hide behind a carefully constructed mask, until they are confident their partner is emotionally invested in them & under their control..

Over and over you will hear women in abusive relationships describe their partners as the most loving, attentive men they had ever met – in the early stages.

SEE ALSO: How Do I Know If An Abusive Relationship Will Escalate To Intimate Partner Homicide?

Let’s take a look at some of the abusive personalities & the tactics they use to traumatize their partners into submission.

Abusive Personality Types

Although every abuser is different, their core attitudes & beliefs are similar:

  • They don’t respect their partners or consider them to be equals.
  • They believe their partner is a possession/rightfully owned property.
  • They are entitled to male privilege.
  • They have little regard for the impact their behaviour has on others.
  • They thrive on power & control.

Signs of an abuser relationship

The Demand Man – You Were Put On This Planet To Cater To My Needs


I am highly entitled and have very little sense of compromise. Everything is about my needs & your responsibilities. If you mention anything to do with me not meeting my responsibilities, I will twist the conversation back to your shortcomings.

My contributions to the relationship are grossly over exaggerated. I keep mental lists of every single thing I have ever done for you & expect you to return my efforts 10 fold. If I show you kindness, you owe me.

When I am supportive or kind it’s on my terms. I will support you when & if I feel like it. Or when I feel the need to prove that I’m a good person that you should be grateful for.

Your life should revolve around me. If you don’t cater to my every need I become enraged. I will punish you for inconveniencing me. If you have needs of your own that conflict with my needs, you’re a bitch.

I am infuriated if you demand anything of me, even if it is something I am responsible for taking care of. If you ask me to pay money I owe you or clean up after myself, I will berate and degrade you.

Abusive personality red flags

Mr Right – I’m An Authority On Everything


I consider myself the ultimate authority on every subject on the planet. I am Mr always right. The fact that you have experience or a university degree on the subject at hand & I don’t, is irrelevant. I am still the authority.

I need to save you from your own idiocy. I will do you a huge favour by emptying your head of your own thoughts, and replacing them with my brilliant pearls of wisdom. You should be grateful that I’ve saved you from yourself.

When you disagree with me, I see that as proof of your stupidity. I know you better than you know yourself. I continually define your thoughts e.g. you think money grows on trees. Even if you never actually said that, I know that is what you think, so you’re a bitch.

If your opinion doesn’t agree with mine, my tone will be condescending and arrogant. When you argue with me, I will ridicule & discredit your perspective so that I don’t have to deal with it.

Domestic abuser

The Water Torturer – Seemingly Calm Yet Incredibly Cruel


I don’t raise my voice during an argument. I stay calm while using covert tactics that make you feel stupid. I make cruel cutting remarks, with a dose of sarcasm & a smirk on my face as you squirm.

The fact that you are at boiling point, yelling at me or crying, proves that you are the abusive one and not me. You’re impossible to reason with. You’re the one who is hysterical, not me.

You will find it impossible to explain his behaviour to friends, family or neighbours, because his covert abuse is invisible to the outside world. People will ask why you always seem to explode at him when he is always so calm.

I don’t last long in a domestic abuse program as I don’t tolerate an environment where the counselors recognise my abusive manoeuvres. These people are as crazy as you are!

Domestic abuser personality

The Drill Sergeant – Taking Control To It’s Extreme


The Drill Sergeant will try and run every aspect of his partners life, and takes controlling behaviour to its extreme. He will dictate where she goes, who she sees and what she wears. He will likely be monitoring her every move, including checking her phone & computer. He may also install hidden cameras and tracking devices.

He is often violently jealous and continually accuses his partner of cheating on him. His verbal assaults may include extremely derogatory remarks about females in general. E.g. “all women are whores.” Yet more often than not, I am the one who is cheating

Sooner or later I will become physically violent. I am capable of causing severe injury. If you challenge me or defy me, I will terrify or harm you until I’m satisfied you won’t dare stand up to me again.

