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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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.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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216 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

  8. Michelle says:

    Earlier today i tried to get a loan so i could pay it back ands get credit. My husband was so excited to throw it in my face that he wad going to help me get this loan his grandma was going to co- sign. Basically, it didn’t pan out because she didn’t make enough in her budgeting. I’m 22, and don’t have credit. Anyways, he freaks out on me saying GD what is wrong with everybody wtf and continues to scream ands cuss.I’m keeping my cool the whole time and try to calm him down and he hangs up on me. Btw he’s in Afghanistan, And no him being overseas isn’t why he acts the easy he does, he wad like this well before he left. Anyways we get off the phone, i message him saying “that’s right, it’s all my fault, take it out on me” and replies with “shut your gd stupid pathetic f’ing b**** @$$ up, like dont talk top me unless i say something to you first”. He says stuff like this all the time and i ask him what i can do in certain situations so he won’t blow up on me and he just says don’t piss me off. He’s completely controlling, He’s accused me of sleeping with two different bosses, which is completely ridiculous as they’re much older and not attractive to me, besides the fact I’m married and so are they. I don’t want to leave him. I feel like I’ve tried everything to fix things. I moved away from my friends and family to live near his family so now I’m here all by myself in a house thats falling completely apart, that he hasn’t even lived with me in because i moved in the day after he left. I’ve made so many sacrifices to be with him and he doesn’t even acknowledge it. He calls me stupid every day, the other day he said your just like all the other sluts I’ve been with, He’s always threatening leaving me like i got rid of my car because he wad going to crap before i moved here now I’m driving his, He threatened to leave me with nothing in this crappy town full of meth heads. he called earlier only after telling me to just leave him if I’m so unhappy and he said he wishes i would because he’d be much happier, He asks a question about the loan, i was so mad at this point i said why the f*** does it matter? ! Don’t talk to me, he messages me saying good night sweet dreams i love you. …right after he says how happy hew would be if i left. On a lighter note we do have good days we laughed so hard the other day he can be so sweet, funny, charming, And just make me so happy. Then he runs it. We are suppose to go on a cruise for our honeymoon, And he drops a bomb on me saying he’s invited his ex gf and his best friend, who have married each other, on our cruise. I was so mad ands he couldn’t wrap his head around why i was mad. Thankfully they declined, the fact he would even invite people on a trip that’s suppose to be intimate ands private and celebrating our marriage….I’m running our of ideas with him. It would kill me to leave him though because even after all the terrible hurtful things he says, j love him. I xant imagine being without him. Even if i did wall away, who would be with him and put up with it?! He also had a really bad child hood his dad was an abusive controlling drunk and his mom is and has been on every drug you can think of. my dad was like that when i was little but i dont act out like that..maybe he dealt with it differently? I guess just looking for input from a stranger lol if someone even bothers to read this.

  9. john says:

    Hi, well I read everything you wrote down and well in my case I wouldn’t say it’s that bad or physical at all. I’ve been dating this girl for 4 1/2 years and well what I don’t really understand is that for the first 2 1/2 years she was perfectly fine sweet, romantic, funny, fun to be with and well everything just basically started to change like her attitude just basically changed.. I kept and keep asking why she changed so much yet she always tells me the same thing which is I don’t know why I just didpeopeople change.. I mean I know she lives in a dysfunctional family her mom is a alcoholic and her dad cheated with multiple womem and took care of their kids yet he/she never really we’re there for her.. When I first heard that it broke my heart but the problem is that she uses that and her being half latina and Italian for every little thing but I keep telling her its not a reason… I started to think maybe she had anger issues or something because it was kinda obvious she had a problem.. Whenever id ask a question or would want to talk about my feelings or her’s she’d just get really mad and tell me off and just leave and ignore my calls and text.. And well she’s always so mean and cold she doesn’t show any affection well she occasionally does but not like normal couples would even though im positive I’m far from being in a normal relationship.. So I’m basically not allowed to ask nothing and she always has an excuse to not answer and tell me off… There’s so many things that ate just so wrong but I’d be writing forever haha I’m a sensitive guy I’m very caring even though I look like I’m not… Like we tried breaking up but she came back crying begging me and well apparently I got no balls so I accepted her back.. It worked sure for a day then she’d be back to her normal self.. she basically says on a text she sent me one night “your leaving yes I know but anyways you’ll be back lol so yay night” she just keeps playing with me basically knowing im sensitive and serious about our relationship yet she just keeps telling me off and playing with me and gets mad and moody whenever she doesn’t get what she wants… ( by the way sorry if it isn’t clear I just needed to say this even though nobody really gives a #:-@ I’m just tired of this it’s my first relationship, I never had a girlfriend I’m 21 and I thought she was the one but everyday is just like hell on earth with her… I’m sorry for what I’m going to say but if she always tells me off I’ll just have to say this life is a bitch and I’m f@cking dating one… I’m very a very quiet person and I’m not so good with girls I got lucky to find such gorgeous girl but I guess it was too good to be true… :/

