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Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

Abusive people, men and women, say and do similar things to control their victims. The delivery may vary in tone or type, but the effect is the same. Read this.

What does verbal abuse sound like? The tone and content varies from abuser to abuser, but the words effect the victim in similar ways. Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.

In the beginning of my abusive relationship, I felt anger and stood up for myself which led to loud, circular verbal altercations that had no solutions. Later, after coming to believe that he was my hero, my savior and provider, I felt stupid and wanted to fix myself so he would love me.  Much later, I turned away and left the house for awhile which eventually led to increased physical violence and leaving forever.

Sometimes my abuser’s words hurt when he jabs and attempts to provoke on the phone. Mostly, the memory, the countless memories of the abusive things he’s said to me rear up and try to convince me that his remembered voice is my own.

This list is only a partial list of the things verbal abusers say. It’s not limited to my own abusive relationship. It takes into account what others report hearing, too.

Things Verbal Abusers Say:

  • “Why don’t you get a job so you understand the real world? Oh, wait – I forgot – you can’t get a job because you’re a stupid sh!t.
  • “Quit your whining and crying. You have no reason to cry or complain! Your life is perfect because I made it that way!”
  • “Bitch” (and the countless other names I won’t bother to list)
  • “I should have left you at the club with all the other whores.”
  • “If you were more like my mother I could worship you.”
  • “I hate it when you act so pitiful. Stop the waterworks and talk like a human being.”
  • “I can’t stand to look at you. You make me sick.”
  • “You’re such a great actress! You know how to get what you want, don’t you?”
  • “I can’t believe I have to come home to you every day. How did I get involved with such a train wreck?”
  • “I must be the first a$$hole to love you. You don’t know how to please a man!”
  • “You’re fat and miserable and you make me hate you.”
  • “You always look like God stomped on your face.”
  • “Why do you care what I want for dinner? My favorites taste like crap when you make them anyway.”
  • “You used to be as beautiful as my ex, but geesh – time hasn’t been good to you, baby!”
  • “Those children are mine, will always be mine, and if you leave you’ll never see them again.”

Things Verbal Abusers Do:

  • Deny they said anything similar to the list above.
  • Defend what they’ve said.
  • Analyze what they’ve said out loud, explaining that the words they used do not have the definitions you seem to think they do.
  • Block you in a room so you can’t leave and thereby avoid what they’re saying.
  • Talk horribly to the television but are really speaking to you.
  • Flip open their knife to open a piece of gum while looking at you under knitted brows.
  • Leave to do something else at the last minute when you had plans together.
  • Take you out for your best birthday ever and then wind up berating you on the way home for not appreciating their efforts enough.
  • Tell your children you need more happy pills to be a good mom.
  • Change the topic of the conversation so you bounce from one place to another, never getting to the core of the issue.
  • Accuse you of being a whore or a dummy or a _________ so often that they no longer need to say the words but can offer up a “look” and you know what they’re saying (then they may deny it).

Abusive people, men and women, say and do similar things to control their victims. The delivery may vary in tone or type, but the effect is the same.Okay. I have to stop. My stomach is literally upset right now after digesting the utter contempt and hatred some people spew on a daily basis.

If you’re still living in this nonsense, learn about detachment and how it can benefit you. Maybe in time you’ll choose to leave your abuser, and maybe you’ll choose to stay. No one here will judge you for staying (I’ve been there and it can feel hopeless!), but please work on ways to make yourself feel better in the process.

Start here:


You can also find Kellie on her website at Verbal Abuse Journals , and social media pages on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Buy her books from Amazon.

*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.

302 thoughts on “Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do”

  1. If I disagree, get upset about anything, or express a different opinion than my husband has… he more often than not ends up raging and yelling “f*** you you f***ing b****” and storms out. I never swear at him, and I have told him dozens of time that it hurts me so much when he calls me that. I’ve even said that it feels like he’s sticking a knife in me when he calls me that. I basically just feel numb afterwards. This doesn’t happen often, because I try to avoid any conflict by just agreeing with him, or not saying anything at all. If I get upset and express my feelings , he says things like “settle” (isn’t this what people say to their dog?) … or “you’re out of control”. He gets mad if I don’t walk the right way, which means right next to him and I feel like he wants me to “heel” like a dog. Last night he got mad I didn’t walk exactly where or how he wanted me to and said I had “crossed his line”…? What’s made me so upset today is that last night my 18 yr old son disagreed with him and was expressing his opinion on how a sport is played. After a minute of discussion – there wasn’t yelling involved at all.. my husband raises his voice and yells “F***” at our son! I was sitting right next to both of them! For a moment, no one said anything… my husband then just started to talk like nothing happened.. I decided it was time to stand up to him… I said “hold on! that was uncalled for. Our son is entitled to have different opinions than you and he’s entitled to express them. He wasn’t trying to hurt you or anyone. What you said was wrong!”. He looks at me, not our son, and says angrily “Sorry”. He never looked at our son an sincerely said sorry. Our son, replied calmly and sincerely. “I’m sorry too…” and then a long, long, period of silence started. I was so upset, but didn’t say anything. I went to bed early and this morning I told my husband that I was disappointed and upset about how he reacted last night. His reply “He (our son) was out of line”! what? for expressing his opinion? I said “He can express his opinion, and if it’s different than yours, too bad. He wasn’t trying to hurt you. But you hurt him by yelling at him. That’s unacceptable. He said “out of line” a few more times…. I am so angry right now this is all I can think about.