If your partner is a Drill Sergeant, you are in a very dangerous relationship. He requires total compliance and believes his partner is his possession. Leaving him can be hard and requires careful planning and safety measures.

Emotional mind games

Mr Sensitive – No One Will Ever Believe I’m Abusing You


In contrast to the Drill Sergeant, Mr Sensitive presents himself as the ultimate ‘new age’ guy. He is like the dream come true. He is not like any of the other men out there as he speaks the lingo of self help, fighting for change, inequality & appears to be introspective.

The way I abuse you is through endlessly accusing you of hurting my feelings. You need to be constantly focused on my emotional injuries & when you hurt me, your apology won’t be accepted.

When your feelings are hurt, I will bombard you with new age jargon. “Are you grounded and speaking from your heart?” or “did you remember to let go of judgement?”, “breathe and remember we attract what we think.” However none of these ‘throw away’ new age lines apply to him.

I am one of the most covert of all abusers, as to the outside world I appear to be the dream, sensitive, new age guy. Hey I even shed tears in front of people to prove it! If I do physically assault you, nobody will believe you as the outside world can see how gentle I am.

If you take me to counselling, I will easily have the therapist duped that you are the one with deep seated issues.

Dating abuser

The Player – I Can’t Get Enough Of You


My good looks & physical attractiveness make me very appealing. In the early stages of the relationship I will make you feel incredibly desirable & loved. I want to spend as much time in bed as possible, and boy do I know how to turn you on.

Over time, you’ll notice that my sexual desire for you is dropping off and I don’t seem to be ‘into you’ anymore. I start to make it obvious that I’m looking at other women who walk by. And I will openly flirt with women in front of you.

Most of my interactions with women that I find attractive will have some sort of sexual undercurrent. Eventually you will start to feel suspicious that I’m sleeping with other women. But like most abusers, I am masterful at manipulation and will soon have you wrongfully angry at the other women I am deceiving.

In the beginning I couldn’t wait to become exclusive and commit to you. But out of nowhere, I have this list of stories of how afraid I am because of how I’ve been hurt in the past. But the truth is, I don’t want any woman restricting my freedom. Sexual exploitation makes me feel like gods gift to women.

Violent relationship

Rambo – Your Knight In Shining Armour Until I Become Violent


Rambo thrives on the sensation of intimidating people. He is aggressive with everybody, not just his partner. He has a warped “macho” view of what a man is supposed to be & sees women as fragile & inferior. Protecting them makes him feel like a gallant knight.

He is black & white with little patience for indecision or weakness. He often has a criminal record for violence, driving under the influence, drugs, tax avoidance or theft.

His feigned fearlessness can make him particularly attractive to women who have already experienced violence or abuse. During the initial stages of the relationship I will be attentive, loving & protective. Yet it’s only a matter of time before the one person you will need protection from, is me.

In some cases Rambo has a cluster B personality disorder (Narcissism, Psychopathy, Sociopath). If he suffers from abnormal psychology, this will often go undetected in a domestic abuse reform program. His view of femininity equaling weakness may indicate he is a repressed homosexual.

Personality traits of an abusive man

The Victim – If You Don’t Kowtow To Me You’re Abusive


The Victim will tell a woman endless tales of how he has always given more than he has taken. He tells persuasive stories of how his desire to help people has backfired. Everyone seems to misunderstand my giving nature.

I have been tragically mistreated by people in general, but more importantly, my ex. After everything I did for her, all as she wants is control. She is so power hungry she is trying to restrict me from seeing my own children, can you believe that…?

The Victim’s heartbreaking stories can easily appeal to his new partners sense of compassion, and her tendency to want to make things right. His sob stories may result in her joining forces against his *so called evil* ex.

