Mental Health Blogs

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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.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

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:


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This entry was posted in Abuse in Marriage, Abuse in Relationships, Abusive Anger, Abusive Behaviors, Accusing, Anger, Confusion, Fear, Gaslighting, Helplessness, Hopelessness, Hurt, Insinuating, Recognizing Abuse, Sadness, Shame, Stopping Verbal Abuse, Teen Dating, Verbal Abuse Signs, Work Place Abuse and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

169 Responses to Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

  1. Rjp says:

    Here is how my day went: I got up at 7 to take care of 5 kids who stayed the night. I fed them breakfast. I fed them lunch. During that time I cleaned house because my spouse stayed in bed till 11 and needed the house clean for friends who were coming over that afternoon. My partner got out of bed got ready and went to the store to to buy food for the party. During the party I took care of the kids. (They are 12 and 8 so that is a pleasure.) after the party it was off to town with more friends. Then finally later I was bad because that night I played a game with kids when “I came home to be with you”. That evening I cleaned up after party. Spouse kicked me out of bed and mocked me in front of kids. Oh. And I was also griped out cause the yard was not mowed and edged. Here’s my question. I am the husband. My wife stays at home. She has a housecleaner. How can I not be verbally abusive? I’m serious. This is not a joke. So many things on the verbally abusive list above I want so say and I do say many catty remarks. I really want to know what to do.

  2. Lana Avaloz says:

    @Rjp , I read your comment and I was shocked , because at first I thought for sure this woman is being so neglected and mistreated. But to find out you’re a man suffering this really did surprise me. It’s not acceptable what is happening to you and it is quite normal to want to lash out to this kind of ill treatment, I know I’ve done it when I was in an abusive marriage..I have learned from experience that our children pick-up on everything we say, even if we have all rights in our own mind to defend ourselves , they see it as a frightening experience ,and it causes them to act out in the same manner..I had to pray a lot and seek God for help with my mouth , because it wasn’t making things better. I sought him about all this and he helped me to stop, because it wasn’t making things better anyway.. And I suffered a lot of verbal abuse and physical, even the children went through the same thing..After years of praying I finally found peace with taking the kids and leaving…I have seen a huge change in all of my children, they are slowly being healed from all the garbage they had been subjected to. Now your situation is sounds somewhat different, because you two don’t have the physical abuse present, so I hope you can try to talk to your wife and let her know how serious this behavior is affected you and the children ..and above all things pray for the Lord’s guidance , believe me , he will answer you !! GOD BLESS YOU

  3. Jm says:

    Instead of hating on these people, sometimes they are entirely unaware of their behaviour. I sometimes don’t realise I am being dominating and if nobody tells me then it isn’t until one day I look back and understand my wrong behaviour. I have been taking steps at a time to improve myself but I’m not perfect, nobody is, but at least I try. If somebody had told me I was being dominating and aggressive I would have been mortified. The way I speak to people is how I am used to communicating and I am not physically aggressive though. I just have a high opinion of myself and people don’t tend to like that too much. It’s redundant though, I would still have appreciated someone sitting down with me and explaining that my behaviour is frightening/demeaning or any other negative after affect and then maybe we can work on moving forwards. Fair play if you get physically assaulted just walk away, it’s wrong. If you are just feeling stepped on and down try speaking. People are too quick to condemn each other these days, certain things I understand are different, but I also notice a lot of things which could be altered by communicating.

  4. JM, you are the type of person I talk about when I say “some abusers do change”. Your mortification at behaving poorly is quite enough to send you on a mission to be a better person.

    Not so with most perpetrators of abuse and violence. If it were true of the repeat offenders, then we wouldn’t have repeat offenders.

    Also, communication with abusers only goes so far. They will pretend to work with their victim long enough to get the victim calmed down and willing to give them another chance. After believing you love someone for a while, it is not so easy to walk away because the victim’s emotions work against them.

    Keep your high opinion of yourself! In a world of people-gone-condemnation-crazy, you may be the only one who has it.

