The Signs of Verbal Abuse
The signs of verbal abuse are usually invisible to the world outside of your family. Verbal, emotional and mental abuse eats you alive from the inside out. Abuse can do heavy mental damage and cause mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Those illnesses have visible symptoms, but after developing the illness, no one but your closest friends may notice. (If you still have friends after being isolated!)
So, the signs of verbal abuse are often felt instead of seen.
The Abuser Knows Some Signs of Verbal Abuse
The abuser knows that some things you say or do in public could give away what he does at home. Abusers are very conscious of what they do to you. If they didn't know what they did, abusers would fix their words and behaviors. Especially after you point them out. Healthy people don't want to hurt others. Hurting others is how abusers survive.
Because the abuser knows what he's doing, your partner expects you to be silent about the problems you have at home. Abusers want to project the happy family image. If you appear unhappy or talk about why you're unhappy with outsiders, the abuser gets embarrassed (and mad at you).
Many, if not most, controlling people have an "adoring public." People at church, work, PTA, in the neighborhood and in the community at large may think your abuser is the bees knees. The abuser often uses his stature in society as a means to further control and isolate you.
Who would believe you if you told about how he acts at home? If you thought, "No one" then your abuser has effectively isolated you to the point of despondency.
Your abuser knows some of the signs of verbal abuse, so you are not allowed to show them. Outside of the house you're expected to be happy. To be a good parent. To have beautiful, smart, popular children. The abuser expects to see you happy because if you aren't, people may wonder about the abuser. We can't have that, now can we?
Symptoms and Signs of Verbal Abuse
The thoughts and feelings victims of abuse often feel are cumulative, built on doubt and humiliation over time. Verbal abuse is sneaky, hidden in the words of someone who says she loves you. It takes a while, sometimes a long while, for victims to notice how they've changed into a traumatized and pained shadow of their former selves.
There are some common symptoms and signs of verbal abuse that victims share. They're internal and unseen by any outsider the abuser brings near his happy family.
- You feel as if you are paraded about like a silent trophy when you attend group functions for the abuser's work or activities. You're afraid to say much of anything while out for fear of retribution for saying the wrong thing.
- You distrust your ability to make sound decisions for yourself or family; you go along with your abuser's poor decisions without much resistance.
- You feel uneasy or anxious much of the time; you may jump at small recognizable sounds or feel your heart pounding for no understandable reason.
- You do not get excited over much of anything; if you are excited over a positive event, then that excitement doesn't last long because you begin to wonder how to present the news to your abuser in order to get the best possible reaction from him.
- You think that you are crazy; you feel that you need professional help to overcome your problems (and professional help is a good idea if you tell the therapist about the abuse in your relationship).
- Your internal voices are critical, judgmental, overpowering at times, and abusive; you hear the abusive words and phrases she speaks to you in your own internal dialogue.
- You keep telling yourself it will be better when she retires, the children are grown, she gets that promotion, she finishes that project, after lunch, ... . You constantly wait for the good times.
- You believe that one day your abuser will realize how good of a spouse you've been and will be sorry; the abuser will do a complete 180 culminating in her admiration and respect for you. This belief is hard to shake because of the nice times in which your abuser stops her abusive behaviors long enough to allow you to think "It's different this time" (a.k.a. the honeymoon period).
Signs of Verbal Abuse Change Into Symptoms of Disease
No one in this world can know what you think or feel unless you tell them (telling your abuser doesn't count - she doesn't care). If you recognized yourself in the list of signs of verbal abuse, then it is up to you to change your thinking. What you think is killing you.
If you continue living in abuse, you will stress your body and mind in ways so twisted that you no longer see his abuse as stressful. Abuse becomes normal.
Your abuser doesn't have to work as hard to control you when you are preoccupied with thinking that you are good for nothing, not abused, and not under stress. If your abuser succeeds in turning your thoughts around to the point where you no longer blame her but instead blame yourself, then her work is a whole lot easier.
