According to helpguide.org, violent and abusive behavior is a deliberate choice made by an abuser to control the victim.
Here are six tactics they use to exert their power:
Dominance - Abusers have the need to feel in control of the situation. They make decisions for you, and expect you to obey without question. As a victim, you may be treated as a child or a servant.
Humiliation - Abusers continuously hammer at your sense of self-worth. If you are made to feel that you are worth nothing, you will be less likely to leave the relationship. Shaming and insulting you are weapons of abuse that are intended to make you feel powerless.
Isolation - Abusers like you to feel very dependent on them and so they may try to cut you off from family or friends, or prohibit you from having a job, or going to school. You may have to ask permission to go anywhere.
Threats - Abusers can use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to frighten them into dropping charges. These abusers can threaten to harm you, your children, family members or pets.
Intimidation - This is used to frighten the partner into submission. Intimidation tactics include threatening gestures, breaking things, or hurting pets. The message they are sending is that there will be violent consequences if they are not obeyed.
Denial and blame - “Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable,” according to helpguide.org. They do not take responsibility for their violent behavior. As a matter of fact, they will often times blame the victim for their behavior.
Abusers commonly abuse people they say they love. They do not go around acting violently towards everyone, but pick and choose who will be their victims.
They also choose the time and place to inflict their abuse. Typically, it is done when no one else is around.
Abusers can also stop their behavior when it is to their benefit. They are not out of control, according to helpguide.org. Many abusers give blows to the victim in such a manner so that they won’t show, and are sometimes not dealt in a mindless rage.