The Signs of Verbal Abuse

The signs of verbal abuse are usually invisible to the world outside of your family. Verbal, emotional and mental abuse eats you alive from the inside out. Abuse can do heavy mental damage and cause mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Those illnesses have visible symptoms, but after developing the illness, no one but your closest friends may notice. (If you still have friends after being isolated!)

So, the signs of verbal abuse are often felt instead of seen.

The Abuser Knows Some Signs of Verbal Abuse

To stop verbal abuse, you must recognize the signs of verbal abuse. Learn more about the impact and signs of verbal abuse. Save yourself. Read this.The abuser knows that some things you say or do in public could give away what he does at home. Abusers are very conscious of what they do to you. If they didn’t know what they did, abusers would fix their words and behaviors. Especially after you point them out. Healthy people don’t want to hurt others. Hurting others is how abusers survive.

Because the abuser knows what he’s doing, your partner expects you to be silent about the problems you have at home. Abusers want to project the happy family image. If you appear unhappy or talk about why you’re unhappy with outsiders, the abuser gets embarrassed (and mad at you).

Many, if not most, controlling people have an “adoring public.” People at church, work, PTA, in the neighborhood and in the community at large may think your abuser is the bees knees. The abuser often uses his stature in society as a means to further control and isolate you.

Who would believe you if you told about how he acts at home? If you thought, “No one” then your abuser has effectively isolated you to the point of despondency.

Your abuser knows some of the signs of verbal abuse, so you are not allowed to show them. Outside of the house you’re expected to be happy. To be a good parent. To have beautiful, smart, popular children. The abuser expects to see you happy because if you aren’t, people may wonder about the abuser. We can’t have that, now can we?

Symptoms and Signs of Verbal Abuse

The thoughts and feelings victims of abuse often feel are cumulative, built on doubt and humiliation over time. Verbal abuse is sneaky, hidden in the words of someone who says he loves you. It takes a while, sometimes a long while, for victims to notice how they’ve changed into a traumatized and pained shadow of their former selves.

There are some common symptoms and signs of verbal abuse that victims share. They’re internal and unseen by any outsider the abuser brings near his happy family.

  • You feel as if you are paraded about like a silent trophy when you attend group functions for the abuser’s work or activities. You’re afraid to say much of anything while out for fear of retribution for saying the wrong thing.
  • You distrust your ability to make sound decisions for yourself or family; you go along with your abuser’s poor decisions without much resistance.
  • You feel uneasy or anxious much of the time; you may jump at small recognizable sounds or feel your heart pounding for no understandable reason.
  • You do not get excited over much of anything; if you are excited over a positive event, then that excitement doesn’t last long because you begin to wonder how to present the news to your abuser in order to get the best possible reaction from him.
  • You think that you are crazy; you feel that you need professional help to overcome your problems.
  • Your internal voices are critical, judgmental, overpowering at times, and abusive; you hear the abusive words and phrases he speaks to you in your own internal dialogue.
  • You keep telling yourself it will be better when he retires, the children are grown, he gets that promotion, he finishes that project, after lunch, … . You constantly wait for the good times.
  • You believe that one day your abuser will realize how good of a spouse you’ve been and will be sorry; the abuser will do a complete 180 culminating in his admiration and respect for you. This belief is hard to shake because of the nice times in which your abuser stops his abusive behaviors long enough to allow you to think “It’s different this time” (a.k.a. the honeymoon period).

Signs of Verbal Abuse Change Into Symptoms of Disease

No one in this world can know what you think or feel unless you tell them (telling your abuser doesn’t count – he doesn’t care). If you recognized yourself in the list of signs of verbal abuse, then it is up to you to change your thinking. What you think is killing you.

If you continue living in abuse, you will stress your body and mind in ways so twisted that you no longer see his abuse as stressful. Abuse becomes normal.

Your abuser doesn’t have to work as hard to control you when you are preoccupied with thinking that you are good for nothing, not abused, and not under stress. If your abuser succeeds in turning your thoughts around to the point where you no longer blame him but instead blame yourself, then his work is a whole lot easier.

Chronic stress caused by verbal abuse or any kind of abuse can lead to or cause a number of physical diseases:

  • Heart problems
  • Immune system deficiencies
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Stomach issues
  • Sexual and reproductive problems
  • Lung troubles
  • Skin/Complexion issues

The signs of verbal abuse can lead to disease, physical and mental, that could kill you. It’s your choice whether you allow that to happen or not. Your thinking patterns feed your disease, so the best thing to do is change what you think.

You cannot change your abuser, you can only change yourself.

How Do I Stop the Verbal Abuse? (Part 1)
Reach Out – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 2)
Educate Yourself – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 3)
Self Reliance – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (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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48 Responses to The Signs of Verbal Abuse

  1. Sunny says:

    what is if your abuser is an licensed caretaker .. a psychiatrist? signs and symptoms are as written.

  2. Kellie Holly says:

    Abusers are drawn to the “helping fields” because their (clients, flocks, patients) automatically see them as authority figures. The brainwashing and verbal manipulation work much better and quicker on people who come to them seeking help.

    Find a new psychiatrist as soon as possible.

  3. Kaajal says:

    I’ve discovered after such a long time in my life that I was abused by my mum b4 marriage and to an extent by my brother as well. Through marriage it was my husband and a constant pendulum I was to swing to and fro, goaded by my folks to go back. I left him finally and came to my folks’ but things don’t get better do they? They’ve gotten worse here and my husband refuses to pay a single rupee as maintenance 4 our son or me.

  4. Mike says:

    What if your abuser is a woman. My wife is extremely abusive. It sorks. Because I ama man nobody would believe that I could be the victim. Our children, however, are very clever. I think they will not forgive her for beibg so evil to me and them… Cant take it any more after 17 years!