  10. If you think back to that 2 1/2 year mark, did something happen to confirm your commitment to her? Move in together, get pregnant,… something to where she felt she had you hooked? If so, she followed the pathway of an abuser. They show their true selves when you’re deeply in love with who they are NOT.

    Look, 4 years is a good bit of time to be in a relationship. I can understand not wanting to waste that time, to try to press on and see if she turns back into the sweet sexy thing you thought you were with. It isn’t worth it. Cut your losses and get out. You’re 21. That’s about the age I married my abuser. Spent 17 years in the hell you’re experiencing now. She is not worth your life.

    Make a plan to leave, then stay gone. It will be hard. She may even give you a glimpse of sweet and sexy to entice you back. Don’t be fooled.

    http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/
    to to that page
    scroll to the bottom
    download the safety plan and fill it out

  11. Cristin says:

    Hi I’m reading all these posts and can related to plenty of these situations. I’m currently in relationship with, what I think is an emotional abuser. We have been together for 5 years. We met online and he seemed like a good guy. We dated and he eventually moved in with me after a year. From then until now, things changed. He constantly tells me I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m an idiot, I’m stupid and the list goes on and on. Initially the name calling devastated me so much. I had never been called so many ugly names. Now I hear the names and I don’t let them affect me as much. I know I’m not a stupid person. I’m actually quite intelligent. I don’t know if he’ll ever change? I’m just tired of all the BS! I’m sick of all this mess!! There’s a part of me that wants to breakup but then there’s a part of me that doesn’t. I know I don’t deserve the way he treats me. I tell him if he continues to treat me this way, I’ll just break up. He always tells me to go ahead and break up. He says its no big deal for him. He says he’ll be ok. He’s never told me he loves me and he says we are not in a relationship like I think we are? I’m confused by that? He tells me how unhappy he is and we don’t go out anywhere because he doesn’t want to be seen with me. I’m don’t know what else to do. I mean, I do know what to do but just need to get the courage to do it.

  12. Scroll to the bottom of this page: http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/

    Download the safety plan. It will help put you in a stronger frame of mind. No one deserves the treatment he dishes out to you. I’m sorry for your circumstances, but circumstances change. Keep changing.

  13. Dezzy says:

    I know exactly how some of these women feel… It’s hard to leave my abuser… My husband calls me names (pig, bitch, dumb fu$&, piece of **** and the list goes on)… He is always yelling at me and putting me down and hitting me… He bullies me around and stays on me all he time… He beat me up on our honeymoon and then embarrassed me there… He cursed me out In front of other tourist and threw rocks at me while I was walking away… He followed behind me as we crossed a Main Street and threw our drink cups on me… It was so humiliating and said bitch get out of here so I had to walk back to the hotel by myself… I could tell so many stories from a daily basis but I feel trapped… I have a chronic pain and other problems that keep me down but I can’t rest cause if I do he will say I’m lazy or I’m lying… Tonight we were working on a project and he cursed me out and I went inside before he embarrassed me infront of our neighbors… Any advice…

  14. Dark says:

    I have a boyfriend. We meet online but haven’t seen each other yet. We have plans though. The only problem, whenever he is mad at me he keeps on calling me names, just like now, he called me bitch, fucking ass cunt and stupid many times for one simple mistake which I didnt even know would make him mad cause I never mean anything with what I said. He also always tell he will leave many times but there are days wherein he asked me not to leave him. I am getting confused. I love him and I promised not to leave him. I am not sure what to feel cause this happens everyday.

  15. Don’t bother seeing him in person. If he’s abusing you online, he’s going to abuse you in person. Block him from all social websites and do not read his messages or emails. Sounds harsh, but he is harsher.

    Sometimes we make promises that we don’t have to keep. When a person behaves the way your online friend behaves, there is no reason to stay faithful or remain in love with them. He obviously doesn’t love you (not REAL love) if he can call you all those names and emotionally abuse you daily.

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