Motivations of Those Who Batter


Dorthy Stucky Halley, LMSW

SURVIVAL BASED:  Batterers who are motivated by this are commonly abusive when the relationship is approaching an end.  It is not surprising to find little or no abuse except when the batterer believes that he is about to lose his partner: then desperation peaks, with rage and terror.  This type of person is unable to imagine life being meaningful without their partner. They also cannot imagine their partner being with someone else. Suicide/homicide cases concerning DV are often Survival Based.

ENTITLEMENT BASED:  These batterers hold beliefs of superiority and privilege over their partner.  They commonly batter to punish their partner for "stepping out-of-bounds", or when expectations are not met.  There are two sets of rules for partners in these relationships: the entitled batterer has the privilege, while the partner has the responsibility.

SADISTIC BASED:  These batterers tend to use cruelty as a form of pleasure for themselves: they gain enjoyment out of causing pain and suffering to their partner.  Their sadistic ways are often unknown until long after the marriage vows.  Typical red flags for battering behavior are commonly missing in the dating relationship, as sadistic abusers are often calculated and cunning.


NOTE:  These categories don’t reflect the complexity of individuals.  It is possible for a batterer to have characteristics of more than one type.

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