  5. Kellie Holly says:

    Mike, I know several people who would believe you are abused by your wife, myself included. Domestic violence and abuse is not only a man on woman thing and new studies are showing that women perpetrate DV in just about equal proportions as men. The thing that sucks for women is that they’re more likely to be killed by their abuser than a man is to be killed by his female abuser. That fact does not take away from the damage abuse causes to you (man or woman!). Check out Survivors’ Mentors – I’ve got someone in mind who could help you feel better and maybe even get the heck out of there!

  6. Julie says:

    Mike, my stepfather was abused by his first wife and he suffered the same as us women who are abused, and I often suspect much worse due to the stigma associated with males being abused. He was a police chief in their city and carried a weapon, so who would believe this tiny woman could abuse him? No one. Not even family. Her verbal and emotional abuse escalated over many years into attempted physical abuse and when he’d simply try to hold her off him, she’d call and report the opposite, that he was abusing her. He’d wake in the middle of the night to find her sitting on top of him with his service revolver pointed at his mouth, then when he’d wrestle her off him and take it back, she’d report that he drew it on her. And everyone believes the woman, right? He had a young son he was incredibly concerned about but eventually, due to society’s stigmas and doubts, and lack of support, he divorced her and moved 2000 miles away for his own safety. He feared she’d kill him if he stayed. He had to essentially start over in his career, but I know he’d tell you it was well worth it. He was then able to take control over his own life, regain his self respect and personal power, and move forward to happiness with my mom, new friends, and a great relationship with his son. I wish you all the best and do understand. I am in a horribly verbally and emotionally abusive relationship, and recently had my light bulb moment that it would never change. I’m now actively working to get myself out. My husband was not always this way, but his family was. He and I both prided ourselves on working very hard not to be like our dysfunctional family members, his having anger issues and mine having addiction issues. I never was tempted by alcohol or drugs, and feel successfully free from those worries, but he eventually succumbed. I am fiercely independent and no one who knows me would ever believe I’d end up in a situation like this, least of all me. But it happened. I have begged, pleaded, screamed, yelled and cried over the years as I saw the signs emerging, but it didn’t stop. And I now realize he’s too far gone and it won’t. It’s worse with each passing day and he’s trying harder than ever to totally isolate me from friends, family and even pets. He’s jealous of everyone and everything in my life. He’s certainly jealous of my strength. He began having life-threatening health issues about 4 years ago and I revived him on numerous occasions. I never said a word when he regained consciousness, but the doctors told him how my efficient actions saved him, and it seemed to fuel his behavior. He seems to resent me for it. That’s when things really escalated, and now his father is dying, and it’s escalating again. I fear physical abuse is in my future if I don’t get out soon. He’s already punched holes in doors and walls, destroyed furniture, etc. And he always turns it around on me, of course. Something clicked last week as I watched him raging out of control over something minute and inconsequential, thinking he’d have a heart attack at any moment with his veins popping out and chest heaving. I asked him to look at himself, to tell me if couldn’t see that his reaction was completely inconsistent with the situation? He told me it was my fault because I was “deliberately pushing his buttons.” In that moment I realized as much as I once loved and respected this man, all of it was gone. I am now married to a stranger, one that I don’t like, much less could be in love with. I realized I need to do whatever possible now to get my life back and be safe. His problems are his own and I am not responsible for them. He’s his own worst enemy and I’ve given him every opportunity to get counseling or whatever help he needs. I’m also beyond caring what lies he will tell his family or others about me when we separate. I am a strong woman and I’m getting out! I pray you’ll do the same!

  7. Kim says:

    I have been married for almost 15 years, and looking back on it, I believe the verbal abuse started almost right away. A couple of years ago, I had an emotional affair with another man who really made me see what was happening at home. Unfortunately, he had manipulated me too and turned out that I was just a rebound girl and he didn’t really mean anything he told me. My husband found out, and things got even worse.
    I’m miserable. I have four kids and I stay for them because I’m afraid of what their life would be like if we were no longer together. I don’t have the courage or the money to leave. I just finally started working part-time after staying at home for almost 13 years, but trying to do it all has left me exhausted and landed me in the hospital with pneumonia for a week this winter. I know financially I could never make it on my own, and I have no support system to reach out to for help. I feel like I’m dying inside. This isn’t the person I used to be and it makes me so sad that I can see the circle of abuse happening but I don’t know how to break free of it. Please help…

  8. tina says:

    hi everyone,
    glad I found this sure, its very interesting. I’ve recently left an abusive, mostly mentally, and just wondered, can this type of abusive relationship make your brain have some type of trauma? I ask because I just kind of lost the plot towards the end, my head was kind of making a crackling noise and began an affair, not even able to think of the consequences. people kept telling me what they would be but I felt away with the fairies. I went to see a phsychiatrist to ask her if id gone mad, and she said I was just fine. still worries me though, was it some sort of break down, I enough big time, relentless crap!! :(

  9. Lydia says:

    Kim I totally understand where you are at. I am trapped like you and feel like I’m dying inside. When I read your comment, thought I was reading about myself. My husband is being very loving at the moment because I emotionally cracked a few days ago and I’m very down. When I’m down he is happy, when I have strength he does not cope. He likes to be the Saviour. He does not believe he verbally abuses me. I am a sexual abuse survivor, suffering PTSD. I understand that victims are difficult to deal with, I’ve been seeking to get better for 14 years now, but I do not believe I have to put up with being criticized nearly everyday and yelled and and feeling like I’m walking on eggshells. I constantly fear that I’m going to get into trouble like a naughty little girl.
    I’m looking at all of my options at the moment….having just told a few very good friends what’s been going on for years….. Much to their disbelief. He is the good guy…everyone loves him….I’m seen as the problem, the one with the issues. It is the most heartbreaking thing for me to have to deal with….being misunderstood.