Chronic stress caused by verbal abuse or any kind of abuse can lead to or cause a number of physical diseases:
- Heart problems
- Immune system deficiencies
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stomach issues
- Sexual and reproductive problems
- Lung troubles
- Skin/Complexion issues
The signs of verbal abuse can lead to disease, physical and mental, that could kill you. It's your choice whether you allow that to happen or not. Your thinking patterns feed your disease, so the best thing to do is change what you think.
You cannot change your abuser, you can only change yourself.
How Do I Stop the Verbal Abuse? (Part 1)
Reach Out - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 2)
Educate Yourself - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 3)
Self Reliance - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (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, May 8). The Signs of Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/05/how-to-stop-verbal-abuse-part-6-wrap-up
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Abuse against me
In town that day-they offered from 8am to come bring crackers and soup and meds- my guy told them a
Day he was gonna get it for me-before my family left town now 8 hrs later he said oh I’m on my way- once Family left town -have a military family- he jetted - leaving me with nothing- I hadn’t been that sick in 20 yrs
This article is pretty on point to My Life experience living on eggshells. And I should be grateful....BUT GOD..but GOD
Here's an article on <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/07/the-difference-between-arguments-and-verbal-abuse/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">the difference between arguments and verbal abuse</a>,
you may find it insightful. You do not deserve to be treated that way, ever. Here's another article on <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/10/coping-with-verbal-abuse/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">coping with verbal abuse when you can't just leave </a>
In case something like that happens again, there are some techniques in there for coping and response methods. I hope this was helpful and feel free to reach out anytime,
The worst is, i have started to self harm. I cant stand when he is mean and tirns his back on me in bed. I want love, caresses, sweet words! So when it gets really cold and mean i start biting myself and banging my head to the wall. He hates that and says i only want drama. Last time i cried, please hug me, please hold me, love me, help me, and he just says NO I DONT WANT TO, I DONT LIKE YOU RIGHT NOW, I WANT TO SLEEP, IF YOU WANT TO HURT YOURSELF GO AND JUMP OUT THE WINDOW BUT DONT INVOLVE ME!
I think thats really mean to say. Now i am not the best person either but i wouldnt do that. The compliments have ceased and now its just this. What do i do? I dont want to leave. Please dont just say seek help, i mean how do you assess this situation?
I currently have bite marks on my arms. A bruise on my left shoulder. A fractured finger from being kicked. I also have words running around in my head about my children hating me. This was all from my abuser. A woman. She hits me then calls the police. The police believe her because she is a woman. I find the 'he' thing very hurtful. It should never be used and there are no English excuses to use it. Men are abused just as much as women. By using it you are conforming to a stereo typical perception.
This is the last statement of your article. So I ask "now what?". We finally gain the realization that this is their problem and not ours. We have been singled out, castrated from the family, town and closest friends. We are in this all alone without anyone thinking that there is a problem with HIM. Left all alone, feeling completely victimized.
What are the steps to "change ourselves".
Now, we have better understanding. We have created greater boundaries which creates greater stress. We begin to line up the future with a plan of action. But we are completely scared to leave. Left with little finances. Not knowing how to get on our feet without being in the street and starting over as though we where a teenager at almost the age of 60.
Tell me how?
The first steps involve reaching out:
1. Now that you know where you stand with the "friends and family," you must reach out and develop relationships with organizations, the people in those organizations, and make new friends. The new friends aren't meant to be escape vehicles. They're meant to support you as you go through the changes.
The organizations are there to provide groups for you to attend. They're a way to stop feel less alone and more competent. The feeling that you're starting like a teenager is untrue - a product of the abuse that diminished your spirit and your hope. You're almost 60. You have valuable life experience that will aid you.
2. Visit your doctor and find out if you're depressed and/or anxious or have another mental illness that abuse could cause. A big one is PTSD. If you do have an illness, work with your doctor to treat it. You can feel better with treatment.
