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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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.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.

328 thoughts on “Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do”

  1. My husband calls me names and blames anything he does on my attitude, apparently standing up for myself and our son means I have an attitude, I’ve opened up a secret account in my sons names and I’m working hard to save enough to leave as I have a home business, but it’s taking awhile. He’s hit me before and now since we had our son he threatens too. He grabs at my body one min then calls me names the next. I don’t like him touching me nor do I think I love him at all anymore. I’m scared to leave but more scared to stay.

  2. After reading all this I’m literally crying because my husband does so many of these things. Im 21 and this is my first marriage, he’s 45 and this is his 7th. I love him but like not an hour ago he told me go “get the f*&k out! Why don’t you bail like you always Do! I f(*king hate you!” That’s all I get.. I get called stupid, I get told how horrible and lazy I am. I get told how I’m all these horrible names and I make his life hard. When I cry he goes ‘awwwwwww is your p%*sy hurt? Stop acting you don’t have any feelings!” Then he says it’s all my fault. Years before i met him i was severely beaten and raped, my husband tells me i need to go back to my rapist, he tells me my rapist needed to just finish the job. How if i try to get help my husband will either beat me or kill me… I don’t know what to do…

    1. 🙁 i feel your pain i need to get out of my verbal and emtional relationship. Its starting to affect our 3 yr old son. Im currently pregnant with baby number 2 hes comming next month and im afraid i know hes not going to help me at all like he never helped with our 3 yr old… he called me a whore today just to say it because i told him im unhappy how he yells at me all the time. Sped down the road with our son in the car. Lord knows i want out.

  3. My husband of 4 months, together for 5 years, constantly verbally abuses me, raises his hand at me like he will hit me. He calls me harsh words and berates me everyday. A part of me wants to leave but invested so long I don’t have the strength to leave. We don’t have any children and while I was trying to get pregnant, I am not actively trying now He will call me trash, tell me my nursing job is not good enough and he makes the real money. Says he wants me out of his house and that I don’t deserve to live there. Says my mouth is the reason he hates me because I tell the truth and try not to accept what he says to me. I never say a word to him because I don’t want to trigger him, i walk around on eggshells and here I am his doormat. I let him treat me like crap and beat me down to feeling worthless. I sometimes want to die and makes me feel everyone would be better off if I did. I’m so unhappy but cannot face the shame and embarrassment of leaving him. We don’t have sex, he won’t touch me, he won’t say a kind word to me. I feel like I married the devil. I need help but don’t know to get it.

    1. Hi Kelli,

      Thank you for your comment, and well done for speaking out about what you’re going through. My heart goes out to you because your situation sounds terribly familiar. There was a time when I thought I was pregnant by my abusive ex-partner, and now that I’m free of him I thank the universe every day that didn’t happen. Since then, I became engaged to a wonderful, caring man and we had a child of our own. Even so, I find motherhood challenging at times, and without a supportive partner by my side I would have struggled even more. I know it is not my place to say, but please think twice before you bring a child into the world with this man. If he abuses you, there is a high chance he will abuse your children. Parenting is wonderful, but it really tests your patience and resolve. This can be dangerous for those who are used to being in control; babies and children are so unpredictable.

      Please consider opening up to someone about your relationship. Whatever he makes you believe, the way he treats you is not OK. I know it feels shameful and embarrassing to admit what’s been going on, but trust me: you’re not the only one.

      i would recommend talking to a trusted friend or family member and getting someone on your side to help you with the next step. You should also research some domestic violence helplines and organizations where you live and get in touch with one of those. It’s also worth contacting a counsellor or therapist who is specially trained to help victims of domestic violence. Those are the first steps to take. I know it can feel overwhelming, but you can do it. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s definitely one worth making.

      Good luck!


  4. I just got called a f****ng idiot by my fiancé of 7 years in front of my 20 year old college kid home for three weeks. The house flooded due to her forgetting the water was running in the sink. Previously, her and I argued. He says it was my fault because we often argue and i should leave her alone; if I would’ve have left her alone she wouldn’t have been frazzled and forgotten that the water was running in the sink. The house is a mess! He told her don’t worry about it, but hasn’t said much to me. I asked what I could do, but he basically implies not to worry about it. He’s been a fiancé this long for a reason, right?! Lol! Finding humor even with a wounded heart.