  10. Cooper says:

    I’m in the same boat as Kim and Lydia; however, my friends have seen it for years. I, on the other hand, always thought it was me. If I wouldn’t do this…he would stop. If I would do this…he would be nicer. After 10 years of marriage and reading this blog, it hasn’t been me all along. There were times he called me a skank, whore, he told me was going to have sex with other girls, and I would yell back at him and then I would apologize thinking if I was a better wife he wouldn’t say those things. Now I look at myself and don’t even see the person I was many years ago. I finally left and taking it one day at a time. There are times where I still feel its my fault and if I’m making the right decision but my friends and family are helping me through.

  11. Andrea says:

    I have been in an abusive relationship for just about 8 years. Just a couple of months ago my husband and I separated and stopped living together to give each other space but still work on our relationship and now we have been talking about getting a divorce. Things haven’t gotten any better at all. He is the meanest person I know- I’ve told him that before… I don’t want the meanest person I know to be my husband… So why am I still so emotionally connected to him, why can’t I just do what I know is right and divorce him? I have a strong support system in place and I will be just fine without him but I just have this overwhelming need to “help” him get better. I don’t think he realizes that he is abusive- when I say that I don’t want to take his abuse anymore he says “yeah, I don’t either” that just makes me so frustrated! He is very good at turning everything around on me to make it seem like he is the true victim. How do you shut off the love you still have for someone and the need to help… I feel selfish for not staying in the relationship and trying to make it work… So confused!!

  12. Kellie Holly says:

    Andrea, one of the keys to NOT worrying about your abusers mental health/happiness is time and distance. Distance is physical distance, but also cutting yourself off from email, text, phone calls, facebook, twitter, etc. It will feel like you’re being mean. He’ll accuse you of abandoning him or being stubborn and unwilling to work with him on the divorce (that’s what attorneys are for). The love and compassion you have for him is better placed elsewhere. Perhaps a friend in your support network could use a bit more attention, or maybe you could ask those supporting you if you could call them when you feel guilt about whatever you think you’re doing to him.

    While you’re at it, delete his friends phone numbers and facebook profiles too. They’re his friends. Let him have them. By blocking them on facebook and deleting their numbers from your phone, you’ll be less likely to try to connect with him through his friends.

    In time, and with the distance from communication, you will discover some new (possibly hurtful) things that he’s done. Your mind and heart will disentangle from him and everything concerning your relationship will seem clearer – and it will become easier to detach and let him go.

    A few words about divorce:
    Keep as much of the communication with him in front of attorney’s or through attorney’s as possible. (Watch out though! My atty charged me $5 for every email. Cost $100 before I got the first bill and figured that out!)

    Your feelings of attachment and desire to help him are normal. However, those feelings will also screw you in a divorce settlement. Don’t think for one minute he won’t use your feelings to get what he wants. Instead of working it out on your own, try court mediation.

  13. Sue says:

    I have been in a relationship with the same man for 13 years. I am wondering now if he has verbally and/or mentally abused me. We have had many screaming/shouting matches over the past years and I was so fed up with him last year that I attempted suicide by taking a bunch of pills and left a letter for him. He found me hunched over on the couch drooling and called the ambulance and I was in the hospital and then sent to the Psych Ward for a week. They never helped me and the meds they gave me didn’t help. I had to go to my own shrink and get my meds fixed. We are planning to get married in May, and now I am having second thoughts. We have been meeting with the pastor, and I think that she may recognize his behaviors becuase she has called him out on some and it made him angry and he felt like she was picking on him and that I threw him under the bus and was yelling and screaming at me on the way home. She cut our visit short because she didn’t think we were on the same page with the wedding. Some of my co-workers want to throw me a Bridal Shower and when I told him he said I couldn’t have one and I had to say no and I told him I couldn’t do that and I was not going to ruin someone else’s happiness in doing something special for me. The pastor called him out on that and told him I am 46 years old and can make my own decisions. Last night, he became angry with me over something stupid (as usual) and began screaming very loudly at me in my face and was so mad that he was spitting in my face. This was the angriest I have ever seen him and his face was turning beet red. I was so scared I thought he was going to hit me. I told him that he was a freak and he needed to quit yelling at me because I had not done anything to him. He kept yelling at me and I was backing up to the couch and he kept gettting closer and closer. He said I was the one who was a freak and that I just keep pushing him and pushing him to his limit. I told him that the wedding was off and that I refused to marry a man that was going to treat me like that for the rest of my life and I threw the wedding invitations and envelopes in the trash. I walked away and went into the bathroom. We didn’t talk to each other for quite some time and then I got on the computer and started looking for jobs in my home town. He came over to see what I was doing and said, “Oh are you looking for jobs in Omaha?” I said, “Yep.” Then he did a total 180. I told him I was moving back to Omaha and I didn’t care if I had to sleep on my cousin’s couch but that I had to get away from him and that I couldn’t marry him. He began telling me how sorry he was and how much he loved me and couldn’t lose me. I told him that we have an unhealthy relationship and that the pastor will see that and I bet that she would not marry us as time goes by. He disagreed with me. He said she would. I began crying and then he began crying and asked what he could do to be better to me, and I told him and he said he would try harder to change. I said I forgave him, etc. He went to the store and bought me flowers to make up. I feel so stupid! I told him about so many other relationships that I know where the men do not treat their wives like this and that the men give them everything and do everything for them to make them happy. I told him how it seems like everything in our relationship has to be bartered and that’s not right. I feel very hurt and disappointed. I have no family or friends. My mom and grandma passed away last year, so I have no one to confide in. I feel like he has isolated me from having friends, although he does let me go out to lunch with them. Some of my friends have quit being friends with me because I haven’t left him. He told his mom and dad last night what he did and they acted like it was no big deal and asked if I was okay and said something about bringing God into our relationship and praying or some sort of crap I don’t believe in. I don’t want to be with him for the rest of my life, but I don’t know how to get out, I feel like he always pulls me back and traps me. I don’t make much money and I would have a hard time supporting myself, and he knows this. I feel like I stay with him in order for someone to take care of me, but he acts like a child and always wants attention. He has no friends because he distrusts everyone and doesn’t want anyone knowing anything about his private life, but yet then he wonders why we don’t have frieds to hang out with. When I meet a new friend he is always like, “Be careful what you say to them.” Why would I have to “be careful?” When we are going somewhere to meet people he always tells me what I can and cannot say or bring up. He doesn’t want to invite anyone to our wedding, but I am inviting my friends to the wedding. He said I am making it into a big thing, when he wanted to keep it really small. He doesn’t want to invite any of the people that invited us to their weddings. He doesn’t want to invite his cousins, but his mom told him we need to do it out of courtesy. I feel like I am trapped forever and I don’t love him anymore, in fact I feel like I hate him even more since the incident last night.

