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Part 1: Why Do People Abuse Others? The Hunter

Part one of three-part Series called Hunters vs Caged Animals: What is the difference between the two? Part 1: Why Do People Abuse Others? The Hunter

May is Mental Health Awareness month. Mental health is one of our more precious aspects of health. What happens when the mental health of another, a loved one, starters to fall into question? For my purposes, what about the mental health scenario when talking about abuse? Generally, people have difficulty understanding why other people are involved in abuse. Questions usually start with why do adult people choose to abuse others. And second, those who are abused, why do they stay in an abusive relationship?

Neither question has an easy answer, and no matter how much you educate yourself as to why people might make these irrational choices to abuse another person will not lead you the understanding you are seeking. Abusive relationships must be lived in and experienced before any of it makes sense.

Since I was a victim then survivor of abuse for nine years, I am qualified to share my insights into the two types of abusers I discovered: hunters or caged animals. As someone who is now deep in the thriving process thanks to the healing journey of forgiveness, the question of why I stayed will not be answered here. That answer is found in my book Pinpoint of Light (

What are the characteristics of a Hunter?

Today the question will be, In domestic abuse/violence, what are the characteristics people who abuse? I call one of these categories a hunter (I label for identification to know how to fight it). Do you picture in your head someone in camouflage, hunter orange, painted face, traps, snares, hooks, and stealth? Yes. This is very common. And you would be right as to all of that, (maybe minus the hunter orange).

A Hunter is someone who studies their prey; they know the movements, and they know the environment they come from and match and blend in. Hunters know the power and control that they have. They can lure their prey in with their chivalry, with their fantasy bonding, and with their outside image of being so well known in the community.

Hunters have power and look like they can provide protection. They are that knight in shining armor and will fight our battles and protect their partners. But ultimately, Hunters have no intention of doing any of that. Why? There are two reasons, 1) they are so full of pain, fear, and shame from their own experiences in their past that they made a decision to control their pain, fear, and shame. 2) For a few of them, they are truly psychopaths and can’t feel remorse for the acts committed. 1

Hunters control their pain and shame by controlling others. The control is emotionally, mentally, physically, or in any combination. When hunters are in control, they feel protected, safe, and can keep their own past from haunting them. Hunters need Victims in order to keep their past away from them. 2

What do Hunters Look like?

We know that Hunters will camouflage themselves and blend into the “norms of society” when out in society. This is his stealth. Things to keep in mind are:

  1. Hunters can look like the popular one at work. (They have power here too).

  2. They are well-liked. They have many friends. (They shower friends with praise).

  3. They are slick in their delivery. (They know how to really butter you up).

  4. They make everyone around them feel amazing (You do at first until he has you trapped).

  5. They have a story for everything (Their ability to lie, be convincing, and to challenge you at any question is a part of their power and control).

  6. They know how to entertain. (They are the life of the party).

  7. They love control. (They control, manipulate, and micromanage everything).

  8. They can also look like the “kid next store. (Innocent, maybe even look a bit of a victim themself).

Why Do Hunters Abuse?

For hunters, what is and where did the pain/shame come from? It is possible that they as children they were on the receiving end or at least observed (through a parent or siblings) the emotional, mental, or physical abuse. The result and consequence is that abuse is deemed normal in their lives. This is the unhealthy relationship that they attach to because belonging and wanting to be loved is a powerful drive—it is how we survive. They remember the terror and fear they felt as a child (when they were the victim) and They see abusers and the power they have.

They see the relationship between an abuser and a victim and how the dynamics of the roles work together. They start to make a choice if they are going to continue to be the victim or change and get the power they deserve and start to take control of other people’s lives. They do not want to feel that trauma, stress, pain, and all the shame that comes from being abused and having no control. You make a choice to survive and unfortunately, those choices can lead to more pain and shame causing a bigger problem.

Trauma in Childhood can Result in Mental Health Issues.

Being a victim of abuse can cause deep impactful trauma. The trauma can lead to anger management issues and “intermittent explosive disorders” or possibly to drugs and alcohol. The brain has been damaged in the concept of understanding and feeling love and will fight to survive when it feels threatened. Arguments and trials in life can be these tipping points that lead to the event getting out of control during arguments because they feel the pain in the anger. In the lack of control, they will use their manipulation, their mental, verbal, and emotional arsenal, as well as physical abuse.3

There is another category of people who abuse others because they lack empathy. They truly have a deficit because of possible brain damage, or because they were abused as a child they never developed properly. Basically they treat people as things or objects. According to Katheryn Patricelli MA, she states, “Such abusers cannot or will not relate to other people as people, choosing instead to treat them as objects. In effect, they confuse people for things. They treat people as though they were there solely for their convenience and do not otherwise have an independent, important life.”4

Victims Are Needed In Order For Hunters To Keep Their Past Away From Them.

This is the whole crux of why Hunters make the choice to find control and power in their life. They are so full of pain, fear, and shame from their own experiences in their past that they made a decision to control it by finding someone they can control. This feeds into the section of mental illness. It is not healthy to want to manipulate, control, and have power over another human being.

Hunter’s control the pain and shame by controlling others (emotionally, mentally, physically, or in any combination). What is the overall question? Why do they do this? When they are in control they feel protected. Hunters feel safe from their fear and pain. Victims are needed in order for Hunters to keep their past away from them or from haunting them.

The interesting part about Hunters is that many are aware of their desire to be in control, to manipulate others, and even of their narcissistic behavior and yet do it anyway. This is the true definition of a Hunter. It is a choice to hurt, control, and exercise power over someone else.

Red Flags of Abusive Behavior (Directly from National Domestic Hotline)

If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call The Hotline to talk about what’s going on:

  • Embarrassing or putting you down

  • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you

  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do

  • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing your friends or families

  • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses

  • Preventing you from making your own decisions

  • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children

  • Preventing you from working or attending school

  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening

  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets

  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons

  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you

  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges

  • Threatening to commit suicide because of something you’ve done

  • Threatening to hurt or kill you

  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with

  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

  • Preventing you from using birth control or pressuring you to become pregnant when you’re not ready 5

This is an intense list of RED FLAGS. I want you to have all the information you can have.

To wrap it all together, please remember that Domestic Violence won’t be the same in each relationship, and the rationalization that can happen is huge. However, the commonality is that it is about power and control. Childhood trauma can increase the need to seek control for a lifetime that they lacked it. If that is the case, Abusers/ Hunters many times to hide their own fear, pain, and lack of empathy will seek out the prey/victim that they can control the best. These are signs of mental health challenges and they should be seeking help from professionals.

Remember that abusing someone else is a choice. Hunters, they are out there. Watch carefully, know the red flags, and follow your instincts no matter what.

Part one of three-part Series called Hunters vs Caged Animals: What is the difference between the two? Part 1: Why Do People Abuse Others? The Hunter

Next week, part 2: Why Do People Abuse Others? The Caged Animal

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