  5. I have been with my husband for 10 years. He has cheated on me several times. He corners me and verbally attacks me. He acts like he is going to hit me. He tells me I front of our children that I am a f***ing bilplar B** ch and a horrible mother. He tells me he is the only one that works to give me the life I have. But if I get a job it has to be on his schedule. I feel hopeless I don’t want to take my kids from him. But I can’t take any more.

    1. Hello Anonymous,

      I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. The situation you’re in sounds like it could be dangerous. Consider calling one of the domestic violence helplines on our Help and Resources page — these are people who can help you when you feel stuck and don’t know where to turn. It may also be worth contacting a lawyer so you can plan for the financial implications of leaving your husband (if that’s what you plan to do). Please continue to use this site for support and reach out to others when you can. Good luck to you.

      Emma x

      1. My father is at the end stages of early onset Alzheimers and is only 63. I moved back in with my parents after 13 years because my father requires 24 care, and I promised him that he would not end up in a nursing home. So now I work from home and so does my mom so that we can take care of my father. My father is priority, but for three years now at least 2-3 times a week I get blamed for his Alzheimers by my mother. I get called everything but my name, and am told on a daily basis how sorry I am and that this world and her life would be better if I was gone. There is a lot of other things she says that I don’t think are appropriate to even type. When she starts in on me I listen and keep my mouth shut and when I have had enough I will walk away or go sit outside and bring my dad with me. It seems like walking away makes it worse and when I agree with her about how sorry and pathetic I am it makes the situation worse. I have thought about just leaving and going my own way, but then I think of my dad and how selfish it would be for me to leave. These verbal attacks are the reason I left home in the first place and was almost the reason my dad divorced my mom. Faith and prayer has brought contentment to me and I can tell it’s rubbing off on my dad as well, but the attacks still hurt. Its like if someone day after day keeps telling you that you are worthless and that your birth was the biggest mistake, sooner or later you start to wonder if it’s true. I do get scared sometimes that she is just going to loose it all one day and hurt me or my dad, but that is just a “what if” at the moment. I know not everyone is religious but I always refer to the book of Romans chapter 12 verses 9-21, it helps me, maybe it can help someone who reads this comment. No matter what anyone does or says always be quick to forgive and love with an attitude of gratitude in any situation. All the abuse and hate in this world will never conquer love. God bless!

  6. I have been with my husband for 10 years. He has cheated on me several times. He corners me and verbally attacks me. He acts like he is going to hit me. He tells me I front of our children that I am a f***ing bilplar B** ch and a horrible mother. He tells me he is the only one that works to give me the life I have. But if I get a job it has to be on his schedule. I feel hopeless I don’t want to take my kids from him. But I can’t take any more.

  7. My Husband and I have been together for almost 10 years now. We have beautiful children. He was the first man I had ever been with sexually. He calls me names and downgrades me constantly. I have been going through this for a very long time. I recently found out that he has been cheating on me as well. I kicked him out. He was only gone a week and I begged him to come back. So he did. He didnt do it for me tho he did it for our kids. I really just dont understand why I cant let him go. Why everything is just so hard for me. I finished high school and moved in with him right away. I’m about to be 28 years old and still have done absoulutly nothing with my life. When he left I felt like everything was my fault. I begged and pleaded for him to come back. I’m so stupid!! since he has came back NOTHING has gotten better. I have tried but nothing is ever good enough he has no remorse for what he has done and he is making my life really hard right now. He keeps calling me a stupid F****** C*** over and over. He lays in bed and plays games on his phone and he laughs like he has no worries. I dont know what to do anymore. I love him but more so I love the man he used to be. I dont know if he ever really loved me.

  8. The man who lives with me has a bad temper. I thought it was my fault for a long time. We have been together two years and he flies off the handle and blames me. Like a couple days ago I texted him one message while he was at work and he blew up and still is mad. He says he hates me and calls me a stupid b**** and even says he hates my kids, thankfully they are grown. He got drunk a couple months ago and came home and hit me so many times in my arm that I had bruises for almost a month. Then he can be a loving man and its like nothing happened but he always says I made him do it. He always threatens to leave me. I feel like even if he leaves it won’t solve the problem. What about the next woman he abuses?

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