  14. bsparks52 says:

    The moment we said I do, the verbal abuse began. It was so bad, He owned me, friends disappeared, I was stupid, lazy, a whore etc. I had lost my job because my company downsized big time. Then he didn’t want me to work. Another way to manipulate me. Keeping me home and always reminding me he made all the money. It was a perfect time to leave, but instead I said see a dr or I am leaving. He saw a dr. He is bipolar, knew it, never told me. He was put on meds. Trial after trial. Finally his meds were really working. Then boom, the floor fell out. He had major back surgeries 2 years ago and is now permanently disabled. All of the new meds for his back interfered with his bp meds. For two years we have done nothing but fight. We’re broke, My parents have passed. I can’t find a job to make enough to support myself. I again told him to get this fixed with the meds, I have had it. It has been 14 years, I just turned 59, I just want to be left alone. I don’t like him, I don’t love him. I stay busy. I do make soap as a hobby, I go and stay in the basement all day. I do do volunteer work at a school, I have made new friends. I go on summer vacation with my niece with or without him. I do let him know I have a life. I tell him having bp and back problems is not my problem any longer deal with it. Sounds mean, yes, and it is because I live with him.

  15. bsparks52 says:

    Sue do not marry this man. He will never ever change. Oh my golly, My husband was exactly like the knight in the ferry tale holly has on her blog. He was perfect until we said I do. 14 years later and I want out as much as I did before maybe more now. I was just called a f’g stupid c…about 4 days ago. He cannot accept any critisizim of any kind, unless I am stroking his ego. I am constantly reminded how smart he is how I am not as smart as him. He has torn my clothes off me because I once had a gap between my buttons and you could see my bra. We had been to my sisters and when we got home, he walked up to me, grabbed by blouse with both hands and just ripped it off. When I do go somewhere without him, he always, always checks to see what I am wearing. In 14 years he still does not trust me at all and I wouldn’t date another man if my life depended on it. I could tell you so many things this man has done to me. Your heart is telling you don’t. You go with your heart, you do not, do not, believe your guy will change. Oh my golly, I beg you.

  16. Kathy says:

    My husband has cashed in all his 401Ks and knows that if I leave him he will get half of my 401k and any money I have saved. He makes more money than me and gets mad and tells me I need to pay more on all the bills. Ignorant is his favorite word to use with me. He also tells me he hates me and would like to kill me. He said he never wanted to marry me. Not a very nice person.

  17. Megan says:

    What if your abuser is your 16 yo son? What if I am also the abuser. (cycle) I was verbally abused as a child and attract abusers. I personally also do not know how to elicit support from others when I need it. I yell and do other destructive things (verbally) when I am in pain. How do I find help for my own destructive behavior and also protection from my family members who abuse me??

  18. Megan says:

    I need to add to this comment above…. I am also abused by my 14 yo daughter. In defense, I abuse them back. How do I seek help without them being taken away from me? My husband is also verbally abusive towards them but takes my abuse when I feel wronged. I have not learned healthy ways of getting my needs met. As a child I was discounted, trivialized, called names etc. Never felt loved by my parents. This is where my dysfunction stems from. I know it, I feel pain. I truly believe that if I can heal myself, my children have hope. But not without lots of work. I have to work on myself first. I have lost faith in my husband’s ability to help and so I will most likely be leaving him when I find the strength and courage. Then it will be just me and the kids and somehow we must stop this cycle. I must heal my own pain before I have hope for them. I am only now made aware of how destructive my behavior has been…only after researching verbal abuse (because I feel I am the target of abuse and attract abusers). I realize that I am just as guilty for dishing out the abuse. I am not finding much help for abusers. Only the abused. Mostly what I find for abusers is that they cannot be helped. Patricia Evans even says in her first video that she has never seen women change. Honestly, when I hear stuff like that, I want to jump off a bridge. If there is no hope for me, and I am causing suffering for others, then what is the point of being here?? I believe in my heart, though, that she is wrong about this. I can change if I want to and take this to task. I know I can. I believe in myself that way. But I cannot do it by myself. I need help. LOTS of it. Anyway…when the abusers are my children what can I do to survive this? Can they be helped or are they lost causes too? Please give me some hope and direction. Thanks.

