Are you an abuser? The answer to this question depends on two criteria. Criterion #1: What is the intent of ‘your bad behavior,’ and Criterion #2: The ‘type of bad behavior’ you use. Answer the question, “Am I an abuser?” by completing our 20 questions Am I An Emotional Abuser Quiz found below.
You are an abuser if you feel you have a ‘right’ to control your partner, which then leads to ‘controlling behavior’
You are asking, “Am I an abuser?” An abuser can be identified by their belief in their entitlement to control and make decisions:
Conflict, frustration, disappointment, and isolation are not necessarily signs of abuse. These can also be signs of a toxic relationship. Abuse is identified primarily by the sustained effort to force, using a variety of methods, another person to abandon their free will and comply with the abuser’s wishes.
When answering the question, “Am I an abuser?” you need to determine whether your bad behavior is toxic or abusive. Toxic behavior is a flawed character that hurts another person, whereas abusive behavior is a sustained effort to control another human being.
Am I An Abuser Quiz (in two parts)
Part 1: Abusive Intent Quiz:
You may be asking, “Am I an abuser?” An abuser can be identified by the ‘intent’ that sustains terrible behavior:
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Physical Strength: “Do I believe that my physical strength gives me the right to intimidate or control my partner, to frighten them into submission?”
- Intelligence: “Do I believe that being smarter than my partner gives me the right to make them feel inferior?”
- Race: “Do I believe that my skin color or race gives me the right to assert dominance or superiority over my partner?”
- Gender: “Do I believe my gender should be the basis for exerting control or making decisions in the relationship?”
- Financial Status: “Do I believe that my higher income and professional success justify my making the decisions in our relationship?”
- Education: “Do I believe that my education makes me more knowledgeable, and therefore, I have the right to dismiss my partner’s opinions or thoughts?”
- Family Background: “Do I believe my family’s prominence or social status entitles me to undermine my partner?”
- Belief in Power: “Do I believe that dominating and controlling my partner is a sign of strength and superiority?”
- Getting What I Want: “Do I believe that it is reasonable to get what I want even when it is at the expense of my partner.?”
- Personality Type: “Do I believe my more dominating personality entitles me to control my partner and make the decisions in our relationship?”
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you are either an abusive person or you have the potential to become one. You are encouraged to educate yourself and seek appropriate professional help if needed.
Part 2: Abusive Behavior Quiz:
You may be asking, “Am I an abuser?” An abuser can be identified by their ‘bad behavior’:
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Cruelty: “Am I intentionally causing my partner pain or suffering, either physically or emotionally?”
- Insensitivity: “Am I failing to show empathy or understanding towards my partner’s feelings and needs?”
- Lying: “Am I being dishonest with my partner, perhaps about where I spend my time or money?”
- Gaslighting: “Am I manipulating my partner into questioning their memory or perception, such as denying things that I clearly said or did?”
- Arguing: “Am I contributing to constant arguments and conflicts in my relationship?”
- Bullying: “Am I intimidating or belittling my partner, either verbally or physically?”
- Threatening: “Am I making threats of harm or violence towards my partner, even if I don’t intend to act on them?”
- Withholding items: “Am I controlling my partner’s access to resources like money, transportation, or necessities?”
- Ignoring: “Am I punishing my partner by not acknowledging them, refusing to speak, or not cooperating in any way?”
- Physical assault: “Am I engaging in physical violence in my relationship, like hitting, slapping, or pushing my partner?”
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you are either contributing to a highly toxic relationship or you are an abusive person. You are encouraged to educate yourself and seek appropriate professional help if needed.
Recognizing these behaviors in oneself is crucial to answering the question, “Am I an abuser?” and if yes, I am an abuser, to seek help and make necessary changes to create a healthier and non-abusive relationship. Acknowledging and addressing any harmful intent and behavior is essential to prevent further harm to your partner and other family members living with you, such as your children.
Suppose you and your partner find yourselves in a toxic relationship, as with being in an abusive relationship. In that case, I encourage you to educate yourselves and seek appropriate professional help as needed.
True stories of abusive relationships
In my clinical practice as a professional couple therapist, I have met countless individuals who abuse and have been abused. I have come to learn about and witness abuse in the real world. The following is based on a composite of details found in my clinical notes.
Lily felt like she was living in a world entirely controlled by her husband, Matt. He dictated everything — from their activities to the music she listened to at home. Each time Lily tried to express her own choices, Matt would dismiss her, insisting he knew better. Her love for writing, once a source of joy, now seemed like a distant memory as her journal pages remained blank. She was losing touch with the person she used to be.
Her friends noticed the change in her; her laughter had faded, and her spark dimmed, but Lily always masked her unhappiness, insisting she was fine. The truth was, she felt trapped in a marriage that no longer felt like her own. Desperate to reclaim her identity, she would muster the courage to stand up to Matt to assert her own desires. But each attempt was met with a chilling threat.
