Abuse comes in many shapes and forms. Those who are the perpetrators of abuse are generally individuals who mentally, physically, or sexually abuse others. But they can also be those who allow the abuse to happen to others.
Knowing the characteristics, as well as the types of abusers, can be effective in determining if you are dealing with them in your own life. Here is what to know about perpetrators of abuse, the meaning, and more.
What Is an Abuse Perpetrator?
Let’s focus on the perpetrator of abuse meaning. There can be a little bit of gray area when it comes to what it means to be a perpetrator of abuse. The simple fact of the matter is that an abuse perpetrator is anyone who either causes harm directly or allows that harm to be done.
In most cases, we think of a perpetrator of abuse to be the one inflicting the harm. This can be in a relationship where one party emotionally, physically, or sexually abuses the other. It can also include parents abusing their children. Caregivers who mistreat or abuse the elderly under their care are abuse perpetrators as well.
But the term can also be extended to those who know the abuse is happening and continue to allow it. The most common example of this would be a spouse or partner who knows that their partner is abusing the children but does nothing to stop this.
The latter can be difficult to spot and punish. In many situations like that, the perpetrator allowing the abuse to happen is doing so out of fear for their own safety. Learning the characteristics of an abuser is helpful.
Characteristics of an Abuse Perpetrator
Now that we know the perpetrator of abuse meaning, it is important to know the various characteristics that an abuse perpetrator may possess. The simple fact is that abuse is a major problem in the world. It is not limited to adult relationships; thousands of children die at the hands of an abuser each year.
The effects of abuse can be quite damaging and detrimental to the victim, whether adult or child. Victims can suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, and even violent tendencies. That is just the tip of the iceberg as to the extent of the issues that abuse can cause.
Unfortunately, many victims of abuse end up being killed at the hands of the abuser or taking their own lives because of the deep sense of hopelessness and depression that can follow.
This means that there is a need to pinpoint the characteristics of these abusers. Knowing what to look for can mean that preventative measures may be taken. For instance, if a woman can identify the signs and characteristics of a potential abuser, then she may not be so inclined to stick around should things become dangerous and violent.
Abuse perpetrators have several shared characteristics: low self-concept or self-esteem, believing themselves to be unlovable; jealous and distrusting of the victim; inconsiderate of strangers; a fascination with weapons; cruelty to animals; stereotypical gender or racial viewpoints; controlling; unreasonable; inflexible; explosive anger or temper; excessive annoyance or easily angered; manipulative by begging for sympathy, apologizing with gifts, threatening to remove financial support; quick changes in mood, going from happy to angry quickly with explosions of anger.
What Are Some Behavioral Examples of an Abuse Perpetrator?
To expound on the perpetrator of abuse meaning, it helps to have some examples as to what perpetrators would do.
Abusing power. A perpetrator is oftentimes looking to gain control or power over the pattern. They will use coercive tactics that are aimed to instill shame, helplessness, and fear in their victim. They will even create a “list,” oftentimes rules and expectations, that the victim must follow to avoid abuse.
Projecting Blame. Perpetrators of abuse will also deflect blame regularly. When they do something that comes into question, they will instead blame anything else for their actions. Most of the time, this involves blaming the victim. “I did this because you did that,” is one of the most prevalent examples of this tactic.
Losing control. Those perpetrating abuse will oftentimes lose their temper or have problems controlling their anger. They do this and claim that they “just lost it,” as if they can’t control how angry they get in certain situations.
This is used to justify attacks and show that, if pushed to a certain level, they will be pushed to a point where they cannot control their anger. This is meant to act as a threat to the victim, keeping them “in line” with the wishes of the abuser.
Abuse comes in many forms, and even those who aren’t directly performing the abuse can be perpetrators of abuse. If someone you know is aware of abuse and doing nothing about it, they are just as guilty as the person inflicting the abuse.
It can be difficult to discuss abuse in any way, shape, or form. Knowing what to recognize in an abuse perpetrator can be helpful for not only recognizing abuse in your own life but also when it occurs to others in their own situations.