How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?
The answer to "How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?" is...drum roll, please...You can't! I wish that you could control how another person speaks and how they act. But you can't.
Raise your hand if you've ever asked your verbally abusive husband or boyfriend to speak to you in a nicer way. Raise your hand if you've tearfully begged your verbally abusive wife to be kinder to you. Wow. That's a lot of hands.
Did it work? No. At least not forever. The next time your abuser felt turmoil, s/he used their anger or sly verbal manipulations to bring you down again because you cannot stop verbal abuse.
Why You Cannot Stop Verbal Abuse
Verbal abusers gain control and they benefit from abusing you. By abusing you, they feel more in control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. When the abuser infiltrates your every thought, you're more likely to do things and say things the abuser implanted in your mind. By controlling you, he or she gains more control over his or her life, too.
Your abuser knows that after verbally abusing you, you will react in predictable ways. You may cry, you may yell, but after awhile, you go back to them with an open heart, begging for them to love you. And every time you beg to be worthy of your abuser's love, they get a self-esteem kick out of it.
Even if they are the ones begging you to love them again, they see your agreement as a win. The abuser does not compromise, even if he or she pretends to do so. Every conversation you have is either a win or loss for the abuser. And the abuser hates to lose. Therefore, your abuser will drone on and on and on until they feel like they've won. And the thrill of getting you back or winning the conversation is enough to keep them coming back for more.
Your desire for them to love you makes them feel important and in control. When you tell your abuser how you feel, or how you want things to be, or how much you love them, you give your abuser ammunition. By opening your heart to your abuser, s/he gains a little more insight into what makes you tick. When you open up, your abuser learns new ways to hurt you, and then files the information away for the next time s/he feels out of control and needs you to react in a predictable way so they can feel at peace and in control.
You can't stop verbal abuse. You can't stop your abuser from abusing you. They are too invested in you to ever stop abusing you. Your reactions to their abuse makes you an invaluable asset; an asset they do not want to abandon because they do not know how to feel good about themselves without you feeling badly.
More Bad News About Why You Can't Stop Verbal Abuse
Here's the next bit of bad news. You can't teach them how to feel good about themselves in any "normal" way.
It doesn't matter to them if you are the most successful psychologist in America whose focus is on healing families suffering from verbal abuse. It doesn't matter to them how many other people think you are right or knowledgeable or deserve better treatment than the crap your abuser dishes out. You cannot teach an abuser to think differently because you are the target. The abuser's self-proclaimed job is to make you less than who you are so they feel better about themselves. Period.
You Can't Stop Verbal Abuse Because You Are Only A Target
Riflemen and bow hunters learn to hone their skill to hit the bullseye each and every time from the target they use for practice. An abuser learns how to hit you more accurately the next time - how to hit you verbally, emotionally, mentally or physically with greater effect - because you are the target he or she uses for practice.
The only thing you can do to stop the verbal abuse is to remove yourself from it. You must at the very least become a moving target. You can do that in several different ways. Some of you are not ready to physically leave your abuser, and that is okay.
Honestly, you may never leave your abuser. You may choose to stay in your abusive relationship for any number of reasons; I stayed in my abusive marriage for just shy of 18 years. If you choose to stay - it is a choice, believe it or not - there are still things you can do to help preserve your sanity (Domestic Violence Safety Plan: A comprehensive plan that will keep you safer whether you stay or leave).
The next blogs I write will present options to you. For now, try to digest the fact that you cannot stop physical, mental, emotional or verbal abuse from happening to you. The only thing you can do is change how you react to it.
Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out For It (Part 2)
Learn About Verbal Abuse So You Can Stop It (Part 3)
Set Personal Boundaries To Increase Self-Reliance (Part 4)
Develop An Exit Strategy And Safety Plan (Part 5)
The Signs of Verbal Abuse (Part 6)
*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.
Holly, K. (2011, April 17). How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/04/how-do-i-stop-the-verbal-abuse-part-1
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Someone said that marriage is a contract. If one party breaks the contract, the other has no reason to honor the commitment either. I realized that he broke the honor/cherish and sickness/health commitments within a couple weeks of marriage. Why should I stay with a person who was miserable and wanted me to be miserable due to a broken contract?
