Office of the Prosecuting Attorney

Typical Batterer Characteristics

  • Low self-esteem
  • Believes all myths about battering relationships
  • Has severe stress reactions when they use drinking and abuse to cope
  • Uses sex as an act of aggression frequently to overcome impotence or bisexuality
  • Suffered from child abuse or neglect themselves
  • Does not believe their violent behavior should have negative consequences
  • Jealousy, often imagines mate having affairs
  • Tries to isolate victim from friends and family
  • Tries to control victim
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality
  • Problems with the law
  • Explosive temper, flies into a rage without provocation
  • Projects own faults onto mate; tells mate it is all their fault
  • Assaults verbally as well as physically: insults, name calling
  • Comes from family where violence is practiced
  • For males, may be more violent when female is pregnant or soon after she has given birth
  • Denies beatings or their severity, seems not to remember.
  • Will do whatever it takes to drive victim away, then whatever it takes to get them back: grabs the kids, apologizes profusely, sends flowers, cries real tears, promises anything (and knows exactly what victim wants to hear, "I'll go to church with you", "I'll go to a counselor", "I'll stop drinking", "I'll never hurt you again", etc.) Once victim returns, performance is repeated: whatever it takes to drive victim away, followed by whatever it takes to get victim back. (Wetzel, 1980).