Domestic Violence 101 - Signs of a Battering Personality

Warning signs can include but are not limited to:

• Firm belief in male privilege.
• Disrespects boundaries.
• Belittles others for fun.
• Excessively charming.
• Verbal abuse.
• Isolation.
• Jealousy.
• Breaks objects.
• Abusive to animals or others.
• Quick involvement.

• Past battering.
• Is easily insulted.
• Blames others if things go wrong.
• Tries to hide behavior from others.
• Sudden mood swings
• Threats of violence.
• Controlling behavior
• Any use of force in a disagreement.

Remember, you are not a counselor and cannot fix a batterer or the situation. These behaviors are warning signs that a person could be abusive.

Remember abuse is a crime but the decision to report domestic violence is up to the victim. It is always a good idea to learn about the mandatory reporting laws on child abuse and elder abuse of your area before you need the information. Find out what the hotline numbers are for your state. Keep this informaion in a referral list and update it at least yearly.


If counseling is needed for either the abuser or the victims always refer to the appropriate agency or mental health center. Victims may need emotional support. Abusers need to be referred to a Batterer’s Intervention (or similarly named) group. Research these numbers and add them to your reference list.

It is always up to the victim whether or not to leave the abusive situation. There are many reasons why a victim may not choose to leave. The victim is the one who knows the situation best and has developed coping methods to deal with an abuser.

Information taken from Clergy Training Materials provided by Hope for Healing.Org.that was written by this author. All Rights Reserved

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  1. Its a shame Calvary Lutheran didn't take your advice to heart this week. Its awful what happened, and I have to wonder how the end result will impact the counselor involved.

  2. Sometimes, actually quite often, we don't have a choice to leave. At least that's the way it seems. I went into my marriage, happy, healthy, relatively well adjusted for normal life. I had friends, a social life, money in the bank, a very healthy credit rating, a career, a place to live, and stability. I had hobbies and interests when I wasn't at work, and friends I got together with to enjoy doing things together. I was in pretty decent physical shape, and didn't have out of control debt.

    Then Earl blew into my life like a cat 5 hurricane. We dated for a while, took a year to plan our wedding and I thought we were starting something wonderful. My dreams were coming true, prince charming, a home, family, future, growing old together watching our grand children play in the yard. Walks in the woods, on the beach, cycling, romantic dinners now and then, an occasional road trip to reconnect. A commitment to not taking each other for granted and standing together against the world.

    Yeah, dreams. Pipe dreams of a delusional little girl who never grew up.

    I gave up, over time, everything. He took it all. When I was starting to think about killing myself, AGAIN, I knew something was seriously wrong. By then it was too late. He'd taken EVERYTHING and destroyed it all, and me. When I finally called the national domestic violence hotline I had NOTHING left except a mountain of debt he'd left me with. By the time I filed for divorce, for my own protection, I was forced to borrow the retainer from my brother's widow.

    I got retraining orders, the whole nine yards. Earl and his family walked right through them and continued to abuse me. I fled in fear for my life, because the violence had stepped up to promises to kill me for what I'd done to THEM. They used my Social Security Number to stalk me, track me. I didn't have a choice to leave, and I didn't have anyplace to leave to go to. He'd cut all my connections with the world, alienated most of my friends and family and wouldn't allow them to contact me. I didn't even know where some of my friends and family where, because they had moved.

    I didn't have a choice to leave, and no safe place to go. I wound up with my brothers widow (against mine and my therapists better judgement) because it was either that, or be totally homeless again.

    More often than not it is NEVER up to the Victim to leave. Because usually by the time we are in that much trouble the damage is so bad that death seems like the only alternative. So please, before you glibly say it is always up to the Victim, maybe, just maybe, you get a better understanding of what ACTUALLY goes on. Learn about complex PTSD and the role it plays in stripping us of our ability, or the resources, to CHOOSE to leave.

    Chose to leave? Where would I go? What would I do? How would I live? How would I survive? How do I pay the bills, keep clothes on me, a roof over me, insurance . . . and so forth.

    Commonly THEY control all that too.

    No Gayle, I'm sorry, but it's almost NEVER out choice to leave. Once they get their hooks in us, it's their way or the grave. Just ask them.