He has sweet moments because that's part of the game. You have to "remember why you married him" sometimes so you can tell yourself the monster isn't really him, and that the one you loved is still in there somewhere. Those moments are basically very short honeymoon periods.
Start therapy and get your Self back. I don't fault you for the vacations and financial security. Those things are tough to come by. But if you focus on your Self, you can get to the place where you take vacations either by yourself, with your adult kids, or with a different and loving partner. But you won't find your Self or a loving partner so long as you're with this one.
He has a lot of friends and plays cards with them every week. He hates my family (Hell, he hates his family) He don't want me to socialize with anyone but the grand kids. I do anyway, but he don't like it. Now he wants me to tell them not to call me because it bothers him when they call. (just crazy) I mostly keep all of this to myself. Its embarrassing to share. Second marriage, 62 years old, no money and being abused. I searched for this website because I needed to vent. I hope its okay. Thank you for reading this.
You're right - there's not a lot of support for male victims of domestic violence. Visit the NDVH anyway at http://thehotline.org and either chat online or call them. If nothing else, you'll gain validation for your experience. I think one of your best advisors would be an attorney - not for your mental health so much as what you can and shouldn't do on your way out the door.
Find a therapist experienced in abuse and control to help guide you and put your mind back together.
I found support in Al-anon. My ex did drink, but the abuser controls and manipulates in basically the same way as a "mean drunk." Al-anon is for men and women, and they allow you to share only what you want to share. If it helps, your wife's "fits" would be similar to another wife's "drunken behavior."
Don't go to anyone who your wife speaks to - not clergy, kids' teachers, whatever. You don't need anyone backdooring you or undermining you. Reconnect with your family if you can, and reach out to old friends OF YOURS.
I'm not aware of any men's only groups online. MEVAC is for men who want to STOP abusing, and that's not you. WebMD offers a 3-page article that may be of some consolation and help at http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/help-for-battered-men However, the Abuse Helpline For Men is no longer in service. They didn't receive the funding they needed to continue. I did find this page from the UK: http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/ The support there may be helpful, but if it's legal advice you need, talk to an attorney.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I'm sorry you're enduring this abuse.
Oh - download the safety plan at the bottom of this page: http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/
I HAVE TO TRY AND THINK ABOUT EVER WORD I SAY BECAUSE ANYTHING I SAY HE TURNS AROUND, HE WILL NOT LET ME GO ANYWHERE BY MYSELF, HE ALWAYS ACCUSE ME OF LYING TO HIM. HE NEVER JUST TALK TO ME HE SCREAMS AT ME.
I JUST DON'T KNOW WHERE TO TURN. I DON'T SEE ANYWAY OUT BUT DEATH.
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Talk to your doctor about the abuse. If you aren't on antidepressants or antianxiety medications, ask your doctor if they're right for you. Turn to your children, neighbors, friends, and strangers at domestic violence support groups. Visit http://thehotline.org to find local resources.
You're too young to die. There are years of happiness ahead. You just need to reach out to people who can help you, not a blogger like me.
Yes I spoke past and present there - you see, I left my marital home on Mar. 23rd after 6 plus years of verbal abuse ended in my husband telling me on Mar. 22nd that I better leave fast before he has to chop me up. Subsequent to that, about 6 weeks before he started keeping a machete behind our front door. I was totally ignorant of the purpose, and wondered if perhaps he had seen a snake in the house etc. I never, never, never thought he would reach the point of talking like that.
You can only imagine the level of nasty, manipulative, angry, offensive words that he has used to describe me. He used to drink heavily also, and had even starting cursing me and others (all a past way of life for him years ago).
Now that I've left, the verbal abuse continues. He communicates through my dad. My dad is an ex-police and has a manner of keeping people calm. So he has taken it upon himself to keep my husband calm in order for him to send me money. To make a long story short, he has an obligation towards a loan we took out together in 2015. This loan deducts from my salary along with another loan for a car I brought in 2014.
To my disgust, he called my dad on Sunday 3rd March and my dad put him on speaker phone. I was able to hear his tone of speaking. And basically this man has said, that he wants me to communicate with him or else he won't be able to send me money.
Now step back a minute...right away I think...but that's financial abuse...withholding money in order to gain power and control. I must admit I got pretty angry.
