Giving affection to your abusive partner can trigger verbal abuse. Verbal abusers may lash out because they can’t give affection. Don’t get me wrong, they can provide acts of love when it suits them, but they aren’t able to give and receive affection mutually. Often, verbal abuse and problems with physical contact go hand in hand: abusers may withhold affection or contact from partners as punishment, or criticize them for being too affectionate or needy. But it all boils down to the same underlying problem. If there’s one thing my past relationship taught me, it’s that verbally abusive personality types can’t give affection in a healthy, mutually beneficial way, and this is why.