  19. Paul says:

    I am in a (4-year) relationship with a woman who I am not married to, and we have an 18-month old son. We do not live together, and usually are amicable about raising him and spending time together. However, she is very controlling about her house/rules/opinions, and if I spill something, make a mistake, disagree or try to defend myself verbally, she labels it an argument and prefers to shut me up (which I often do to show my son how to listen and not react). When the tension builds, she screams at me around my family, and sadly right in front of my son. Yesterday, after her 3rd tantrum in a month, my innocent son imitated her behavior. After I said it was clear from whom he learned that behavior, she asked me to leave, saying this cannot go on. We isolate by not sleeping together, interacting very little, giving each other “space” and spending time alone with my son. I always enjoy my son, with or without her. It is difficult to imagine raising him in an abusive environment. or alternatively, with his mom only and with me only. I feel so bad for my son. She is (more) financially independent, so money is not a factor. Myself, I am paying off my debt as quickly as possible. A song verse comes to mind: “The judge said, “It would be cheaper if you keep her, than to go around chasing whoopee.” I am very confused and tired of this. She often puts me down, and says she feels like a witch when she yells at me in front of other people. She will probably want to raise him on our own, splitting time with him. She feels bad for doing this behavior, yet if it will not end, getting time alone may be the best solution. My son is very close to both of us, but when sad, he clings to her. He does notice that I am the quiet one, and he is so sweet when we are together alone.

  20. Ingrid says:

    Sue, get out! I have been there. The behaviour you describe is likely to escalate and put you in danger of being badly harmed. Read up on it. Any psych will tell you 99 times out of 100 it gets worse not better. And if you have kids he can turn his violent attention on them too. You will find someone else and be fine. Stay around and you are a battered wife statistic waiting to happen.

  21. Sandi W says:

    I have been abused by my 83 year old mother whom I am a 24/7 caregiver. I am an LPN living with her and attending online RN school. In the meantime she has been on numerous medications and gets insulin twice a day, I have for years nursed her through open heart surgery, falls, emergency appendectomy, you name it she has had it done. Also I have a sister in California who is moving to Florida and is also a “screamer” like her and has gotten over a half a million dollars from her and my father (because they can pay it back-but never did..) and I get accused of “taking all mom’s money”
    I do not know how to stop the abuse and i cannot afford to live on my own..I am down to 95 lbs., and I know its because of what her words are doing to me..So now I just
    stay in my room and study..I do not know if I will ever get my RN license as I have tried for so many years and have taken courses in between all of this..I am quietly chipping away at the degree, It’s only a two year degree and is taking forever to complete..I do not want to be homeless again..I am 58 years old..Thanks for reading my post..I think if I continue to just stay away from her things will work in my favor. Hope I can gain some weight-I never thought I would STILL be going through this at my age..Hope I dont die before her- she is a very strong Italian woman and I am very weak..Best- Sandi W.

  22. Dolly says:

    My husband and I have been married almost 52 years.
    During the first year he had all these funny jokes of ‘electrocuting me in the bath’.(he was an electrician). This was followed by ‘threatening to chop me in bits’ if I ever left him for someone else.
    When our first child was about 1 year old he threaten that if I left him, he would take his opportunity, take his daughter & I would never see her again. Yes – I believed he could do that.
    Years followed with my husband having breakdowns re depression etc.
    When our 4th child was just 4 months old I was diagnosed with a severe form of’rhumatoid arthritis’ & although he refused ‘home help’ in the house he did help
    me a lot. I struggled with this disease ever after until this day.
    A year or so later he regularly threatened ‘suicide then 1 morning he awoke & described how he had shot the lot of us. I was scared – called in a doctor and he was ‘bombed out on heavy medication in case of violence.
    I failed to add, my husband did compulsive military training in the ’50′s’ then trained in the ‘territorials’ for a number of years.
    Did I think he seemed ‘warped ‘ at times – yes?
    Over the years he would be a good supportive husband & father to our 5 children but in between there were always ‘rages’ but not nearly as bad as they are to-day.
    After one bout of stress he spent a week in a psyche ward.
    He is now 75 years of age, has suffered bowel, lung, & eye resection surgery owing to various cancers. When he is unwell he abuses verbally & fights the nearest person – me.
    The last 3 rages have been dreadful – 2 were nothing to do with me but it didn’t stop the tirade of verbal toxity. The rages are known as ‘emotional projectile vomiting”.
    As I never know when things will erupt I have just bought a digital recorder which I carry in my pocket, as I have no proof of this abuse.
    My husband has a strong faith but maybe he grew up with this abuse – I certainly did not, but I find it hard equating all this with a religious person.
    In between ’bouts of unaddressed depression” and intermittent explsive rages he has been a good husband & father but the verbal abuse is devastating our lives.

    To-day, while looking at ways to stop this abuse I found your site and totally relate to the ‘monkey throwing poop’ statement. Originally I was looking for words to pen a letter but I realise you would not advise this. Normally I can never redress the subject & it is expected I will just accet whatever. I am open to advise.
    Thank-you for reading this.
    Leaving is not an easy option for me, as I would be classed ‘physically disabled’ and walk with either a w/stick or frame.

  23. To scared to say says:

    I can’t believe what I’m reading… I thought I was the only one…I thought I was crazy….I don’t even know where to start because my story is so insane I don’t know if anyone will understand, I’m very confused myself because I think it’s all my fault and I’m silly for even doing this

  24. Stephanie says:

    I am going through he’ll. I’ve been with my husband for 10yrs and we recently had a baby and he has been so aweful to me. I do feel like something is wrong with me because i see what he does isn’t right but for some reason I can’t let him go how messed up is that. He has hurt me before and always has some excuse after saying it wasn’t on purpose. He yells at me pretty much everyday over nothing and then a few hours later acts like nothing happens or he will make up things that I supposedly said so that I’m wrong and I need to apologize to him. I feel like I could make a movie outta my life because so much has happened. Now that I have my baby I want to do my best to protect her from this life. I dont want her growing up thinking this is how you treat someone. I feel so terrible about not being able to get out of this. I know I don’t deserve it and it isn’t right but I guess I do have codependant issues and i have been torn down so much that it’s like normal for me now. I have gotten the strength to tell him to leave but then if he does I always cave and want him back home. I need help. I want him outta my life but I just dont know how to go through with it. I want to do it for my sanity and for my baby.

