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Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers

This page is an excerpt from:

Helping Children Thrive: Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers

Red Flag Checklist for a Potentially Unhealthy Dating Relationship

Am I in an unhealthy dating relationship?

Use this 2-page checklist to understand the early warning signs.

Red Flags in Relationships

Characteristics of Abusive Men

Control

 

Control is the "overarching behavioural characteristic" of abusive men, achieved with criticism, verbal abuse, financial control, isolation, cruelty, etc. (see Power & Control Wheel). The need to control may deepen over time or escalate if a woman seeks independence (e.g. going to school).

  

Entitlement

 

Entitlement is the "overarching attitudinal characteristic" of abusive men, a belief in having special rights without responsibilities, justifying unreasonable expectations (e.g., family life must centre on his needs). He will feel the wronged party when his needs are not met and may justify violence as self-defence.

  

Selfishness & Self-centredness

 

An expectation of being the centre of attention, having his needs anticipated. May not support or listen to others.

  

Superiority

 

Contempt for woman as stupid, unworthy, a sex object or as a house keeper.

  

Possessiveness

 

Seeing a woman and his children as property.

  

Confusing Love & Abuse

 

Explaining violence as an expression of his deep love.

  

Manipulativeness

 

A tactic of confusion, distortion and lies. May project image of himself as good, and portray the woman as crazy or abusive.

  

Contradictory Statements & Behaviours

 

Saying one thing and doing another, such as being publicly critical of men who abuse women.

  

Externalization of Responsibility

 

Shifting blame for his actions and their effects to others, especially the woman, or to external factors such as job stress.

  

Denial, Minimization, & Victim Blaming

 

Refusing to acknowledge abusive behaviour (e.g. she fell), not acknowledging the seriousness of his behaviour and its effects (e.g., it's just a scratch), blaming the victim (e.g., she drove me to it; she made it up because I have a new girlfriend).

  

Serial Battering

 

Some men are abusive in relationship after relationship.


Men can exhibit some or all of these characteristics and never physically assault a woman.


This material was summarized from Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman (2002). The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Additional Pages on Abusive Men

How Abusive Men Parent

How Abusive Men Affect Family Dynamics

Effects of Power & Control Tactics on a Mother

PDF Handout for Women

How an Abusive Partner can Affect you as a Mother

Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say and Do

More information on characteristics of abusive men can be found in Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say & Do


back: Principles of Service Delivery for Work with Abused Womentable of contentsnext: Power and Control Wheel


Helping an Abused Woman

Find more information on domestic violence and abusive relationships in these two resources.

Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say & Do

Helping Abused Women in Shelters: 101 Things to Know, Say & Do

Helping Abused Women in Shelters


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