Third of Five Types of Abuse: The Sadistic Type

Domestic abuse is quite common in our society: it is to be expected that domestic abuse will affect you or someone close to you at some point in your lifetime. Being prepared to effectively deal with abuse starts with an awareness and an expectation that “people have issues.” This is why it is important to recognize the Five Types of Abuse (as well as the red flags for identifying a possible abuser).

This article explains the third type, the Sadistic Type. For information about the previous two types click one of the links in the list of Abuse Types given below. Being prepared to encounter and better respond to abusers will help prevent you and your loved ones from suffering a lifetime of suffering and torment.

For reference, here are the 5 Abuse Types:

  1. The Cycle of Violence Type
  2. The Controlling Type
  3. The Sadistic Type
  4. The Stalking Type (when not in a formal relationship)
  5. The Codependent Type

It is most common for an abuser to show more than one of these types. In fact, surveys indicate 80% of abusers multiple types. Most likely, the abusers will have a combination of abuse types, which will come together to determine their Abusive Character Type; which will be described in later blog posts and ePackets, stay up-to-date. The one common theme among the 5 Abuse Types is that a partner tries to control, abuse, and/or cause disharmony for the person that is the focus of their attention, whether it’s a current partner, or even a past or intended partner.

The Sadistic Type

Those that torture partners and children, inflict serious injuries, kill and torment pets, and at times commit murder, are known as the The Sadistic Type. About 50% of the victims seeking aid through domestic violence centers experience abuse at the hands of Sadistic Types. This segment of victims is at more immediate risk of serious injury or death than the others.

Almost exclusively men and dominant lesbian females, these abusers heartlessly inflict torture and abuse children and animals in front of their partners to create a state of terror and uncertainty. They perceive their women as property who need to be controlled with constant abuse and fear. The lure of affection from the abuser, as was present in the beginning of the relationship, is one reason the victim remains, despite the daily abuse. The victim also fears violent repercussion, to herself or others, if she does not obey.

Sadistic Types can't wait to find an excuse to punish. Punishment causes fear and the threat of punishment maintains this fear. Creating fear, as a way of controlling the victim, is their goal.

That means that Sadistic Types might engage in the most heinous of acts within days of a new relationship, picking up right where their last relationship ended. Sadistic personalities often forgo the honeymoon stage so common to Cycle of Violence participants and do not give in to guilt, remorse, or take responsibility for their actions. They simply control every aspect of their victim's world using fear, threats, guilt, torture, manipulation, embarrassment, and even the law.

My observations regarding numerous batterers and abusers regardless of gender, age, mental acuity, and sexual preference is that Sadistic characteristics generally consist of the following (not all of these need to be present, each of these are clues towards sadistic type of behavior):

  •  Negative self-esteem and insecurity issues, which they attempt to overcompensate by projecting false power, and the development of narcissism.
  • Belief in a traditional family structure where the abuser dominates their partner and forces obedience.
  • Blames others for their actions and inactions.
  • Pathological jealousy.
  • Belief that violent behavior is justified and does not need to be punished.
  • Holds hostages, i.e. withholding activities, transportation, the ability to communicate, a driver's license, or money.
  • Uses children as pawns - undermining good parenting, telling lies, picking up, moving, or dropping off children unexpectedly, and commonly holding children as hostages.
  • Decides what the partner can and can't do, with whom they can and can't communicate, and making judgments for them.
  • Always checks on where partners went, what they did,  and who they called and saw.
  • Punishes the innocent, to include children, pets, and bystanders.
  • Detail oriented and focuses on the rules. Although, their rules do not apply to themselves.
  • Uses physical torture, kidnapping, rape, and beatings (often for any reason and for no reason).
  • Has uncontrollable and unpredictable violent rages.

The difference between the Cycle of Violence Type (Type 1) and the Sadistic Type (Type 3) is that the Cycle of Violence participants help to create the tension and to forgive. Therefore, the abuse is not necessarily life threatening, as both the abuser and the abused have some means of influence. The Controlling abuser (Type 2) rarely uses unrestricted physical harm as a means of exerting control, and typically sees the partner as a person. On the other hand, the Sadistic Type lives to create fear and accepts nothing but complete control. They see the victim as an object, prey, or property, and not as a person. This diminished view of human life can lead to torture, maiming, and sometimes death. Sadistic personalities frequently carryover escalated behaviors from their previous relationships into present and future relationships.

Sadistic types and animal/pet abuse

Research shows a distinct association with animal abuse and domestic violence. 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims; 32% reported their children had hurt or killed animals. Please be aware that punishing pets and children, who are innocent and incapable of defending themselves, is one stage in continually escalating behavior. These heinous acts are usually just a precursor to more violent and possibly even fatal behavior.

What differentiates Controlling Types (Type 2), who rely more on manipulation, emotional control, and physical control, is that, unlike Sadistic Types (Type 3) they don't usually use torture, corporal injury, and harming pets and children. Not only do Sadistic Types use injury, pain, and physical force as a tool to create submit their victims, they are often just as eager and willing to punish and harm others for relief of their stress and tension, making this behavior exceedingly dangerous when income, job, or status are threatened.

One of the earliest signs that a person has a Sadistic personality is exhibiting out-of-control violent rages. Sadistic Types blame their rages on the victim and rarely accept responsibility. Unpredictable explosions make victims "feel like they are walking on egg shells, afraid to do anything wrong," which is exactly how Sadistic Types want their victims to feel.

Another early sign is the torture or killing of family pets. Since a pet is completely helpless, is unable to fight back, and cannot call the police or tell others what happened, this is their perfect prey. Harming a pet gives Sadistic Types a means by which to threaten and terrorize by saying something like "You could be next if you disobey me."

It also seems, with little exception, that the victims of this kind of abuse are essentially sincere, loyal, subdued women who try to be “good” partners. The women in this type of relationship typically blame themselves for the behavior of their partners. Starting out as real charmers, these charismatic abusers quickly take charge and use guilt, isolation, and obligation to control their victims.

Specific traumas that impact relationships.

Trauma can result in emotional, judgmental, or behavioral changes from what is normal. Specific characteristics often appear as a result of previous traumatic experiences that are not related to the current relationship or even mental illness, or long-term substance abuse. One, if not both, of the partners experiencing domestic abuse within their relationship will generally need serious counseling and mental support to heal the traumas created through their abusive relationship.

My experience is that each and every person in a domestic violence shelter has at some point experienced deep psychological issues or has manifested behavior patterns indicating severe trauma. Perhaps innocent, eager, and sincere at the beginning of a new partnership, in time, victims become obsessed with meeting their safety needs, show high levels of stress and anxiety, and harbor trauma much like veterans of a horrific war.

Abuse is a disease, passed from one generation to the next. One of the biggest problems in fighting abuse in our culture and among our friends and family is to recognize that many common actions we see are part of a larger picture, part of a pattern of abuse that begins to emerge if we know what to look for and how to look for it.

Literally everyone can benefit from a better understanding of abuse, please share this article. There is always a first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published