I want to share some examples of verbal abuse because most aren’t easy to spot. Most verbally abusive statements are camouflaged, but some are blatantly obvious.
Verbal abuse underlies all other forms of abuse because words and tone can be easily manipulated to mean something other than what is said and “You misunderstood me!” is such an easy way out. Early on in my relationship, word games were key.
Here’s an early example of verbal abuse that I experienced. If he said something that hurt my feelings, I would tell him so. He would say, “I didn’t mean it that way, Kellie,” and he’d give me a hug. He would tell me that even his sergeants told him he needed to work on his tact. He promised to work on it. “What I really meant to say was…” SO much different than what had come out of his mouth that I had a difficult time rectifying the first statement to mean the second.
But, because he now hugged me and helped me feel secure and loved, I willingly went along with the lie. I became a participant in my abuse.I didn’t know at the time that my willingness to believe and forgive the man I loved would lead me to despair. Funny thing is that my naivete was one of the first character “faults” he berated me for, yet that same quality is the reason I withstood his verbal battery at all.
Examples of Verbal Abuse: Word Play and Denial
I believe most of the conversations I had with my husband in the beginning were tests to gauge how willing I would be to become his puppet. Word play and denial of wrong-doing are two sides of the same coin. It doesn’t matter how the coin-toss lands because both sides result in confusion for the victim of verbal abuse.
The resulting confusion in the mind of the victim destabilizes the victim’s mind. Destabilization of my mind was crucial to my abusive husband – without implanting doubt in my mind about what I believed and perceived, there would be no way to control me.
He needed to know I would act, think and believe as he did so he could trust me. He couldn’t believe that my way of doing anything would have the same results as his way of doing them. “Trust” equals “control over” to my ex; he could never fully trust me because he couldn’t gain full control over me.
Types of Abusive Statements
The verbal abuser’s desire to gain control over his/her “better half” is so strong that the abuser will say anything to accomplish it.
The more the abuser can get you to doubt your own perceptions, the easier it is for them to trust you. As you fall down the tunnel of self-doubt, you reach for them, the one closest to you, for help. Your neediness is their cue that you are ripe for implanting their ideas into your mind, and they take every single opportunity to brainwash you into becoming them.
Examples of Verbal Abuse You May Recognize
Below are examples of verbal abuse, statements verbally abusive men and women make. Do you recognize any of these?
Examples of Emotionally Abusive Statements
- You’re so cute when you try to concentrate! Look at her, man, she’s trying to think.
- I can’t believe I married such a stupid man.
- Aw, come on, can’t you take a joke?
- That isn’t at all what I meant. You’ll never understand how much I love you.
Sexually Abusive Statements
- You should know how to please me by now.
- I am thinking about taking a better lover.
- Your body feels like spam.
- Stop acting like such a whore. My friends are asking me if I let you behave that way when I’m around or if its just something you do on your own.
Financially Abusive Statements
- You are going to nickel and dime us to death!
- In what world does buying that make sense?
- If you weren’t so lazy we’d have more money.
- You handle the finances for now; I’ll step in when things go to hell.
Societally Abusive Statements
- How dare you spread around our personal family business!
- Let me do the talking; people listen to men.
- You took a vow in front of God and everybody and I expect you to honor it!
- What would the neighbors think about you if I told them our daughter’s hair wasn’t combed because her mother couldn’t make her sit still? My mother combed my sister’s hair every single day!
Threatening and Intimidating Statements
- If you don’t train that dog I’m going to rub your nose in its mess.
- I am more capable, smarter, and better educated than you. I will take our kids if you leave me.
- This isn’t angry! You will KNOW when I’m ANGRY!
- Ohhhh…I’d love to smack you right now!
Spiritually Abusive Statement
- Keep your stupid beliefs to yourself; our children don’t need you to confuse them.
- Women are to subjugate themselves to their husband in all ways.
- God will find a way to get you back, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.
- I can feel myself being pulled into hell just listening to your nonsense!
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