abusive husband

What are the characteristics of an abusive man?


[Characteristics of Abusive Men was summarized from Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman (2002). The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.]

What are the characteristics of an abusive man?  This is a good question for families, especially wives and children to find an answer.  This is also a good question for church leaders to ask and have the answers. Too many wives and children are silently suffering the effects of genuine abuse. Leaders need to step up and address this type of evil head on and do what it takes to protect the abused family members while calling the abuser to task and to a serious change of heart.

Here are the key characteristics of an abusive husband or father


Control is the "overarching behavioural characteristic" of abusive men, achieved with criticism, verbal abuse, financial control, isolation, cruelty, etc. (see Power & Control Wheel). The need to control may deepen over time or escalate if a woman seeks independence (e.g. going to school).


Entitlement is the "overarching attitudinal characteristic" of abusive men, a belief in having special rights without responsibilities, justifying unreasonable expectations (e.g., family life must centre on his needs). He will feel the wronged party when his needs are not met and may justify violence as self-defense.

Selfishness & Self-centredness

An expectation of being the centre of attention, having his needs anticipated. May not support or listen to others.


Contempt for the woman as stupid, unworthy, a sex object, or as a house keeper.


Seeing a woman and his children as property.

Confusing Love & Abuse

Explaining violence as an expression of his deep love.


A tactic of confusion, distortion and lies. May project image of himself as good, and portray the woman as crazy or abusive.

Contradictory Statements & Behaviours

Saying one thing and doing another, such as being publicly critical of men who abuse women.

Externalization of Responsibility

Shifting blame for his actions and their effects to others, especially the woman, or to external factors such as job stress.

Denial, Minimization, & Victim Blaming

Refusing to acknowledge abusive behaviour (e.g. she fell), not acknowledging the seriousness of his behaviour and its effects (e.g., it's just a scratch), blaming the victim (e.g., she drove me to it; she made it up because I have a new girlfriend).

Serial Battering

Some men are abusive in relationship after relationship.


Note: men can exhibit some or all of these characteristics and never physically assault a woman.

What do you think?