3. Get a therapist whether you have an illness or not. This is the one person who will be "yours" - you choose him or her, and you fire him or her if they don't help you. Tell the therapist right off the bat that you need help dealing with and leaving an abusive relationship. Often, therapists that practice cognitive behavioral therapy work well for abuse victims. (You see, abuse has a way of turning us inside out and around on ourselves. CBT has a way of helping you think clearer, behave and react differently to abuse.)
If you can't see a therapist, make a promise to yourself to call the NDVH (http://thehotline.org) one day each week. It isn't "therapy" but it is therapeutic to talk to someone who understands, a place where you can vent. And get your hands on a CBT workbook. You can find them on amazon.com easily.
The next changes involve the fear:
1. You are a planner, so you'll understand this well. Write down what you're afraid of encountering. For example, "What if I can't make it financially on my own?" This is a HUGE question. It is too big to answer all at once. So break it down. For example, "What if I can't find work? What if I can't pay the rent? What if my car needs repaired?"
You see where this is going, right? When you get to a smaller question, you can begin answering them. What if you can't find work? Answer this question by finding the job-finding agencies in your county/parish, discover what they have to offer. Can syou start looking now? Perhaps an organization offers courses for entering the workforce (how to prepare a resume, how to work an interview, etc.). Find out what is there.
After you answer all of the what-ifs as well as you can, you will feel more secure and less fearful. You will also discover answers to questions you haven't even considered yet.
2. Honor your fear. It is FINALLY going to do you some good. The problem is that over the years, you've learned to be fearless. You stay in loud arguments that would have any of the neighbors running from your home. You face off with a man who you know is stronger, physically. You've taken punishments as if you lived in a POW camp. And you're still here.
But now, you need to let the fear surround you. Stop letting these fearsome situations bounce off of you as if they are no big deal. Honor your fear of leaving by seeing how fearful you *should* be for yourself. There's a great book by Gavin DeBecker called "The Gift of Fear" that helped me understand this concept very well. When I realized that I was putting up with life-threatening behaviors (threats, threatening behavior, diminishment of my spirit, etc.), my home life became clear to me. I should be more afraid of HIM than of what lived outside my walls.
You know what? Email me. I'll set you up with a mentor. There's much more I could write... but I have to go on. My email address is verbalabusejournals at gmail dot com.
YOU CAN DO THIS. You can work your way into the truth. You can save yourself.
like myself, reading your helpful article. You may want to consider if your subconscious feelings might have influenced your (non)-decision to avoid having to make that comment by simply writing he(she) in the text. Whatever your motivation, I hope it is helpful to realize I, for one, did feel offended as a male, despite your disclaimer.
I am a female who was abused by a male. When I write about my situation, I will use the pronouns as needed to be truthful. In general, because more women die at the hands of their partners than men do, I speak of male abusers, female victims. I cannot accommodate everyone's situations (gay, lesbian, heterosexual male, transgender relationships). It's a freaking pronoun nightmare. Hence, the disclaimer.
My subconscious is as clear as day. And if it weren't, does that make the article any less useful to you?
So, as I've asked men to do for a long time now: If you see the pronoun "she" just change it in your mind to say "he." After all, women have "understood" that the masculine form of words speak to and for us, too. I'm not offended by all the "he's" and "his's" I read every day, so I don't think it's too much to ask for you to infer a masculine pronoun.
You deserve a life of happiness. The situation you described sounds like a nightmare.
I was very recently in your shoes. Masters degree, very successful career. 29 years old and engaged to an abusive man. But I married him. I knew his anger, violence, his abuse. But I did it anyway because I believed he could change. I thought he just needed love, support, and stability. I thought I could give that to him.
I am in the middle of a divorce right now. Barely married a year, but there was nothing I could do. He wired that way, and it only got worse.
