How to tell if you are a Verbal Physical or Emotional Abuser

Abuse, by definition, is behavior that damages or hurts its recipient, so any recipient of your behavior can tell if you are an abuser very easily. If you know someone like this, GET HELP.

The profile of an abuser is mental, however, not physical. Big or small, male or female, Irish or Italian makes no difference. The profile is one of a controller and a manipulator who uses rage (not anger) or words to intimidate.

If you use your rage to accomplish your ends, you are not far from an abuser. If you use your rage more specifically to control or dominate specific individuals, you are already there. This behavior is different than someone who flies off the handle and is themselves easily controlled by circumstances; it is intentional, controlled behavior.

If you belittle and insult with the intent to convince someone to do what you want, you are a verbal abuser. When you are a child, this behavior is called bullying, now it has a legal name, and legal consequences. The behavior can look two different ways: either it is specific and attempts to cow the other person into submission (doing what you want right now), or it tries to take away any self-respect the person has in general, to make them dependent (on you and your decisions).

The manipulation and mental games are a secondary, support behavior to abuse. Typically a pattern of abuse develops: first the tension building, then a trigger and the abuse, next a ‘honeymoon’ period of OK’ness, then tension starts again. The honeymoon period is where most of the manipulation happens. The abuser will promise to never do it again, justify their behavior, act affectionately, etc. to keep the person from leaving or telling anyone. But what also happens is a mental conditioning, literally brainwashing in some cases, where the dominating person convinces the abused that either their behavior was acceptable or it was all the abused person’s fault.

So if you use rage to control, if you use insults to convince, if you dominate and put someone under your thumb, if you manipulate to cover your behaviors, then you are an abuser.

(This part is not on topic, but needed in case someone is a victim or abuser)

Anger management training is the worst thing you can give a true abuser; they will only be taught to use their rage and hone their abuser skills. What the abuser needs is 1) a desire to change, nothing happens without that, 2) counseling by a professional, preferably court-ordered, and 3) light on the situation. They have become good at creating their own small twisted world for the victim, but no one can fool everyone. When a situation is made public, immense shame usually follows, felt by both the abuser and the abused, but this shouldn’t stop it from happening. It is the only way to break out of the destructive rut.