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Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.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 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 what 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 other’s have reported 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 Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Visit her website at Verbal Abuse Journals: Verbal Abuse is Domestic Abuse that Leads to Domestic Violence or purchase her books from Amazon.

*I must use pronouns such as “she” and “he” to talk about the abusers and victims of abuse in relationships. Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so please do not take my pronoun choice as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized. They’re pronouns, not proclamations.

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208 Responses to Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

  1. Rubi says:

    I met a guy who was really sweet when I met him 2 years ago but I moved in with him a year ago and he hits me and says it’s my fault and yells at me the ugliest names and says that it’s my fault that I provoke him cuz I don’t leave him alone but he wants to be drinking and be up and down with his friends but I can’t even be with my family cuz he gets very angry.

  2. Tom says:

    I read everything you wrote. Now that the tears have stopped, I can say this. I am the voice that has said so many things like what you listed and some way more hurtful. My wife left during Spring Break this year. Since then we have talked, made love, voiced and let out pent up thoughts, even made plans on her moving back in. Then Thur she text me asking for 50.00 to pay on her truck note. I gave her my cc number and she withdrew 50.00. During some of our talks she made mention that for a long time now I couldn’t or wouldn’t just call to see how she was doing. Well Friday morning around 10ish feeling happy about her showing signs of relationship growth I called just say hello and I’m thinking about you. About 3 min into the conversation I ask what she was doing”Driving” where are you headed”New Orleans for the weekend”. We live about an hour south of Houston Tx and 6 to 7 hours from New Orleans. As soon as she said New Orleans it felt as my heart was ripped out and I needed to vomit. I couldn’t believe she less than 10 hours told me she didn’t have the money to pay bills, is now on her way in her truck to South La with two girlfriends. I only took a couple minutes for the rage to take over. Over the next two days I cut losses like I had never ever done. It was gut wrench and vil to say the least. Well I work over nights and somewhere around 3am something happened inside of me. As I sat in my work truck all alone, I cried. I cried uncontrollably for a while. I had seen that my jealously of her trip blocked out my love. That feeling was worse than the one I had when she said”New Orleans “. As day break came I texted and we talked, I conveyed to her how my body was turning inside out and I had seen what I did. I have never felt gilt like this before in my life ever. We continue to talk and text. Yesterday she came to our old house, my home. We talked, we cried, we kissed. I held her so tight, and as I was I felt the ice. Our conversation continues to the point that she thinks divorce now and see where we are down the road is the best plan of action. I don’t…. She has a few mental issues her self and we had already agreed that we had to fix ourselves before we could fix our marriage. Well after the asshole fest of the weekend I believe I have killed any love for me that was there. I’m not suicidal, really don’t know how I will live without her. As karma gets comfortable in my life, I have been on the worst ride ever. The feeling of worthlessness, self hate, guilt, shame, and so on are so powerful I feel like I’m dieing. All I want is the opportunity to show my wife the one true love of my life how I’m not him anymore, I can confront problems without losing my cool. I’m not asking for any of you to feel anything for me, I just wanted to share the other side of this problem. I have gotten on some meds, looking down a Spiritual path, lost my fear to cry. I hope the Monster in me didn’t kill the Love in her. I have no idea why I say things like I do. Been a problem for a few years but nothing on the scale it hit this past weekend. I truly have hate for my self for the things I’ve done.

  3. Cathy says:

    Rubi, life is so short but some people make it so long when you have to deal with abuse. …please give yourself the chance to be happy and leave this man. I have been married for 25 years in July and there have been too many bad times…when I look back, of coarse there were good times, like my children being born, etc. But more bad memories than good. Please don’t be like me and wake up and it’s many years later and you’ve been unhappy all thru the years.
    I think we women feel like we have to accept some meanness when we aren’t perfect or half way perfect but God wants good things for us and not to be kicked around. Prayers for you

  4. Cathy says:

    Molli, I am crying from just reading your post. ..I can so relate. I wished I could say I’m out but I’m not. I have hope some days that I will be.
    My husband rants and my crying from it is a viscous circle. ..so I fake that I’m ok and cry in silent. When he is yelling at night and my precious children are sleeping, I can’t beg him to stop, he only says I’m using them as shields and keeps going. ..sometimes throwing things and swinging his arms at me. I will get out! And I pray for you to do the same!

  5. Dana says:

    I have been with a man for 11 years being abused and verbal abused more verbal . He has told me many times he is going to Barry me . He wishes I would fall and break my neck . He wishes I was dead . Spited on me before. Hit his own six year old son with s hanger while I was at work . and choked my 15 year old . He has spit in my moms face for sticking up for me . He cheats on me .I know because he has given me a std two times even pregnant at the time with his son . He calls me stupid and that no one will want me that I am bagged with three kids . He comes and goes as he wants . He drinks and does drugs his drug of choice is coke . The man is smart and has a good job . He is 36 but still goes to clubs . And he goes on date sites . I don’t know why I stayed with a man like that . We just separated a month ago . And he still puts me down I think I been called so many names all the years I been with him I am scared really bad . I have never been treated so bad in my life . I don’t know why I stayed and I let him get to me and my boys .

  6. Paige says:

    My boyfriend of 2 years is normally quite an angry person in general it doesn’t take a lot to make him flip, the first signs are when we are in public he’ll say weird things like “stop talking” and the other night we ended up in a domestic he was saying things to me like “I hate to look at you, you disgust me” when I went to leave he grabbed my arms and dragged me and threw me on the sofa although he wasn’t hitting me I still found it disgusting and whenever I cry he says “why are you crying? Turning on the water works” or “I’m a pig” “I’m a slut” “I hate you” “I’m going back to my ex” although we’ve now apologised and are good as can be I’m just scared for the next time he’s angry, he does have really good traits to him, he doesn’t agree with hitting or raping woman, but he has said “you make me want to hit you” everytime I mention looking into anger management he doesn’t agree with it.

  7. I hope you leave him, Paige. Until then, download this safety plan: http://verbalabusejournals.com/pdf/comprehensive-safety-plan-print.pdf

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