  2. Omg. I am a man, my wife calls me an abusive husband. I complain about the filth we live in. I work long hrs. We do have children. Therefor i understand what it takes to care for small children(I was a stay at home dad for 5 years). I love my wife. I really really do. After she started calling Me abusive. I started reading articles
    and reasearching abuse. As i read this list above. Im shocked. Never have i berated my wife. I dont call her names. I dont tell her shes worthless. I have no regrets marrying her. These are the things says and does to me. Im to blame for everything. Im far from perfect. Ive made mistakes.ive excepted responsibility for my mistakes. Never has she. I wish i had hidden. Cameras in the house so people could see the truth. I feel like im the one being gaslighted. Please help. My marriage depends on it. I dont want to lose her

  3. I’ve been with my bf for 3 yrs now.hes 33 and I’m 38, i Do love him with all my heart but first yr he moved in to my home and it was all good for a little while instill he would shrw me no emotions. And never would tell me he loved me first ever so i started looking on chatlines for someone to say the words that i wanted him to say to me. Ur beautiful, sexy , i would love to have u has my gf But i was getting it from chatlines Instead Of him well my bf find out that i was on the chatlines. And down the line i find out that he was on chatlines too .i wouldn’t tell the hole truth to him about my x bf my baby’s dad that i was dropping off the kids cause he would tell me that i was wrong for being so nice to him .ok i understand some of it but everyday i got told that i was cheating with his friends or family members on his side. i would tell him not true i would never cross that line im not like that at all . i don’t know what to do anymore. Getting very sick and everyday i don’t talk to him cause i don’t want to fight with him so i stay away maybe im wrong for staying away but i hate fighting with him .we don’t. Sleep in the same room any more cause he has kicked me out to many times so i just say fuck it any more not kissing his ass and put all my stuff back in the room for him to kick me out again so now i stay in the other room .what should i do i dropped all my friends cause he says they r no good i have 2 girl friends left that i still talk to i don’t even see my side of my family cause they hate him and don’t want nothing to do with him cause of all the past history between me and him . so all i have left is my kids that aren’t his and he fights in front of them with me so i just walk away so we don’t fight in front of them . i fell in love with him never had fallen in love with anyone like i did with him this is so hard to leave him been through alot with him in the pasted 3 yrs .i just don’t know what to do anymore going crazy trying to fix this relationship please help me find the right thing to do

    1. Leave him. It takes two people who want to change a relationship for it to change. He doesn’t want to change himself and he doesn’t want to change the relationship for the better. Look at your lifetime: how long is three years, really? Not long. Get out so you can find yourself, learn to love yourself, and make a healthy home for your children.

  4. The father of my kids has said almost everything on that list. I dont work because I have 3 small daughters and will have to pay Alot of childcare. So he constantly tell me I’m worthless, bad mom, and a piece of you know what. I try not to let him get to me but he does. During my pregnancy he would tell me horrible things and after was worse. I believe I have fallen into depression and at one point even tried to end my life because I was starting to believe what he said was true. I try to reason with him but he hurts me emotionally and I cry. I ask him why he says those things to me he responds by telling me it’s all my fault l. Is there a way I can get through to him or is it a failing cause?

  5. Literally around this time last year I was forced on and abused and used by a Bangladesh man. He was clever whenever something told me to hold back he’d sent romantic texts and call me and tell me how much he loved me, until he tried to have sex with me, and he couldn’t penetrate me. And then it was, “why are you getting so upset? This is natural don’t take it so seriously.” oh, and how we broke up, I’d stupidly thought id fallen for him and I told him. He responded by using me like a cheap whore and then rejecting me.

    The thing that hurts the most though is this experience happened right at a time when these men are fleeing these countries. friends, even celebrities I’ve admired since I was nineteen are constantly saying we need to let these men in, we have to help them, right. A western woman is basically raped and cruelly told that she’s a worthless whore and she’s a cunt for not wanting those men here? You call it islamaphobia i call it slut shaming and victim blaming rolled into one.

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