Like all abusers, at some stage in the future I will be saying these very same things about you. I don’t respect women and because you too won’t kowtow to my every demand, I am a victim of your abuse. My next partner will also be convinced of how badly you treated me, and I will tell the same story over & over with every partner…

Warning signs of a dangerous man

The Terrorist – Just You Wait & See What I ‘Might’ Do To You


I am highly controlling & sadistic. You are terrified of me, even though I might not have been physically violent towards you. I will terrorise you with veiled statements on how I could end your life in any given moment. This level of terror ensures you won’t dare cheat on me or leave me.

Unlike other abusers, you might not be tip toeing around working out how to avoid my physical violence.
But my bizarre behaviour will constantly remind you that if you dare step out of line, I will have no hesitation in carrying out my threats.

Cruelty is thrilling to me and I get an adrenaline rush from your fear. I often won’t let you know what it is you need to do to avoid my gruesome threats. I enjoy the power rush of having you squirming in terror.

“My love I will never shoot you, I will always use a machete. Because you’re worthy of that.”

Read Charley’s story on the type of abusive tactics The Terrorist uses here.

I talk to women who say; ‘Oh, the first time a guy hits me, I’m out of there.’ Well, it doesn’t start that way. What happens is, he throws a tea kettle or a microwave across the room & intentionally misses me. So now I know the threat of his control is at any time he could lose it, and I could receive the violence.

The Terrorist has serious psychological problems that cannot be reformed by a domestic abuse program or counselling. He has often been severely abused during childhood. Leaving him requires careful safety planning as he is likely to track, threaten & stalk his partner for some time.

The abusive personality types are examples of the beliefs & tactics various abusers use

Your partner may be so unpredictable, you can’t put your finger on where he fits. He might switch between being Rambo one day & Mr Sensitive the next.

The fact that he doesn’t fit any specific type, does not mean your partner is not as harmful as the rest. Abusers are masterful at causing confusion in order to keep their partners off balance. Keeping you guessing is just one more form of control.

Note: Although we emphasised more violent tendencies in some personalities over others, all abusers have the potential for violence.

Both attempted & completed homicides have been committed by men who were not previously physically violent towards their partners. In these cases, the level of stalking was often overlooked as a potentially lethal warning sign.

If you feel you are in danger, please contact your national domestic violence hotline for help with leaving safely.

Over to you…

Have you experienced any of the tactics or personality types mentioned above? Or have you dealt with an abuser who is a mixture?

Please share this post on your social networks to help other women understand that abuse is never their fault, and they are not crazy.

Caution: If you are still in a relationship with your abuser, please be very careful of what you share online & the footprints you leave in your search history.



  • Kim unknown
    Posted at 13:28h, 01 March Reply

    Omg what if a man has every trait listed?

  • Maree-Claire Poggioli
    Posted at 08:27h, 08 July Reply

    Is this an abbreviation of Lundy Bancroft’s ‘why does he do that?’ – it summarises part I of his book very well and is visually very to absorb. Which is great, because most people don’t have the time or opportunity to read whole books these days no matter how much we’d like to or need to. That book changed my life, so it’s great to see the message getting out out there.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 17:56h, 25 July Reply

    Unfortunately, everything sounds like a fiction novel but it’s reality. I was with a person with all the characteristics listed above. All I can say is that if you do leave they always find a way to hurt you with hurtful comments and what makes it harder is when you have children together.

  • Regina
    Posted at 14:46h, 11 August Reply

    I never heard of abusers in personality traits like this and this is something new to me so I’m going to have to network and read up on this new thing.

    I know what it’s like to be with every abusive personality in this article and I am recovering from another narcissist abusive relationship and this is my 3rd one.

    My last I left my narcissist x boyfriend and he’s giving me the silent treatment and I am glad cause that means I can have some peace of mind and time for me and I don’t want him back and I am ready to do me for once in my life.

    I have a long road ahead of me to heal myself from narcissist and everything else that has affected me and if you’re in a abusive relationship please get out and help yourself cause you’re stronger than you know.

  • Jane
    Posted at 08:33h, 14 August Reply

    What if there are multiple signs and the abuser is your son.

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