Previously, I had send text messages about important matters, but when he was overdoing the texting over irrelevant personal details about himself and his life and, what I knew were mere lies, I had to stop that communication with him.
The mistake I made on Sunday, was to respond with an angry text, telling him that what he's relaying about withholding money if I don't communicate is financial abuse. A mistake cause he returned a text saying that he feels good now that I've texted him and he will now send the money. Gosh, I can't tell you how much I chastised myself for sending that text....he won...he won....he got me to do exactly what he wanted. After that came texts from him as early as 5:30 am, midday, evening, night.
He has been coming up with all sorts of things to try to manipulate me, from saying that past women in his life coming back around him, to saying that he has house or land for me to get my own home, and that he'll pay one of my loans....he's putting before me all sorts of things, hoping that I would grasp at one of his tricks. He has also been pressuring me saying that all he wants is for me to forgive him and he won't bother me and he would continue to give me money.
Like I have "STUPID" written on my forehead right? These things he's saying aren't new to me...they're just some of the same things he used to say while I was with him, now being said in a different way, but obviously with the same motive.
Besides the texting, there's the fact that my life is now filled with fear somewhat. If he uttered the "chop up" talk before, what prevents him from doing it anywhere else. He knows where I work, he knows where my parents live, he knows where my religious meetings are, he knows my car. I am constantly look in the visitor's car park at work, looking over my shoulders at the mall, supermarket, etc. I've left....but I'm under a different level of duress. I must admit I am experiencing a sort of inner peace, even though these new stresses he's presenting.
I come from a very peaceable family. We have a good reputation within the community. Even where I lived with my husband previously, neighbor in that small area, knew me as a quiet person. Therefore I am not interested in making a scene anywhere....but my husband will. He is a don't care person. He is claiming that he has changed. Haahaa...in just over a month right??? I must be really have "STUPID" written on my head.
Anyway, I can't read hearts, only God can. I will never ever know what and if any changes he claims to make are sincere and true. I cannot see myself returning to a person that has been know to twist truths and formulate lies. He's made quite an impacting history for himself. Anyone who falls for his presentation of mildness and change at this time....well, what can I say. Actually, I won't say. I'm not really giving anyone much details about him because my parents and his mother already knows the individual. By the way, he has cursed and abused his own mother many times also.
Ah this comment way too long...I'm outta hear. Just had to share my story, but anyone has any suggestions to offer me, I'm all ears. Just don't tell me to give him another chance...BEEN THERE, DONE THAT way too many times. Chao!
I understand you're saying you do more than yelling. Even so, awareness of your problem is the first step. I can't tell by your name if you're male or female, but it doesn't really matter. The book, "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" by Patricia Evans would help you arrange a contract with the person you're hurting most - an agreement of what will not happen anymore. There's more to it, but I recommend it as a place to start.
I'm happy for you. Although you may be feeling anxious and worried, you're on the right track. Oh - enlist the help of a therapist. Your behavior can change more quickly with professional guidance. Also, look into cognitive behavior therapy. That kind of therapy is a problem:solution type of thing, so it could benefit you.
All my best,
Kellie Jo Holly
You can't make him stop abusing her. Verbal abuse falls under "free speech," and the police CAN'T do anything about it.
Visit http://thehotline.org and talk to the volunteers there. They can help you find resources in your local area. Getting away, with both of you alive, is the best option.
In my view - and I've given this subject a great deal of thought over the years and through my own abusive relationships so trust me when I say I know what I'm talking about - To solve any problem means looking at the mechanics of the problem, understanding the problem, and making sure you look at the problem with a calm and rational view because if you look at your problem in a state of virtual panic you will only succeed in reaching a wrong conclusion. I know this may at times be difficult for some victims suffering with abuse but with patience and perseverance you can do this. It may be that you need to have a positive affirmation to hand so you can remind yourself, say it and believe it. "There is absolutely no way anyone deserves to be abused, no matter what", " I deserve better, I deserve respect, I am precious and I owe it to myself to be good to myself and good for myself".
Being and staying stuck in abuse is a state of mind and body in conflict, you deserve better and you owe it to yourself to have better. Understand that your abuser is the root of the conflict going on in your head because your abuser has conditioned you into believing you are powerless against their abuse, don't believe it, it's complete and utter bull****. Get shot of the abuser and I think you will find that the problem is 90% resolved but remember you must make sure you have your safe plan of action in place before taking that final step to leave the abuse behind. Put a time limit on it if it helps, do everything you can no matter how small to ensure your safe exit from abuse.
