Stump The Abuser

7 Questions to ask in an interview or first date and 7 typical reactions to expect from abusive personalities

Sarah Hummell
8 min readJan 23, 2024

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“I wish I could put someone through an interview or application process like a job before dating them.” I’ve heard several survivors say. Guess what, folks! You can!

Between my personal experience as a survivor of abuse, decades of working in a public-facing setting, encountering abusive personalities in the general public and the workforce, and as an operations executive interviewing thousands of candidates, I’ve recognized a clear pattern when an abusive personality is stumped.

Warning: This method is not recommended if stuck in an inescapable situation. I caution those who are involved in long-term relationships with an abuser. This will open up a huge can of worms. Only do this on a first date in a public place, a job interview with security close by, or a safe setting!

What’s important is not the answer to these questions or the questions themself. The most important sign is the reaction!

Most abusive personalities lie while answering questions they don’t want to answer. The best questions highlight the inconsistencies of who they are versus what they try to present.

Photo by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash
  1. What was your most recent random act of kindness? — I love asking this in job interviews, especially in the service industry! Even on a first date, if they have to think about it for more than a few seconds or if their last random act of kindness was years ago, run! Don’t even bother evaluating further.

I had an interview candidate answer this by describing a situation that took place years prior. He was forced to abide by a court order to be nice to someone because he finally had to pay the consequences of his actions. He even squirmed in his seat as he described it because it pained him to have to do something nice for someone else! This quick interaction made it clear that this man did not have a kind bone in his body!

2. How did that make you feel? -Most abusers are either not aware of their feelings or are so insecure they would never admit their vulnerability to anyone! Not even a therapist or their doctor!

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