  25. Start with a safety plan. You can get them online or at a local domestic violence agency. The safety plan helps clarify how you could escape.

  26. Saga says:

    I have been married for almost 6 months and during that time my husband and I have had a baby…it’s been so very hard! I love my husband and I honestly and truly believe that he can change but I had to remove myself from the situation just yesterday because I’m just so tired of being beaten down. We have been going to counciling for over a year and it had been helpful but it seems in just the last few months of my pregnancy and after having our baby things have just gotten worse. I need to figure out what I can say or do it get it across to him that things need to change in order for us to move forward…so are there any pointers you may have for me?

  27. If your husband hasn’t changed yet, he doesn’t want to change. The abuse works for him. Plan to leave before the baby is born and enjoy life and future relationships that will not harm your child or you.

  28. Dan says:

    I came across a case of disturbing public verbal abuse in the hallway of a hotel. A male was verbally abusing a female, calling her stupid, lazy, and going as far as to calling her the C-word. While it is not my place to interfere, it really made me angry and frustrated to hear this punk abusing her. How should one handle a situation like that between strangers in an enclosed public place? I would have stepped had it become physical, but the verbal abuse was not something anyone should take, and I felt very bad for this woman. Is there a civil way of dealing with a situation like that, which I realize is truly none of my business?

  29. Domestic violence is traditionally “none of our business”. Of course, we want to change that feeling. Domestic violence is everyone’s business because it hurts our economy and family life. That said, I understand your hesitancy to interfere in the public berating.

    There is no form of etiquette we can adopt to dealing with public displays of abuse. Whatever you do or say is going to be controversial and potentially dangerous. Never say ANYTHING if you fear for your safety.

    In the hallway situation, perhaps you could have interrupted the man to say to the woman, “Are you okay? Do you need any help?” Or you could direct your statements to the abuser, perhaps saying “Do you know you are verbally abusing this woman? Did you know that verbal abuse is domestic violence?”

    Speaking to the abuser allows his or her victim to hear your concern too. It may be better for the victim if you DO speak to the abuser. Many abusers are jealous creatures and could turn your attention into an accusation that the victim somehow flirted with you previously.

    In any case, don’t put yourself in danger. And if you ask the victim if they want to leave with you to find help, be prepared to do that should they take you up on the offer.

    Any other suggestions for Dan?

  30. Rosa Miller says:

    My Boss has gotten this idea the he can yell at me as he pleases. Use the F…U. Isn’t this illegal?

  31. Cindy says:

    my partner says / yells ‘why arent you helping me, whats wrong with you, you arent doing things the way i want them done, you are lazy, what do you do all day, you always feel you need to ‘relax’ but you arent doing anything’ and on and on it goes… I
    I cook dinner for him everynight, keep the house ‘homey’, do his bookwork that he keeps telling me i dont do correctly or on time ( he neglected his own bookwork for 2 years before i was on the scene ) and has put himself in soo much debt it will take years and planning and dicipline on his behalf to get him out of it. But alas i am the one that is letting him down.He makes me feel inadequate.i keep telling myself its not my problem its his but hes nastiness wears me down and makes me feel i cant do anything right.

  32. Amy says:

    You ladies have all quoted my life to a T. Our first child is almost 3 months now and I am terrified to leave because I am afraid he will kill me. I need help but afraid to admit it to my family.

  33. Amy, if you don’t want to admit it to your family, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline ( and admit it to them. You’ll feel better and the volunteer who answers your call can direct you to local help agencies.

  34. Barbara Semmar says:

    I have been with my partner for 22 years. Sporadically over the years we have these hideous arguments. I notice he is only happy when he has absolutely ” broken me ” with his insults ( that are random & are grievances unknown to me ). I give him the silent treatment and withdraw
    ( or leave for a few days ). I know this is provocative, however I cannot win or reason during an argument, he moto is ” fight to the death “, & I cannot stay & listen to his cruelty. He is generally loving & attentive, however the pattern is such: when we are out, he will completely ignore me, or reveal, or insult me. I find this crazy-making & don’t understand his motives. He is smart, good looking, clever and a senior Police Officer. Shamefully, I am an RN/ Psychologist. It appears I have been the victim of covert or ambient abuse? I began suspecting this only in the past 3 years. We moved to Cairns ( Far North Queensland ), as he was promoted. I willingly gave up my private practice, home, & moved 3000kms away from my seriously ill father, mother & sister. Of course I spent a lot of my time travelling back & forth to care for my family, all who died in the past 18 months. My partners parents ( with whom I had a very close & loving relationship ), also within the following 6 months. I subsequently developed a clinical depression & have been struggling emotionally. It has become very apparent during this time how intolerant, cruel & abusive my partner can be. Each time I arrived back in Cairns following my family’s deaths he was ” so agitated & angry with me “. Offered no support or condolences, just this rapid fire cruelty that went on for days, while I cried hysterically ( pathetically ) in another bedroom. I felt paralysed. I understand his is also grieving now, & have tried to be supportive, however, I could feel tension rising & have been waiting for an argument. It has come & I am to blame & apparently have never made any effort in restoring this relationship. He is the victim. Can you help/ advise me. Kind Regards, Barbara

  35. Maria says:

    I am in an interesting situation. I have been verbally abused by my mother my entire life -and have just realized that recently. I have every single symptom that you listed.

    I am currently in a unique situation. I am on bed rest and require help with my toddler while my husband is at work. This amounts to about 5 hours a day. Mid-morning-mid-afternoon, my toddler’s busiest hours.

    I am expected to be on bed rest for approximately 9 more weeks, but it could be as long as 21.

    We received notice that the townhome we are renting is being sold by the owner and that we must move.

