Is it possible to spot an abusive man?

It is not easy to spot an abusive man because his abusive behavior happens when he is at home with his family or alone and in private with his partner. Moreover, the abusive man may be attractive and personable in his dealings at work or in his social life. He does not necessarily seem angry. He may be always angry, yet on the other hand he may be charming, engaging, and articulate.

Some abusers obscure their violence with what has been called a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. That is, what most people see is a normal socialized individual who is a Dr. Jekyll, a man in control of himself; what his partner knows first-hand, however, is Mr. Hyde, an abusive beast, who is violent, cruel and controlling. This classic study of good and evil by Robert Louis Stevenson overlays easily with the case histories of domestic violence and abuse.

Very often but not always an abusive partner fits the batterer profile, and the victim makes excuses for behavior she knows is unacceptable. The abuser may be highly dependent on the very partner he abuses, and the thought of being abandoned by her fills him with fear, anger and rage.