Short answer: No. Mental illness affects about 10% of the general population and about 10% of abusive people too. Abusers are not “crazy” – most are perfectly sane.
No one can say your abuser is mentally ill without an official psychiatric diagnosis. Yes, SOME abusers are mentally ill, and some others become abusive after strokes, during dementia, while suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other medical or emotional traumas. However, the percentage of abusers who are mentally ill is the same as the percentage of the general population.
It may feel more comforting to think that your abuser has a mental illness. If he is sick or is diagnosed with a personality disorder, then it is easy to tell yourself that what the abuser does is “not his fault.” It is important to remember that YOU define abuse and you decide what effects your loved one’s behavior has on YOU. Regardless of the reason behind your partner’s abuse, YOU get to decide when enough is enough. You get to choose to protect yourself (or not) from mental, emotional, and physical violence.
That said, and knowing that my husband is not ill (mentally or otherwise), it is bone-chilling to realize that my husband abuses me WITH CONTROL. He knows what he’s doing.
No matter how disassociated from reality my husband may be, appear to be, or become, no one can legally say that he is mentally ill unless he is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. He’s a perfectly sane, controlling, abusive man. When it suits him. Most likely, your partner is sane, controlling and abusive on purpose too.
He acts crazy and I feel crazy. Maybe my husband isn’t mentally ill, but his behavior has certainly caused me to doubt my sanity. Is this crazy or what?!