Matt knew exactly how to silence her. He wielded his words like weapons, threatening to tarnish her reputation on social media. He warned her that with just a few posts, he could label her a “slut” and turn everyone against her. The fear of public humiliation and social isolation was overpowering. Lily’s attempts at resistance crumbled under the weight of these threats.
Haunted by the potential fallout, Lily felt her voice shrink further into the shadows. The idea of challenging Matt seemed increasingly daunting. What if he followed through on his threats? The consequences could shatter her social life and deepen her isolation. Tormented by these fears, Lily found herself retreating into silence, feeling increasingly stuck in a marriage where her voice was ignored and actively suppressed by the looming threat of Matt’s vindictive actions.
Cathy was always in charge of everything in her relationship with Andrew. She picked what they did on weekends, the TV shows they watched, and even what Andrew was allowed to eat. Andrew really liked playing basketball with his buddies, but Cathy thought it was just a waste of time and would get really mad whenever he wanted to play. She always told him his ideas were dumb and that she knew what was best.
Andrew spent most of his time trying to make Cathy happy. He missed playing basketball and hanging out with his friends. He didn’t feel as happy as he used to. Cathy often made fun of Andrew when they were with other people, making him feel embarrassed. His friends began to notice that Andrew wasn’t acting like his usual fun self, but he would just say everything was alright.
Deep down, though, Andrew felt like he was stuck. He wanted to make his own choices and enjoy things again. But he was too scared and didn’t know what to do. Things got terrible one day when Cathy and Andrew had a small fight. Cathy got so mad that she pushed Andrew out of their apartment and locked the door, leaving him outside. Andrew felt embarrassed sitting there for hours until Cathy finally let him back in. This made Andrew feel even more trapped, wondering if he’d ever be able to get out of this tragic situation.
Identifying red flags in your behavior
Recognizing red flags in one’s behavior is crucial for preventing harm to oneself and others. It is important to be self-aware and reflective to identify patterns of behavior that are abusive. By recognizing these red flags, you can learn the beliefs and bad behavior that need to change. You need to learn new attitudes and attitudes that are fair, respectful, sensitive, cooperative, and loving. Asking oneself the question, “Am I an abuser?” is a crucial step in this process. By honestly evaluating your attitudes and actions using our Am I An Abuser Quiz, you can gain insight into your abusive behavior and seek help and support if needed. This self-reflection benefits you and builds a safer and healthier relationship with your partner; it creates a healthier environment for all family members.
Are you hurting the person who wants to love you?
If you find yourself hurting the one you love and the person who wants to love you, it is crucial to recognize that help and support are available if you choose to stop. It can be excruciating to acknowledge that our actions or behavior is causing harm to someone we care about deeply. However, by accepting responsibility for our actions and seeking assistance, we can begin the journey towards healing and repairing the damage inflicted upon our loved ones.
Domestic violence and physical abuse
There are many types of abuse. However, domestic violence and physical abuse, in some ways, are the worst because often there is no recovery. If you are the perpetrator of domestic violence or physical abuse, know that you are putting everyone at extreme risk. Regardless of your intention, somebody may die or be seriously injured. A high proportion of incarcerated individuals are there because they have physically assaulted (or murdered) their intimate partners. Suppose you are involved in any form of domestic violence or physical abuse. In that case, I strongly urge you to seek professional guidance from appropriate individuals to protect everyone in your family, including yourself. Don’t let your legacy be that you were an abusive person!
Along with domestic violence and physical abuse comes at the same time emotional abuse. Regardless of the outcome of a physical altercation, the injury from emotional abuse will have happened. Emotional abuse can last a lifetime. Eradicating the effects of abuse is not easy. Regardless of the intent and effort, the abuser’s regret for their bad attitude and actions may not result in removing the victim’s emotional abuse injuries that they have caused. The best ‘Plan A’ strategy to deal with all this is never abuse! ‘Plan B’ is if you are abusing your partner — stop ASAP.
If you conclude that you are an “abuser,” know that you can change for the better
It is important to recognize if you are an abusive partner that, positive change is possible. Many men and women who have abused their partners have successfully transformed themselves into gentle, respectful, and loving individuals. Yes, it has required hard work and sustained effort — but it has been done and was worth it!
Some individuals wanting to stop their abuse can make the necessary changes on their own through self-help techniques such as reading books, watching videos, or observing others who exhibit the desired behaviors. However, for some abusive individuals, professional therapy with a caring mental health professional is necessary.
Therapy and counseling for abusers can bring about many benefits. It provides the potential for behavior change and improved relationships, allowing individuals to address underlying issues and trauma that may be contributing to their abusive behavior. In therapy, abusers also have the opportunity to learn healthier communication and coping skills, ultimately leading to more positive interactions with others. With the help of treatment and counseling, abusers can transform their behavior and build healthy relationships.
Outside help for an abusive person