  5. desperate says:

    I am 17 and met my partner about 2 months ago. He was really nice at first and we rushed things so I lived with him alot and got a job where he worked. I found out just before he met me he had a lot of sexual partners. I later found out I was pregnant and things started going horribly wrong. It started he would get angry if I went out without telling him and when I got back he would accuse me of cheating and get angry when I apoligized and one particular night he strangled me. He didnt want me to abort the baby but now he says things like abort the baby because when its born I wont have anything to do with it. And says how doI know its even mine and I will take you to court and get full custody of this kid. Then very recently he introduced me to one of his friends whos a girl and she was really nice. Then one day last week we were out with her and I ordered the wrong takeout food and he called me a cunt and a prick and told me to stop embarrassing him in front of his friends and that things were much easier when he was single. His friend told him not to talk to me like that but then I caught them talking badly of me when he thought I was sleeping. He now sees this girl everyday and shes always sleeping over his on the floor and when I tell him I dont like it he tells me ‘im sorry I had a life before I met you’. He gets angry overnothing and checks my phone and once through my phone at a wall. HHe also says in anger ‘im gunna hit you in a minute’. He doesnt like my close relationship with my family and stops me seeing them. He messages people on my phone pretending to be me while i sleep making them not like me. I get alot of bruises which he claims are from play fights but they hurt. And when i cry he says crying is for weak people and he doesnt have any sympathy for me.Everyone is telling me to get out while I can but he can be so nice. I am scared and extremely stressed I dont no what to do about my unborn baby and wanted to know is there anything I can do to stop the anger lash outs. His reaction is very apoligetic most of the time and other times he maipulates the situation so it is my fault. I just need very detailed genuine advice quickly.

  6. He is a dangerous man. My advice is to leave him now before the baby is born. The chance that he can ‘take the baby’ now is much less likely than it will be later. Call his bluff. You can deal with possible custody issues later. Leave him now.

    Victims of domestic violence whose abuse cooked them are 7 times more likely to die at the hands of their abuser than those who have not been choked.

    Leave.

  7. freedom says:

    all I can say get out asap. don’t turn back. it’s going to hurt. you’re going to go through heaps of obstacles, but look at the difference…the devil pit of hell or god, peace an freedom. be real be honest with yourself. they don’t change. all tactics are just a game. it’s not love. it’s a big FAT NOTHING. jump the fence, rid the fear, you can do it. I never thought i,d ever get out of my pit. I thought there was no way out. 12 years abused – all forms of abuse. there is light – go deep within u, find it, grab it and fly. I tell you when I told my story to the detectives I was drained tired, but when I went outside the grass was greener, the colors, flowers, the air – I could breathe. i’m on my way to recovery an will endure. believe. trust in god. yes he saved me he to has opened many doors to truths. people are listening, taking some accountability in their part too. we are strong. we will survive. god loves us all. there is hope. god bless you all, kiakaha …

  8. rw miller says:

    Pathetic! Fucking pathetic. You women are the most emotionally abusive of the genders! You play your head games until men are at their bursting point, and then play innocent when they’ve finally exploded.

  9. RW, I am so sorry your experience with women has been so horrid. Like many victims of abuse, it seems like you might have endured a string of abusive relationships. I’m sorry if I’m wrong about that, but the fact that you reference “you women” causes me to think you believe all women are like the one(s) you’ve known.

    There is evidence that both genders emotionally abuse one another in equal proportions. 50/50. I wish you could talk about your abuse without blaming “all women” for some women’s behavior. I understand you are angry. It is not right to lash out like this at people you do not know.

    I hope you feel more peaceful soon.

  10. jellz says:

    I’m 20 my boyfriend is 23 we just had a beautiful baby girl but he also has his ex pregnant. Ever since I had my daughter he verbally abuses me. Daily he finds ways to make me feel bad about myself. When I cry he calls me a cry baby and says he hates crybabies. He also is constantly talking to the other mother of his child. I’m not even sure if hes still sexually active with her. Someone please help me.