    My mom has offered to have us come live with she and my dad, but I am not sure that is the best option. I then become a captive audience to her abuse day and night. She currently comes to help at our current residence during the day, but as soon as my husband gets home she leaves and I have the rest of the day in peace.

    We did find a home we can rent in our area, which is more expensive than we had hoped, but my mom said that she will not help us more than 2 days a week if we choose not to live with her. I called my sister who is currently only working weekends and 1 weekday to see if she might be able to help, but she declined.

    I don’t know what to do. My concern, of course, is first and foremost for my unborn child and having a good outcome. My physician is concerned that if I move into an environment like this that it may actually make my condition worse. On the other hand, if I don’t move into that environment I lose my help 3 days a week.

  36. fiona aquilina says:

    This is all so common before I had even met my husband he was telling me he loved me, and that no other woman had treated him like I do, I felt so so special no man had told me this so wen I met him we became engaged quite quickly ,married 6 months after that .He first showed his display of anger only 4 months after we had met infront of my daughter,son in law and grandsons but simply sucked them in to .things didnt change he was very verbally abusive towards me quoting you stupid dumb arragant bitch which I believe is very common words .he then pushed me and hit me .I had him charged but thought with my heart not my head and went back things never changed still verbally abusive towards me he pushed me threw things at me to the point I plotted and planned found out combinations to our locks and one morning 7 weeks ago he went to work and I left .NO MORE ABUSE EVER .

  37. Asle says:

    I was in this relationship for 10 years. I am a very quiet,jolly person and pretty much just work, shop and stayed home most of the time till i met this look wonderful, angelic face, soft spoken, smart, quiet , polite and caring man. He right away felt in love with me, care about me . Too good to be true.
    In a very short time we enjoyed each other compony till we decided to live together. For the first month i noticed the shifting of mood from high to low . In my assessment from the beginning there is something not right but i ignored. One time he admitted to me that his taking certain medication for depression which i figured from the beginning because of mood swings. For the first 3 months together he could become very angry to one minute very sweet and apologizing of his behaviour. His been depressed since he was young. He came from an alcoholic, family. The father is a gambler, womanizer, alcoholics and so parents got divorce when he was 13 years old. For all those years i noticed that i become sad from time to time. Im afraid to confront him when times that he rage on me for what reason i don’t even know. He say things, pointing fingers on my face , slamming doors and throwing things. Thought is just some kind of side effects from different medication his taking so i decided to help him out instead of aggravate him. On and on and on for many years he behave the same. He will say something when he doesn’t get his way that he actually not attracted to me then after that apologizing and he would say he loves me that he would never be where his at if not because of me.
    I continue to just calm down and support him and i didn’t know that I’m abused this way verbally, emotionally and psychologically.after the separation he still try to control me , still want to plan for my life and choose a lawyer for me to work on my legal matters. I became so depressed couldn’t go back to work after separation for almost 2 years. He accused me of being greedy , manipulative and so on but i just realized that that wasn’t me but actually describing himself.He also has a narcissistic traits big time. By the way i am a registered nurse specializing Nephrology and he is a doctor in internal medicine. I help him pretty much in acquiring his medical licence here for 8 long years and . He planned to leave me after he got his licence because i became useless of him. Thats one of the narcissistic traits. Im in the process of starting a court application and one of this day will be seeing in court. Im glad to find this blog its very helpful..

  38. Grace says:

    After 36 years in a verbally and earlier and light physical abuse relationship, I am aiming for retirement. My goal is now to be civil, just do what I have always done, dinner, laundry, but now I am just civil. I live in the other bedroom and treat my spouse as a room mate. I couldn’t be happier. He however is getting more and more upset I can tell. Oh well. I am non confrontational at this point. What will the end be? We shall see. But that is my exiting strategy. I am exiting. With rational planning. I will not be a target any longer or even engage in possible arguments. I will let you know how the next 6 months go.

  39. Karen says:

    I have a rare muscle and nerve disease,terrible pain involving sciatic nerve,right knee keeps fluid filled very large cyst behind knee.I love life,adventure, making love.My husband passed away looking into my eyes in 2007,after a brief illness.I met,fell in love with and married my husband 4 years ago.He took another position at the same company he has worked for years.He now calls me a bitch ,tells me I am disgusting, embarrassment, has thrown end tables,bread at me,he is 6ft-286 ponds.I am 5’3,weigh aot 134lbs.the verbal abuse is very bad.He claims I know how to push his buttons,and I do it on purpose, turning it into being my fault,then he tells me its the job,finances,etc…I cannot make it on my own financially.I have always been an outgoing,smiling person,respected in my hometown.Its getting worse!! HELP,WHAT CAN I DO?

  40. Reach out to friends and family. Let them know what’s going on. The financial outlook is usually dire, just like yours, but doors may open up for you if you start talking to people about your situation.

    What about disability? Have you applied?

  41. Bill says:

    My good friend pointed me to this post. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for 28 years now. I have 4 kids, so it’s always been hard to leave as I know that i would feel pretty empty without seeing them every day. I feel as though I’ve done all I can to keep my wife happy, but she never seems to be happy and always seems to be angry at me. On our 25th anniversary I wished her a happy anniversary and wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate. Her answer was “I have nothing to celebrate.” Pretty much broke my heart. I started saving for my own house after that (I have a side business on the internet). I almost bought one, but she broke me down and said how much she loved me and all this stuff so i told the realtor i wasn’t going to buy it, even though I’d put $1000 down on it. A month later she flipped out on me again for giving my sister $50 for her 60th birthday. I decided to look for a house again. This time I went thru with it and bought one in a neighboring town. I figured I’d fix it up and see how she was treating me in the meantime. When she knew I had a house to go to she did do a 180. Started treating me much nicer, but the whole time it was “you need to sell that house.” I still haven’t sold it (2 years later) for fear of if i did, things would go back to the way they were. They still are like that at times when she flips out at me for seemingly minor things (like not doing my dishes when I had to leave early in the morning as I didn’t want to wake the kids). Still the pressure is always on for me to sell the house. I don’t really want to and have been making excuses like the market isn’t good right now (true). Two of my kids have moved out now so it might be easier to make a move if I decide to. I really struggle with this because she can be as nice and loving for a few weeks, but then get upset at me again and I get pretty depressed. My friend thinks I should not sell the house under any circumstances and I think maybe she’s right. I just struggle with going thru with actually moving. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll be lonely or regret it, and I certainly don’t want to hurt my kids. It’s incredibly hard even though I have a place to go. I have been to a marriage counselor but she refuses to go.

