This summary of the characteristics of victims and offenders is to broadly define what is typically meant when talking about survivors of abuse. Not all victims or offenders have any of these characteristics; many have some characteristics; a few have all characteristics. As I build my blog posts for Here Women Talk, I’m trying to start a foundation for clarity of upcoming content.


  • Loyal
  • Socially isolated
  • Low self esteem
  • Believes traditional stereotypes
  • Often compliant with trivial demands
  • Suffers from guilt, denies terror and anger
  • Convinced she is responsible for the abuse
  • Believes all the myths about domestic violence
  • May have witnessed or experienced abuse as a child
  • Attempts to manipulate the environment to maintain safety


  • Emotionally dependent
  • Abused as children (typically)
  • Loses temper frequently and early
  • Displays unusual amount of jealousy
  • Has weapons & threatens to use them
  • Contradictory, unpredictable personality
  • Has limited capacity for delayed gratification
  • Drinks alcohol excessively (and/or other substance)
  • Commits acts of violence against people, pets, and objects

This blog post is for informational purposes only.

Prepared by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story