Profile of a Woman in an Abusive Relationship

People in abusive relationship often have common characteristics and beliefs.  They will often:

  • Blame herself and take responsibility for the abusive behaviour of her partner; believe her actions cause the abuse, and, in some way, excuse the abusive actions
  • Tend to be passive rather than assertive in her interpersonal relationship
  • Be socially isolated by her partner and lack substantial support networks of friends or relatives
  • Tend to 'give in' as a way to survive
  • Have low self esteem; see herself as incompetent, unworthy, unlovable and may be ridden with guilt and shame; believe if she had 'gotten it right', the abuse would not be occurring
  • Tend to feel depressed and/or have suicidal thoughts or behaviours
  • Have injuries which do not match the explanation she gives
  • Be econimically and emotionally dependant upon her partner
  • Be deeply concerned about her children's welfare and support; and will frequently remain in the the relationship because 'children need a father'
  • Believe her partner will change because he isn't always violent, and is sometimes loving and kind
  • Tend to minimize the violence as a way of coping with the pain in her life
  • Prolonged use of drugs such as tranquilizers, antidepressants
  • The intermittent or continual presence of stress reaction such as tension, hyperactivity, headaches, insomnia, pain in the back, chest or stomach.


Source: Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority (CFSA)