Hidden Hurt Domestic Abuse Information

Abuse Victim Characteristics

Although there is no specific ‘type’ of person who is more likely to be abused, there are abuse victim characteristics which people in an abusive relationship tend to have in common or display. These can include:

  • Low self esteem
  • Emotional and economic dependency
  • Continued faith and hope abuser will "grow up"
  • Depression
  • Stress disorders and/or psychosomatic complaints
  • Accepts blame and guilt for violence or abuse
  • Socially isolated, eg avoids social interaction, never seems to be alone
  • Believes social myths about battering
  • Believes in stereotypical gender roles
  • Has poor self image
  • Contemplates or attempts suicide, or self-harms
  • Participation in pecking-order battering
  • Appears nervous or anxious
  • May defend any criticism of abuser
  • May have repeatedly left, or considered leaving the relationship

Although the above list is not exhaustive and may not always indicate an abusive relationship, many abuse victims show many of these behaviours and attitudes or change in some other, subtle way.

Research would also seem to indicate that victims of domestic violence have a higher incidence of alcohol or drug abuse (this might be prescription drugs rather than street drugs) than non-victims. According to Stark & Flitcraft (1996) women who experience domestic violence are 15 times more likely to have alcohol dependency and 9 times more likely to have a drug problem than women not experiencing domestic violence. Rates of misuse of both increase after the first violent episode. According to the British Crime Survey self-completion questionnaire: Home Office Research Study 191, the risk of suffering domestic violence is also associated with increased alcohol consumption for both male and female victims.

Another of the abuse victim characteristics is suffering from what is called traumatic bonding, where, to put it very briefly, a very strong emotional bond is built up which increases the more trauma is experiences. This is why so many abuse victims feel that they really really love their abuser - they are mistaking traumatic bonding with love.

If you recognise the above abuse victim characteristics in yourself, a family member or a friend, please consider the possiblity that they may be in an abusive relationship, seek further information on domestic abuse and consider calling a helpline.

Return from Abuse Victim Characteristics to the Abuse Victim

The long-awaited book from our very own Steve from the Hidden Hurt Message Forum as finally arrived!


Have you ever gone out with someone who seemed perfect at first, but ended up being a nightmare? Do you find yourself falling in love but ending up feeling disrespected and used? Would you like to make sure that something like that never happens to you (or someone you care about) again? If so, this book is written for you. There are lots of books about how to tell if you're in an abusive relationship. This is book will keep you from getting into one in the first place. Jerk Radar will help you see how a Jerk takes advantage of common cultural expectations and romantic myths to blind you to his true intentions. It will give you concrete ways to test out his intentions in the course of a normal conversation. And the Jerk Radar Quiz provides an effective tool to screen every partner for Jerky tendencies well before obviously selfish behavior emerges. Full of true stories from abuse survivors, Jerk Radar pulls no punches in exposing what Jerks do and why we fall for it. This is a useful, down-to-earth, practical guide to avoiding a bad relationship instead of recovering from one. Read it today - it just may change your life!

To order in the US: Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts

To order in the UK:Jerk Radar: How to Stop an Abusive Relationship Before It Starts

Steve McCrea, MS, has worked for over 20 years with survivors of domestic abuse and their children. He has participated in many local collaboartive projects on domestic abuse, and has provided community trainings on working effectively with domestic abuse survivors. He currently works as an advocate for children in the foster care system. He has volunteered for the past 9 years as facilitator for an on-line abuse survivor community, whose members contributed most of the stories in the book.


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UK National Domestic Violence Freephone number 0808 2000 247

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