How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?

The answer to “How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?” is…drum roll, please…You can’t! I wish that you could control how another person speaks and how they act. But you can’t.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked your verbally abusive husband or boyfriend to speak to you in a nicer way. Raise your hand if you’ve tearfully begged your verbally abusive wife to be kinder to you. Wow. That’s a lot of hands.

Did it work? No. At least not forever. The next time your abuser felt turmoil, s/he used their anger or sly verbal manipulations to bring you down again because you cannot stop verbal abuse.

Why You Cannot Stop Verbal Abuse

So, you want to know how to stop verbal abuse? I will give you an answer, but you're probably not going to like it. Read on for your answers.Verbal abusers gain control and they benefit from abusing you. By abusing you, they feel more in control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. When the abuser infiltrates your every thought, you’re more likely to do things and say things the abuser implanted in your mind. By controlling you, he or she gains more control over his or her life, too.

Your abuser knows that after verbally abusing you, you will react in predictable ways. You may cry, you may yell, but after awhile, you go back to them with an open heart, begging for them to love you. And every time you beg to be worthy of your abuser’s love, they get a self-esteem kick out of it.

Even if they are the ones begging you to love them again, they see your agreement as a win. The abuser does not compromise, even if he or she pretends to do so. Every conversation you have is either a win or loss for the abuser. And the abuser hates to lose. Therefore, your abuser will drone on and on and on until they feel like they’ve won. And the thrill of getting you back or winning the conversation is enough to keep them coming back for more.

Your desire for them to love you makes them feel important and in control. When you tell your abuser how you feel, or how you want things to be, or how much you love them, you give your abuser ammunition. By opening your heart to your abuser, s/he gains a little more insight into what makes you tick. When you open up, your abuser learns new ways to hurt you, and then files the information away for the next time s/he feels out of control and needs you to react in a predictable way so they can feel at peace and in control.

You can’t stop verbal abuse. You can’t stop your abuser from abusing you. They are too invested in you to ever stop abusing you. Your reactions to their abuse makes you an invaluable asset; an asset they do not want to abandon because they do not know how to feel good about themselves without you feeling badly.

More Bad News About Why You Can’t Stop Verbal Abuse

Here’s the next bit of bad news. You can’t teach them how to feel good about themselves in any “normal” way.

It doesn’t matter to them if you are the most successful psychologist in America whose focus is on healing families suffering from verbal abuse. It doesn’t matter to them how many other people think you are right or knowledgeable or deserve better treatment than the crap your abuser dishes out. You cannot teach an abuser to think differently because you are the target. The abuser’s self-proclaimed job is to make you less than who you are so they feel better about themselves. Period.So, you want to know how to stop verbal abuse? I will give you an answer, but you're probably not going to like it. Read on for your answers.

You Can’t Stop Verbal Abuse Because You Are Only A Target

Riflemen and bow hunters learn to hone their skill to hit the bullseye each and every time from the target they use for practice. An abuser learns how to hit you more accurately the next time – how to hit you verbally, emotionally, mentally or physically with greater effect – because you are the target he or she uses for practice.

The only thing you can do to stop the verbal abuse is to remove yourself from it. You must at the very least become a moving target. You can do that in several different ways. Some of you are not ready to physically leave your abuser, and that is okay.

Honestly, you may never leave your abuser. You may choose to stay in your abusive relationship for any number of reasons; I stayed in my abusive marriage for just shy of 18 years. If you choose to stay - it is a choice, believe it or not – there are still things you can do to help preserve your sanity.

The next blogs I write will present options to you. For now, try to digest the fact that you cannot stop physical, mental, emotional or verbal abuse from happening to you. The only thing you can do is change how you react to it.

Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out For It (Part 2)
Learn About Verbal Abuse So You Can Stop It (Part 3)
Set Personal Boundaries To Increase Self-Reliance (Part 4)
Develop An Exit Strategy And Safety Plan (Part 5)
The Signs of Verbal Abuse (Part 6)

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

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71 Responses to How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?

  1. Angie B says:

    Yes there is hope as long as you face the facts. FACT: As long as you stay in an abusive relationship the chances are you will continue being the victim over and over again with each time being just that much worse than the last. FACT: Staying in an abusive relationship sends a clear signal to your abuser telling them that you are staying because you accept the abuse. FACT: The abuser will pay no real attention to you telling them to stop the abuse, why, because you staying tells them otherwise. FACT: While there may be periods of calm in the abusers behavior do not be under any illusion that all is well because it is not, the abuser is simply recharging while analysing the situation so as to decide their next form of abuse. FACT: Abusers need their rest just as we all do but the difference between the abuser and their victim is that once the abuser has rested their aim is to make sure they are still in control of their victim and the only way they can do this is by topping up the abuse, when the victim is rested they will continue with their never-ending need to fix the unfixable and paper over the cracks. FACT: Your abuser abuses you because he lacks control over his own life and controlling your life makes him feel powerful. FACT: Your abuser can only continue to abuse you if you allow the abuse to continue. FACT: Only you can stop yourself from being abused so take control of your life before the abuse ends your life. FACT: Verbal abuse can drive a person to isolation, mental breakdown and even suicide so Get Out and Get Help. There is plenty of help and support out there and it’s not difficult to find so please do this for yourself…… leave your abuser and don’t look back. You deserve to be treated with respect, you are worthy of respect, and your life is precious so live your life without abuse.
    Much respect
    Angie B

