5 Traits That Identify a Psychological Abuser

· October 13, 2017

The psychological abuser is not always easy to identify. There is a belief that the only way that people can hurt us is when they physically attack us. The problem is that we are surrounded by experts who can harm us without lifting their hand, giving us a push, or using an object. But they inflict as much or even more damage as those who physically attack us.

Machismo, bullying, discrimination … There are innumerable reasons for someone to feel the right to abuse anyone they consider as weak. It is one of the strongest expressions of inequality and, of course, it has to do with success and the rivalry which exists in today’s society.

 “Psychological violence makes you, as far as your mind is concerned, completely useless.”
-Ana Isabel Gutiérrez Salegui-

We can find them anywhere. In our family life, relationships, college, university, work and amongst our friends. There is no escape. They are out there and there’s no way of avoiding them. But we can identify them from their character traits. That’s why it is important to be alert and to know how to interpret what could be the true intentions of a person.

Although psychologists and scholars don’t totally agree about how to evaluate them, the psychological abuser is far from being mentally ill. In most cases they simply cause damage by demonstrating the power they have over the other person. That is why there are notable characteristics that define them. Here are five of them.

psychological abuser image

1. Intolerance and the psychological abuser

The abuser does not accept that there are differences. Theirs is the only world that counts and they don’t place any value on other people’s. In his relationships with the opposite sex he always considers them inferior to him. They are cases of machismo or feminism taken to their limits.


He treats others according to the way society treats them. If he shares their views, then he will approach them, but only those who identify themselves with him. If he doesn’t then he will keep his distance and will reject them. He is influenced by social prejudices. That is why he is often seen discriminating and being disrespectful to those who are different.

2. Inflexibility

The abuser thinks and acts as if he owns the truth. He doesn’t care about the views of others. He tends to impose his ideas regardless of the context he finds himself in. When it comes to making agreements, he doesn’t budge an inch because he believes that his views should be accepted.

A psychological abuser thinks he is the master of all situations and is always right. Others are always wrong and their differing opinions are wrong simply because they are different. He is a negative leader who always wants to stand out, manipulate and be the center of attention.

3. Black and white

Psychological abuser persona

For a person with this psychological standpoint, there only exists black and white. He doesn’t accept shades of any kind. This prevents him from forgiving and from taking into account the circumstances of someone who simply got something wrong. It also makes him simply unable to recognize his own mistakes.

This abuser is summed up completely in the refrain “there’s only one step from love to hate”. He perceives life as two extremes which, on coming together, can produce cataclysmic results. For him things are either good or bad; truth or a lie; you win or you lose. He reacts according to the way he understands life.

4. Hypersensitivity

They are the kind of people who have a hard time managing their emotions. When they fail, they find it hard to start over again. If, on the contrary, they succeed, then they believe that they’ve reached heaven itself all by themselves. All extremes are vicious, says the refrain in popular wisdom. But the psychological abuser looks favorably on extremism and even applies it to himself.

They don’t have any real self-criticism and yet at the same time they judge themselves severely, but superficially. They are prone to get depressed easily. And they often fall into depths from which hardly anyone will be able to rescue them.

This is due to their low self-esteem and it keeps them in a permanent state of anxiety with the tendency to make themselves out as the victims.

5. Charm and the psychological abuser

Psychological abuser face

While they are gaining their victim’s trust, they behave like the nicest people in the world. It is difficult for people around them to discover their true intentions. The psychological abuser is worthy of winning an Oscar! Their charisma amazes people and anywhere they go everybody loves them.

Even when they remove their mask and expose their true colours, other people (especially the victim), refuse to believe that they are dealing with an abuser. And their disappointment is so great that many will probably never come to accept the terrible and disturbing truth.

In spite of all these traits, the psychological abuser often leads a life full of suffering. His worst punishment is not being able to really love anyone. That is why there is so much loneliness and emptiness in their day to day lives. The abuser is, in the end, a victim of his own abuse.

Images courtesy of Chris Missety, Tree Sisters