  11. diane says:

    Hi Jellz. I am a good bit older and had a child with a man that verbally abused me and it just gets worse. My advice to you is to contact your local Women’s Aid centre. The number you will find in the yellow pages or the internet. They have a 24 hour helpline. Noone deserves to be spoken to that way and he is wrong for doing that. You have a right to be respected and loved and if he is making you feel bad about yourself he is showing you no respect as a woman and the mother of your daughter. These type of men do not change and it is so important to keep yourself and your daughter safe. Verbal and and sort of emotional abuse can move onto physical abuse. You need to tell someone that you trust what is happening. Can you speak to your mum or a family member? Jellz women’s aid are really fantastic and can explain and support you if talking to someone else is not an option. A man that truely loves you will never disrespect you or make you feel bad about yourself. You are doing nothing wrong. Men like this make you feel That it Is your fault they are treating you this way. Phone women’s aid they will help you. Be safe. Your emotional wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Take care and speak to someone.

  12. Cindy says:

    I was searching for a way to get across to my husband how hurtful he can be. When he gets upset there is no talking to him. He just gets more verbally abusive. My day revolves around cooking for him, paying the bills, calling the repairman, let’s just say I handle all aspects of our lives. Many times I do it because I hate how my husband comes across to people. And he not only is abusive to me but to others if things don’t go the way he thinks they should go. He tells me I look like death, I am fat, I am a bitch, I need a backbone because I let people walk all over me, it goes on. Today I told him that like everyone else, he walks all over me and that did not go over very well. I try hard not to lower myself to his level but after times of not saying anything, I just blurt out things to attack him like he verbally attacks me. If I don’t say something after awhile, I begin to cry from hurt and frustration. Then I get more meaness thrown in my direction. I try to rationalize that my husband is always depressed and has bad self esteem so he wants me to feel as bad as he does. He is sure everyone is out to cheat him and everyone uses you. I try to see the good in people and find most times I haven’t been wrong. I just get bad headaches when my husband starts his ranting and raving and I hate his continued bad behavior. Many times he works himself into a frenzy when there is no reason but if he gets what he thinks is a look from someone or speaks to someone and he isn’t acknowledge then he is on a rampage for hours. His comment to me many times is that at least he doesn’t physically hit me.

  13. Jessica H. says:

    I heard all of this and so much more. The sad thing is I shouldn’t caught the disfunction in the beginning before I got too emotionally attached. At first he was super doting until two weeks in when he started accusing me of cheating, and 1 month in when despite agreeing to be exclusive he refused to respect me by not talking to other women, and again 3 months in when he left me in the middle of an unknown town with a broken leg due to being detained for public drunkenness only to get out and blame me for the whole incident. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg. I recently stupidly moved in with him and despite his promises to cut down on drinking he gets drunk every night and insists on calling me every name in the book, showing me nude pictures of “girls he’s **uked”, telling me i’m too stupid to make it into medical school, etc. I have absolutely no idea why i put up with it all and yet i can’t seem to leave :(

  14. MThom says:

    I need help! I don’t know where to turn! I NEED advice! I’ve been emotionally abused for 4 years now! Ya know the typical, yelling, screaming, blaming me, always trying my best to make him happy yet nothing is ever food enough, been called names, very intimidating, even acts COMPLETELY different when he’s not home. Catch is he suffers from depression. Well finally I’ve had enough! I have 4 children I’m forcing to stay in a horrible situation! Past week he claims he will respect my wishes and will move out. He didn’t but he did go to a phycologists and told her he wanted to kill himself. Now my husband is in the hospital! What the heck do I do?! He’s been on and off depression for years! Its supposed to be for better or worse, sickness and health. But I’m still being abused! :( I just don’t know what to do anymore

  15. louise stephenson says:

    Hi I’m hearing imparied n my husband is proudly deaf,we’re Separated cos he verbal abuse me of copy my mother the way she does for years.his mother do the same cos she doesn’t wanted us to be togethers.we have a child togethers.his mother mentally n control him kept him at his patents.he’s 47..I just getting on with thints.they really have upset me make me cry .thought it was funny.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I have been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years now. and everything started off perfect.
    But since March this year things have changed. He is drinking ALOT!!! When he gets to drinking he talks so mean, and treats me so rudely. Then he will get on this kick of I am cheating on him. Which I am not. I work full time, I go to school at night, I have 2 sons that my oldest plays travel baseball so I am constantly busy.
    I have recently started to lose myself. When he starts saying F U when he is drunk, once he has got into my face and spit in my face. I mean literally spit not accidentally while he was yelling. Well I have started fighting back, and I know that is not the right thing to do. But Its like I have to defend myself. I have to constantly prove myself and I can’t just leave. We just moved in together, he bought me a car.
    I do love him so much, but I just don’t understand why someone feels like they need to talk down and constantly have an attitude with someone they supposedly love. He tells me that he knows I’m cheating on him and for me to go be with him, but I would not ever cheat. I am not that type of person.
    I just feel lost.

  17. Lauren Hudgens says:

    I’ve been separated from my husband for almost 3 years.we split joint custody of my girls. Every time he gets mad at me he text me calling me a whore, slut,cunt,bitch. He says I make him want to vomit. I disgust him. He has sent several messages telling me multiple ways I should kill myself. Then one day hettold me if he could kill me and get away with it he would. Everything was my fault. I did no right and to this day even tho we are separated I’m still a piece of shit. He keeps my girls away from me. Hearing crap once in a while I could forget it. But almost daily and I’ve done nothing. He has been with multiple women since the day I left. I’ve only been with one and still with him. What can I do to get the harassment to stop? He is taking me to my breaking place and I am struggling to cope..

  18. Jose says:

    Hi, why don’t you also write about when a the wife verbally and mentally abuse the husband, that happened to me, to the extreme that I was becoming violent, and I left her with my two year old daughter. After four years, of no interacting with her or my child she showed up at my work asking me to start over. After a few day of thing to work things out I found out from my daughter she found herself a boyfriend. After I confront her all the abuse came back, now I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to loose my child, but I can’t deal with my wife because she is abusive, just wife because we have not divorced, I filed for divorced but she told the judge she wants to work things out, judge sent us to counseling she never went.
    My point, man also get the same abused, I wished she would had hit me, because those scar go away my emotional scars are affecting still even after four years, I have lost myself confidence, self steema and worthiness.

  19. Amy Kirincich says:

    Thank you for this. I found myself to be that girl. How I ended up with an abusive boyfriend at this stage in my life floors me. Everything came to a head this weekend when he accused me of cheating (a common thing – I was always a whore, a bitch or something) because he believes he got an STD, no medical evaluation – just his own diagnosis. Did I mention I had just been to the doctor and all is well. So I was threatened physical abuse and of course the usual verbal assault that occurs when his anger flares or he drinks (Did I mention he was an alcoholic as well.) I know my truth and I know that I did not at any point cheat on him though I can not say the same for him as I had a phone call one morning from his girlfriend. But Sunday morning as I was living this nightmare again, I was doubting myself. Wondering who I had been with. Finally I stopped myself and SAID “STOP!! I did not do anything.” I figured at this point I was experiencing a form of trauma related stress. Finding this blog has been very insightful and eye opening.
    We would argue about his treatment of me often, he would blame it on alcohol (when he was in DUI related classes it was better because he was not drinking). The night of the last class we were suppose to go out, he decided to go to the bar instead and of course I was a kill joy. I told him I was done with him then, to not contact me. Hours later it is “Are you still mad at me?” The relationship was never about me or my needs. It was always about him.
    So now, I am confused and depressed. Going through the loss of my own emotions and the realization of what I PUT up with. People ask me how I am and I just cry. This is not my typical behavior.
    Anyway, I just want to say thank you. Talking about it really does help. I have been keeping everything bottled up, because I was covering for him. I needed to remember “Not my circus, Not my monkeys.”

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