  2. Pam says:

    I do believe people can change if they want.I am verbally abused daily,I’m beat down mentally,I’m at the end,I’d rather b homeless and have my dignity, I’ve left before and. Worse now than ever,I believe God has a plan for my happiness,and it’s not with him,GOD BLESS YOU ALL,NOBODY DESERVES ABUSE.

  3. Angie B says:

    Yes of-course there will always be those abusers who do change for the better just as there will always be two sides to any coin however the abusers who want to change are not the problem, the problem lies with those who continue to verbally abuse and those who allow themselves to continue being abused.
    In my view – and I’ve given this subject a great deal of thought over the years and through my own abusive relationships so trust me when I say I know what I’m talking about – To solve any problem means looking at the mechanics of the problem, understanding the problem, and making sure you look at the problem with a calm and rational view because if you look at your problem in a state of virtual panic you will only succeed in reaching a wrong conclusion. I know this may at times be difficult for some victims suffering with abuse but with patience and perseverance you can do this. It may be that you need to have a positive affirmation to hand so you can remind yourself, say it and believe it. “There is absolutely no way anyone deserves to be abused, no matter what”, ” I deserve better, I deserve respect, I am precious and I owe it to myself to be good to myself and good for myself”.
    Being and staying stuck in abuse is a state of mind and body in conflict, you deserve better and you owe it to yourself to have better. Understand that your abuser is the root of the conflict going on in your head because your abuser has conditioned you into believing you are powerless against their abuse, don’t believe it, it’s complete and utter bull****. Get shot of the abuser and I think you will find that the problem is 90% resolved but remember you must make sure you have your safe plan of action in place before taking that final step to leave the abuse behind. Put a time limit on it if it helps, do everything you can no matter how small to ensure your safe exit from abuse.
    For the moment at least you need not concern yourself with the abusers who want to change or feel that they need to change, you just have to let them make the change for themselves and allow them to go at their own pace. What you need to concern yourself with is focusing on yourself and your own situation. Stop focusing on your abuser and get to know yourself better because with understanding comes answers and with answers comes new beginnings. Understand that the verbal abuse you have been subjected to has caused you to feel confused, let’s face it who wouldn’t be confused after taking repeated verbal poundings to the head!! Snap-out-of-it come to terms with who you are and with why you are allowing someone to abuse you!! Understand yourself and understand your situation, then and only then can you make a sound decision on if and when you leave your abuser behind.
    In my view when I hear you say you would rather be homeless I feel sad because you say being homeless would somehow give you dignity! how so? Choosing to leave and become homeless may well remove you from the abusers reach but homelessness will only present you with a different set of horrifying experiences and I’m sure that if you think about it rationally you would be telling yourself that homelessness is not the right way out. You need to plan your exit properly and that means having somewhere safe to go to, having someone supportive to talk to, and most all being strong enough to resist the return pull. You have to plan your exit, stay strong and keep moving forward until you reach your planned destination, it’s called having a goal. God may have a plan for your happiness but it is you who has to do the leg-work so don’t just sit and wait, get up and get on with what you need to do to reach that happier place.
    Much Respect
    Angie B

  4. I need. Help. My husband is a register sex offender. He very mean. He talks so bad and nasty to me daily. I think of ways to kill him where. I can get away with it he comes. From a rape. Family. . . Mother had him bye her sister husband. I just. Need. Help PLS I can’t. Focus. I can’t. Get up daily to do anything post I’ve. For . Me. I need help. I want out. Pls. Help

  5. Yvette, if you’re thinking of killing him, you’re thinking of ending your life as you know it. You wouldn’t deserve prison, but that’s what you would get. It’s much better to leave him in the dust. Remember, you’ve made the homicidal thoughts public now. If something were to happen to him, eventually this post would be found and there would be a case against you. There is no way to get away with murder in the long run.

    Visit and talk to the volunteers there. They can help you find resources in your local area. Getting away, with both of you alive, is the best option.

  6. Julianne says:

    Very sad every day all day.

  7. Cherry says:

    My daughter was in a verbally abusive relationship. She ended it but has a baby with the guy. They meet publicly to do the hand over but he is so abusive with his language to her. My daughters 2 year old can hear all this too. We have no idea how to deal with this. Any ideas please… The police are not interested

  8. Your daughter doesn’t need to be there for him to receive the baby. You, or one of her friends, or a person from church (even if you don’t go to church, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a volunteer), or ANYONE else you can think of.