For the moment at least you need not concern yourself with the abusers who want to change or feel that they need to change, you just have to let them make the change for themselves and allow them to go at their own pace. What you need to concern yourself with is focusing on yourself and your own situation. Stop focusing on your abuser and get to know yourself better because with understanding comes answers and with answers comes new beginnings. Understand that the verbal abuse you have been subjected to has caused you to feel confused, let's face it who wouldn't be confused after taking repeated verbal poundings to the head!! Snap-out-of-it come to terms with who you are and with why you are allowing someone to abuse you!! Understand yourself and understand your situation, then and only then can you make a sound decision on if and when you leave your abuser behind.
In my view when I hear you say you would rather be homeless I feel sad because you say being homeless would somehow give you dignity! how so? Choosing to leave and become homeless may well remove you from the abusers reach but homelessness will only present you with a different set of horrifying experiences and I'm sure that if you think about it rationally you would be telling yourself that homelessness is not the right way out. You need to plan your exit properly and that means having somewhere safe to go to, having someone supportive to talk to, and most all being strong enough to resist the return pull. You have to plan your exit, stay strong and keep moving forward until you reach your planned destination, it's called having a goal. God may have a plan for your happiness but it is you who has to do the leg-work so don't just sit and wait, get up and get on with what you need to do to reach that happier place.
However recently my wife had an affair. I immediately said I forgive you, but during the last 2 months, any piece of new information about the affair sets me off and I sometimes say things that while true about her and what she did, I wouldnt even say them to my worst enemy or ex girlfriend. I talk about how she betrayed me and even neglected our daughter during the affair. I want more than anything to repair my relationship and want to stop this verbal abuse before it becomes part of me. Will the desire to personally attack her go away when I emotionally heal, is this natural for someone to do after the affair, and what steps can I take to make it and the desire to do it stop.
I wish my ex would have excused himself and took his anger and pain out on an inanimate object in the garage rather than on me, but he didn't. I ended up being the one to leave the house - every time. Why don't you be the bigger person (as if you aren't already - you didn't have an affair) and get away from her when you feel your blood boiling.
A safe place to express your anger could be in therapy. Since you're typically NOT an abusive person, couples' therapy could be a big help for the two of you. Also, talking to a therapist individually would be a great idea.
All I really know about affairs is that finding out is devastating to the non-cheating partner. I don't think there are any "normal" reactions, so I can't say that yours is normal or abnormal. It is simply you. If you don't like yourself when you're angry, then you have to change how you behave when you're angry. How you change is up to you, but again, a therapist is a quick route to a solution or two.
Look up red flags for abusive relationships and you'll probably see your husband in those descriptions, too. It isn't your fault you didn't see the warning signs. And the abuse still isn't your fault if you saw the red flags but thought he would change. It's natural to think that someone who loves you WON'T want to hurt you.
But this guy does.
I don't know how much more I can take..
Today driving I had thoughts of going under a truck semi to end how I feel..
Last night he said he's let me get away with too much!!
I've been too several councilers over the past years and I was given antidepressants plus valluum they made me feel alot happier I was able to cope with my daily living but hw constantly said I was a head case and nut case for taking medication I gave in and eventually weaned myself off them..
Please I need help???
Your situation is causing you to experience suicidal ideation. It's not a big step from that point to actually plan a suicide. Please call a suicide hotline. Not only will they understand what you're experiencing, they'll be able to connect you with doctors in your area. At least that was my experience.
The best counselor I had helped me get stronger. I asked her how to fight the abuse and she gave me tools. Eventually those tools showed me that my ex wasn't going to change. If you go back to therapy, tell your counselor what you want to achieve. It helps them tailor your counseling and you don't spend as much time delving into the past as you do on how to handle the present.
I feel for you, Karen. I was in your shoes. Get your meds. Get to another counselor (remember that you hired him or her, so you're the boss of your therapy). Download this safety plan --> http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/ --> The free one is at the bottom of the page and is the same as the one you would pay for in workbook form.
Hugs to you, Karen. You can help yourself if you let yourself.