  42. drcassandraj says:

    Growing up being verbally and emotionally abused led me to make a lot of poor choices in men. A lot of people don’t take it seriously. I still struggle at 39 sometimes to deal with issues that feel like confrontation because I have two extremes – crazy mad or I just don’t say anything at all. I CAN say that there are a number of books that helped me, but these are the three I would highly recommend to all of you:

    Codependent No More – Melody Beattie
    The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie
    Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no – Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend

  43. Bill, marriage counseling isn’t your best choice right now. I hope you find a counselor you like and see him/her on a regular basis. Counseling has a way of sorting these things out and helping you to see that your needs are important. Counseling will help you with the depression, too.

    I agree with your friend. Hold on to the house at least until after a year of counseling and see where you stand at that time.

    Remember the abuse is not your fault. Even the “good” times leave you walking on eggshells hoping she won’t do it again. There’s no time to relax or set your thoughts straight living that way.

    Thoughts and prayers with you.

  44. Sea says:

    Hello I was looking for some info I noticed my husband is yelling at me when he haven’t his way to do what he wants. He does yells very hard to the point I feel as he wants to hit me or something I’m very concern. I look up to his face is a different person I’m not too sure is crazy? I question myself is the person I sup post to admire and respect? he starting saying bad words which he knows I do not use and I do not like. But I start wondering is acceptable to be yell out? I do not have any family here I am us citizen yes. I’m hard worker person, (but I do not have a job at this time) I’m a great student (I’m re assuring my accounting knowledge) but I starting having bad dreams I think I’m afraid of him. What I should do? I starting crying and feeling lonely I want to leave but I ask my self …where to go? I do not have money. I think he feels I’m hopeless or with not family around. Can I have your advise? I appreciate that very much.

  45. Sea, it sounds like you’re fairly isolated. Leaving him will require a good bit of change for you, but it is not impossible to go. I can’t give you a step-by-step example, but I can advise 2 things:

    1. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (they have translators if you need one). The NDVH, at, can listen and advise you where to find help locally.
    2. Download this safety plan and use it: It can help you stay safer at home until you find a way out.

    Keep all of what you do a secret from him AND his friends.

    Some other options include finding a job so you can move out (he will yell, but you need the money). Could you ask family to send you money? If so, try to have it sent to you Western Union or to a PO box (you’ll have to rent one and keep it secret). Deposit the money in your own checking account -definitely not a joint account and not one in his name only. Also, check at your university. There should be a counselor who can advise you. Perhaps there is a dormitory where you could stay or perhaps you could work for the college. I had a job as a note taker at one community college and they also hired translators.

    You can sign up for an email mentor (someone who has left an abusive relationship) here:

    I sincerely hope you do these things and follow the advice from the NDVH. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth the effort is ever easy. Stay as safe as possible and remember to keep your research and planning a secret from him.

  46. Skipper says:

    I am a man. My wife does not work. When she decides I have made a bad decision she rants anywhere from 30mins. to over 2 hours. There are many more issues. One being she takes money out of our accounts and secretly sends them to her son. The last time was in August when I found another bank receipt where she sent cash to her son. While I am holding and reading it she sees me and snatches it out of my hand and eats it. She has run my son off just after he graduated from HS. Now after almost 4 years she is trying to get me to employ her son (knows nothing about my business and wants to be my CFO. I don’t have a CFO. My company is small and I handle all finances.) He was out of a job after being fired and didn’t look for work for over 5 months. My wife and he asked if he could live here for a few months (3 or more) after getting a contract sale on our condo. I have sent him money on occasions not knowing my wife has been too. Once in our new home she is trying to get me to leave saying it is her home but she has no recourses to pay for this home. I suppose she wants me to pay too. I have an office in the house but she makes so much noise when I am there I am unable to work. She also wakes me after I co to bed most nights. She goes to be anywhere from midnight to 4 am. I sometimes cannot get back to sleep because I am so startled. We have no sex life. I am ok with that but she throws that in my face from time to time. But what man wants to make love to a person so abusive? Are there laws in NC that protect me? How can I get her out of the home when she is ranting instead of me having to leave?

  47. I went through leaving my ex in NC, too. No, there’s no way to get her out of the home when she is ranting because you can’t control what someone else is doing. You can only control what you do.

    Yes, technically, there are laws in NC that protect you from physical violence (but not verbal/emotional abuse). I am uncertain how well the law will protect you from physical abuse because I don’t know how your local police and any judge assigned to you would react to domestic violence calls, never mind that you are a male complainant.

    The last time my ex put his hands on me, I called the sheriff but they couldn’t make him leave the home because my bruises hadn’t developed yet. (No proof.) However, the next morning, after my bruises showed, I was able to get an ex-parte order which removed him from the home.

    An ex-parte order works exactly like a restraining order with the added benefit of forcing the spouse to leave the home so you can go back there until things are “sorted out” in court.

    I have absolutely no idea how to advise you. I truly believe you should secretly speak to an attorney and find out what your options are. Also, check with your local department of social services. They will have a domestic violence counselor who can perhaps help you navigate the system.

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