    You can’t make him stop abusing her. Verbal abuse falls under “free speech,” and the police CAN’T do anything about it.

  9. linda says:

    5 weeks ago I left my verbally abusive husband after 28 years….I am still away from him, renting a little place which I love…we had everything: good jobs, our own home, no debt , money in the bank….and so what? he drinks to excess, uses dope to help him sleep for shift work and has now spiralled back into the verbally abusive behaviour that I thought had pretty much resolved itself. I reflect back on the 28 years, some of which were absolutely hideous…most people I know have no idea what was going on and the things that have happened…I have organised to see him to talk about how things could possibly change…but I know one thing for sure: if he continues to deny his behaviour and will not seek professional help…I will not return to our home…I have had to face the fact that it will then be over…but for now, every day, I get stronger, happier, more peaceful…and I know I deserve to feel all those things that have escaped me for so so long….I can’t believe how many stories I hear that are exactly the same as mine….I finally realise I am truly not alone……bless you all.

  10. Good for you, Linda! It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you get out of the day to day abuse, isn’t it? I’m happy for you.

  11. Confused says:

    I’ve been married since 2008. I met him at church. Boy was I in for a surprise. Well that and a lot of pain. Mental and emotional pain. He cusses at me when I ask questions regarding why he came home so late (3am-is) he says he’s at church with the brothers cleaning painting etc. but the wards he calls me (fat, stupid, slut etc..) make me suspicious of him. So he also has no physical boundaries to women’s personal space. He sometimes stands so close to certain church sisters that their bodies touch side by side for more than 2 minutes. He reaches over to squeeze the cheeks of a child held by her mother while his arms brushes against the mothers breast as he’s standing very closely to her. He goes to a table of female teenagers (16-19year old) and takes their book they are reading, then reads some out loud and puts it back brushing his arm and hand against the oldest one while standing closely behind her. When I mention this he attacks me calling me crazy telling me I’m going to go to hell for accusing him. Where I grew up a married man don’t do that to women. He says Asian culture is physically close to others. I feel like leaving but I love him. I am so confused. Please help.

  12. Avon says:

    I’m a verbal abuser and I want to stop. This article is scary. Do I have any chance to stop being verbally abusive? I desperately want to stop.

  13. Of course you can stop it. If you couldn’t admit to it (or didn’t want to change) that would be a different story. But you want to change! YAY! My business is in helping victims of verbal abuse, so I admit to not knowing what to tell you to do exactly. However, when I was in my abusive marriage, I found myself yelling at my children. A lot. The looks on their faces told me I was hurting them, so I was verbally abusive. Awareness of how I’d changed and the bad feelings that went along with it helped me to stop yelling.

    I understand you’re saying you do more than yelling. Even so, awareness of your problem is the first step. I can’t tell by your name if you’re male or female, but it doesn’t really matter. The book, “The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?” by Patricia Evans would help you arrange a contract with the person you’re hurting most – an agreement of what will not happen anymore. There’s more to it, but I recommend it as a place to start.

    I’m happy for you. Although you may be feeling anxious and worried, you’re on the right track. Oh – enlist the help of a therapist. Your behavior can change more quickly with professional guidance. Also, look into cognitive behavior therapy. That kind of therapy is a problem:solution type of thing, so it could benefit you.

    All my best,
    Kellie Jo Holly

  14. Eric says:

    I too am an abuser in desperate need of change. I realize after the heated moments are over and I have time to self reflect just how horrible and out of control I had just become after promises of trying harder not to be that man…….or how it really is, king baby. I know that I just feel bad about me ultimately in some cases. I know that I really love her and she deserves better. She will always be in and have my heart like no one else can so I’m ok with her leaving me. I don’t blame her. Thanks for the insight from all of you and I hope and pray to find my cure. God’s a good start for me and I need advise or I wouldn’t be here.

