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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.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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256 Responses to Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

  1. I can’t get into your husband’s head to know what he is thinking. However, this sounds like an effort to “keep the peace” until he can figure out how to get to you again. He doesn’t want you to leave him (abusers never do).

    When he starts in again (and he will), it will be a surprise to you, just as it was in the beginning. 35 years of ugliness doesn’t change overnight. Even with therapy, he would mess up now and again. He is ALWAYS in control of his emotions, or at least the emotions he shows to you. Being “sweet” is no different from being ugly. But he needs to keep you around until he figures out new ways to torture you.

    I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could thrown him.

  2. BB says:

    Constant verbal abuse making me feel inadequate….im working partner isnt and stays at his home 24/7 expecting me to always go to his… he has finacial probs and always makes excuses why we dont go out even if its for a walk….when I spend time with him and after buying shopping and cooking his meals he finds fault with everything I do….I recently had an operation which has made me put on a little weight.. he uses this and when we have words he says he doesnt go out with big women and calls me a fat cxxt!!! My size is 14 but have tummy probs…I am happy with me and work but when he starts on me I feel so inadequate and confidence drops…ive done everything to support him in his bad times but im now feeling why do I bother…..but for some strange reason I cant walk away…we been together 3 yrs we are a mature couple…I have my own house job…he lives alone with no job money!!! How can I walk away without feeling guilty of abandoning him when he needs me….he has pushed family and friends away

  3. Stephen says:

    Verbal abuse and setting limits with people and confronting them on their bad behavior, ect. are def not the same thing. I realize each situation is different, but some of these statements are dicey and a fine line and others are clearly verbal abuse. There have been times in my life where people had to be tough with me in a reasonable way and times I had to be tough and confront others. I think we live in a world where we expect everyone to go along with whatever we want to do, say, have…..and any deviation from that or any confrontation is seen as “mean” or “abusive.” I went through true, real abuse and it is not fun to put in mildly. Not getting your way or someone refusing to tolerate your constant negativity/complaining has been called abuse by some. It’s not. We need to be kind to one another but we also need to grow up and take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. Just because someone has called you out on something you do that you need to change, and then you feel badly or bad about yourself, that does not mean you are being abused. It can be very complicated and dicey is what I am saying.

  4. I don’t think it’s that complicated at all. If someone typically hurts your feelings (or your body) when you’re with him or her, then the behavior is abusive.

  5. Stephen says:

    I have hurt people’s feelings by telling them their constant complaining and fault finding was dragging me down and making me not want to spend time with them. That doesn’t make me abusive. At the same time, people have hurt my feelings by saying that they thought I needed to go on medication because my depression/anxiety was getting out of control. There is a big difference between talking down to someone and belittling them and confronting them on their actions/behavior. Just because you have hurt feelings doesn’t necessarily mean you are being abused. If someone is calling you names and putting you down, that is a totally different story. That is abusive.

  6. Kat says:

    I think when words are exchanged between people and these words are of a malice nature with intent to hurt then it’s pretty obvious that it’s abuse. Telling someone to ease up on a particular behaviour is not necessarily abusive but if you throw some personal slings in there it can be. Your putting that person down while your telling them to shape up. Not having someone’s best interests at heart while advocating for their behaviours to change or be addressed eg depression mental illness etc can be cause for an assumption of abuse. It’s very easily defined one from the other. Just take into consideration the intent. It’s either for help or harm. I think we are all adult enough to really deep down spot the difference.

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