I also agree that some abusers believe they are the victim. But they are a victim of the stories they make up in their heads, not what their spouse/SO says or does.
When I asked him about it the next day, he kept yelling at me and said that he did not know when his son was coming. I finally texted his son to find out and his son told me he was coming. I needed to know so that I could have his room ready. That morning he was drinking again early and working on his stuff in the garage. Clearly there were things that needed to be done that day and I was doing my best to get everything done. I asked him for help because I was hosing off the front porch, spraying the bugs around the yard, doing the laundry, and if I asked for him to the pull the hose around for me or anything else, he kept yelling at me to get off his ass. He also kept telling me he did not know when his son would be coming -- yelling at me, ugh... I mean his son is supposed to just show up and then I don't get warning? It's because he was drunk the day before and did not remember. And that is somehow my fault?
I had had enough and before his son showed up I left and spent the night at a local hotel. He was so pissed off when I got home today that he called me an F'ing Btch over and over and told me how I have zero compassion and a zero soul. I have been down this road before many times with him (although for the past year it has been pretty calm) and I have just kept my cool today. I am not letting his insults get to me because I AM a caring person and I DO have a soul. I used to get really upset and cry and then feel worthless. But I have learned to just be strong. Thankfully, I have my 26-year-old daughter to talk to if things get really bad. She knows how he is because she lived with us for nine months. He is never wrong, only I am, in his opinion. And very rarely apologizes, only I do.
He says that if I am not really sorry in how much I hurt him by me leaving to go spend the night in a hotel, than he wants a divorce. He wants me to apologize, in which I did apologize for leaving and not telling him. I just left. I was pretty upset about him yelling at me for asking for help every other sentence. And to be clear -- I am not a nagger. A person can only take so much. Yes, I should have told him that I needed some space and that I was leaving so that was my bad and I fully admit that, but this gives him no reason to repeatedly spew out horrible names towards me and then getting right up in my face.
I don't feel like playing this game and I did tell him that if he wants a divorce then he needs to initiate it. If that's what he wants, okay. But what he is really doing is trying to manipulate me and I am not playing this game. I am not going to let my self worth go down the drain because he feels like he needs to control me because of his insecurities. I just received a text from him saying that I am 100% wrong and that I need to acknowledge it. Ugh...this is ludicrous and fifth-grade behavior. I already apologized for leaving and not letting him know, even though I did let him know when I got to the hotel and that I was not coming home until the next morning.
What I usually end up doing is just apologizing for whatever he wants me to apologize for and move on to end the fire storm. But what I don't do anymore is let my self esteem get down. I used to however. Yeah it's disheartening when things like this happen, but I know I am a loving, caring person and I have done quite a bit for him. If anyone is the selfish one, it's him. He thinks of himself first, spends a ton of time on his computer at the kitchen desk every night after work on eBay, Reddit, and his car and football sites. I sit on the couch in the family room nearby after work and unwind with a couple glasses of wine and watch TV. We don't sit together and watch TV, and I am even fine with that because we can still talk to each other from our spaces.
But when I don't get the help I need, sometimes, I get frustrated. I am a working technology professional with an advanced degree. I also manage the household, budget the money, pay the bills, open the mail, do the laundry (although he does do it once in awhile and he does cook sometimes too), clean the house in between monthly paid cleanings, and then some...He has done quite a bit of remodeling in this house and so that has been good. But I really think the problem is the over consumption of beer. If he starts early, he can get mouthy and then later he is passed out by 6-7 pm on the couch. I get irritated sometimes with that. We even have our lawn mowed every week so he does not even have to mow the lawn accept for the field mow every month or so in the summer. I feel like he has it pretty easy.
So how do I fix this? I don't feel like I can fix it. I just accept it, but sometimes I get frustrated. I am only human and I actually have needs too. But I have found ways to get my needs met. I have a good network of friends, play golf once a week with them, go out for happy hour once in awhile with them, and keep myself busy. We are both in our 50s and this is our second marriage. Kids are out of the house. It is what it is.
Not your fault. Abuse of any kind is never your fault. You describe the typical abuser. Yes, chances are good that your children will either mimic him or marry an abuser. HOWEVER, if you get free (mentally first, physically later), you can save yourself and the children.