  15. Luvon says:

    I search “How to stop verbal abuse” out of curiosity, because deep down, I really know that I cannot stop verbal abuse. This is actually the first page I came across and wow, it provides so much insight. I can’t say this any differently – but it’s relieving to me to see that so many others are experiencing quite similar situations that I have/am.
    Yes I spoke past and present there – you see, I left my marital home on Mar. 23rd after 6 plus years of verbal abuse ended in my husband telling me on Mar. 22nd that I better leave fast before he has to chop me up. Subsequent to that, about 6 weeks before he started keeping a machete behind our front door. I was totally ignorant of the purpose, and wondered if perhaps he had seen a snake in the house etc. I never, never, never thought he would reach the point of talking like that.
    You can only imagine the level of nasty, manipulative, angry, offensive words that he has used to describe me. He used to drink heavily also, and had even starting cursing me and others (all a past way of life for him years ago).
    Now that I’ve left, the verbal abuse continues. He communicates through my dad. My dad is an ex-police and has a manner of keeping people calm. So he has taken it upon himself to keep my husband calm in order for him to send me money. To make a long story short, he has an obligation towards a loan we took out together in 2015. This loan deducts from my salary along with another loan for a car I brought in 2014.
    To my disgust, he called my dad on Sunday 3rd March and my dad put him on speaker phone. I was able to hear his tone of speaking. And basically this man has said, that he wants me to communicate with him or else he won’t be able to send me money.
    Now step back a minute…right away I think…but that’s financial abuse…withholding money in order to gain power and control. I must admit I got pretty angry.
    Previously, I had send text messages about important matters, but when he was overdoing the texting over irrelevant personal details about himself and his life and, what I knew were mere lies, I had to stop that communication with him.
    The mistake I made on Sunday, was to respond with an angry text, telling him that what he’s relaying about withholding money if I don’t communicate is financial abuse. A mistake cause he returned a text saying that he feels good now that I’ve texted him and he will now send the money. Gosh, I can’t tell you how much I chastised myself for sending that text….he won…he won….he got me to do exactly what he wanted. After that came texts from him as early as 5:30 am, midday, evening, night.
    He has been coming up with all sorts of things to try to manipulate me, from saying that past women in his life coming back around him, to saying that he has house or land for me to get my own home, and that he’ll pay one of my loans….he’s putting before me all sorts of things, hoping that I would grasp at one of his tricks. He has also been pressuring me saying that all he wants is for me to forgive him and he won’t bother me and he would continue to give me money.
    Like I have “STUPID” written on my forehead right? These things he’s saying aren’t new to me…they’re just some of the same things he used to say while I was with him, now being said in a different way, but obviously with the same motive.
    Besides the texting, there’s the fact that my life is now filled with fear somewhat. If he uttered the “chop up” talk before, what prevents him from doing it anywhere else. He knows where I work, he knows where my parents live, he knows where my religious meetings are, he knows my car. I am constantly look in the visitor’s car park at work, looking over my shoulders at the mall, supermarket, etc. I’ve left….but I’m under a different level of duress. I must admit I am experiencing a sort of inner peace, even though these new stresses he’s presenting.
    I come from a very peaceable family. We have a good reputation within the community. Even where I lived with my husband previously, neighbor in that small area, knew me as a quiet person. Therefore I am not interested in making a scene anywhere….but my husband will. He is a don’t care person. He is claiming that he has changed. Haahaa…in just over a month right??? I must be really have “STUPID” written on my head.
    Anyway, I can’t read hearts, only God can. I will never ever know what and if any changes he claims to make are sincere and true. I cannot see myself returning to a person that has been know to twist truths and formulate lies. He’s made quite an impacting history for himself. Anyone who falls for his presentation of mildness and change at this time….well, what can I say. Actually, I won’t say. I’m not really giving anyone much details about him because my parents and his mother already knows the individual. By the way, he has cursed and abused his own mother many times also.
    Ah this comment way too long…I’m outta hear. Just had to share my story, but anyone has any suggestions to offer me, I’m all ears. Just don’t tell me to give him another chance…BEEN THERE, DONE THAT way too many times. Chao!

  16. Luvon says:

    Wrote previously that I left my marital home in March. Correction…it was on February 23rd 2016, and it was on Feb. 22nd that my husband spoke the “chop up” talk. Byeeeeee!

  17. Luvon says:

    I wrote earlier that I left marital home in March. But correction that it was on February 23rd 2016. My husband spoke the “chop up” talk on February 22nd. Byeeeee!!!

  18. Luvon says:

    Drats…I got all my months incorrect in my first comment. I do not see an edit button. Even 3rd March should be just a couple days ago…it should read 3rd April that I heard the phone call about withholding money if I don’t communicate. Sorry, apparently my head’s a bit screwed today. My apologies.

  19. Michael T says:

    Watching OJ doc they listed 2 characteristics of a spouse abuser. 1) Shifting blame. 2) Pathological jealousy. I am a male and relieved to see someone has written an articl on women verbal abusers. My wife has shifted blame since day 1. Her behavior is her “mothers” fault. A result of her “ex-husband” who cheated on her. On & on. Then she accuses me of cheating. For no reason other than coming home from work 10 minutes late after a 50 min commute.

  20. SUE B says:


  21. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255
    Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

    Talk to your doctor about the abuse. If you aren’t on antidepressants or antianxiety medications, ask your doctor if they’re right for you. Turn to your children, neighbors, friends, and strangers at domestic violence support groups. Visit to find local resources.

    You’re too young to die. There are years of happiness ahead. You just need to reach out to people who can help you, not a blogger like me.

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