Skip to Main Content

The warning signs of an abuser

Educational Resources

Nearly 10 million people experience violence at the hands of a domestic partner each year. All in all, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes (NCADV).

And the effects of abuse do not end immediately after an incident, or even after an abusive relationship has ended. Domestic violence can have a long lasting impact on a person, particularly in terms of their mental health.

If you suffer from a mental health disorder and you’ve experienced domestic violence, you are not alone. Contact Rosecrance to learn more about our mental health treatment services, and services for dual diagnoses (co-occuring mental health and substance use).

The Mental Health Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can have a major effect on mental health throughout a person’s life. Studies have found a connection between depression, anxiety, and PTSD and domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence may also have a high risk of suicidal tendencies or of developing a substance use disorder (NCADV).

That’s why it’s important to recognize the warning signs of an abuser. The sooner you recognize a problem, the sooner you or your loved one can seek help and find treatment services for addiction or mental health disorders.

The Warning Signs of an Abuser


#1: Jealousy

Feelings of jealousy may come up at certain points of a relationship. But extreme jealousy throughout a relationship is never healthy. An abusive partner may attempt to keep the other person away from friends or prevent them from going out alone. They may constantly check a partner’s phone calls, emails, or texts.

#2: Unpredictable behavior

Before any physical violence has taken place, an abuser may show signs of unpredictable behavior. They may suddenly become angry, and a partner may feel on edge, worried about what might “set them off.”

#3: Abuse of pets or other family members

If a person shows signs of anger or abuse directed at another family member, such as an elderly parent or a child, they are more likely to become abusive in an intimate relationship. They may also direct anger towards a pet, becoming unnecessarily aggressive regarding a pet’s misbehaviors.

#4: A need for control

An abusive partner can become extremely controlling. For example, they might try to stop a person from attending work or school. They’ll likely choose the weekly plans and even control the finances. They may even decide what their partner wears every day or how they behave.

#5: Outdated gender ideas

Of course, both women and men have the freedom to pursue any career path, whether business executive or a stay-at-home parent. But an abuser may make a partner, particularly a woman, feel as if they belong in the house, or are obligated to cook, clean, and/or be a stay-at-home parent.

#6: Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is often a precursor to physical abuse. An abuser might blame their partner whenever something goes wrong. They may say demeaning things intended to humiliate a partner in public, or in private.

For mental health treatment and substance use disorder treatment, call Rosecrance at 866.928.5278 to get started on the path to recovery today.

Get Help Now (866) 330-8729