Save yourself. Be strong. Don't let the guilt cloud your judgement. There is a feeling in the gut, do you have that? Gnawing and ugh, just awful. Knowing you are in over your head. Knowing it's not the way you're supposed to be treated. Listen to it. Save yourself. And above all, don't waste the pretty.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
The initial signs of verbal abuse did not take long to appear. Constant criticism, name calling , belittling , trying to make me feel worthless without him, constant accusations about my family, trying to make me feel helpless and dependent on him although I was earning as much as he did , wrongful accusations to the point I was thinking he was talking about someone else (bad with money, bad with housework, not caring about the house, not sharing common expenses which were completely untrue) . He also had a very weird relationship with his mother (he has had a hard childhood, being abandoned by his father with minimum contact and grew up as an only child by an insecure, psychotic mother who has never recovered from her divorce) with constant guilt being used by her towards him and us as a couple due to the fact that she lives alone in another town and we had to visit her every Saturday which used to cause me tremendous pressure and stress, not being able to decide for my own schedule on weekends.
Our relationship was always hard to cope with, constant efforts, fighting to the point where I was embarrassed from neighbors to see me afterwards , it was generally hard. Walking on eggshells was my life , and imagine I was a strong , self sustained and educated woman . I can't understand why did I ever put up with this . Being with him was simply hard .
My abuser had the image of mr perfect to our close environment. Loving , caring , always helping with the housework, being relationship material. Even in private he was very loving with me when he wanted . I was even told by many female friends that they would wish for their husband to be more like mine. He would simply be another person in public . When I finally broke my silence and confided the details to friends and family they thought I was referring to someone else. Another thing that made me dispute my judgment even more .
We got engaged last year and he forbid me to discuss anything about the wedding till when he said so. Two months later he hurt me with his words saying he despised me , I made him sick etc until one day we had an argument about something stupid and he asked for the ring back and kicked me out of the house . Living with him under the same roof was a constant struggle : not only did I have to put up with his bad character , I was kicked out of the house millions of times until my insecurities took a toll on me. I left him on that day and he begged me to go back . I did go then (I was only engaged for 2 months) but was emotionally numb, full of hate and disappointment, unable to try for this relationship. Still I couldn't go. This feeling never went away .
A few months earlier , I decided to change into a new job. The impact on my psychology was rather bad as I am terrible with change and I was slightly depressed for a few months . He decided he could not stand me , he threatened to leave me and he could not be around me because of all the stress I created . He decided to sleep on the couch for 2 months as he couldn't be anywhere near me. Let alone the constant name calling on how unworthy I was for feeling this way , how I messed up his life and our lives by being depressed about my work and how he could not tolerate me. We finally had a huge fight for an irrelevant reason where he threw all of my belongings in the corridor and started screaming at me to get out, threw me a whole bottle of water in my face , tried to lock me in the room and was pushing me hard against the wall ( I am very petite and he is a very big guy- that didn't stop him from laying his hands on me) . I didn't leave but couldn't live with myself after all this . Not only did he give me zero support when I needed him but he also made things harder for me . His ability to make a person feel better is simply non existent. A few days later he demonstrated similar behaviors when I Complained because he was very rude on me on the phone (told me to 'kick my brain off' because I was busy while talking to him and he lost patience) so he told me to go to the room as he couldn't stand me and that he would make me sleep on the couch . I decided to leave him once again. I was feeling very wrong to have someone treat me this way. I came to my parents house for a few days and he begged me to go back . I did go back just to find out his only intention was to threaten me to quit my job or else he would abandon me. He even had his bags packed when I went to 'discuss'. I absolutely denied , he implied that the root to all of our problems was my job and that he couldn't be with me while I was there. He said he would support me but I simply said no (been working since 21 , fully self sustained and I was not willing to be financially dependent from a guy who said I was not contributing when I was paying half the rent and expenses plus a guy that kicked me out practically every month). He threatened and insisted for 5 long hours where he got me to a point where I couldn't wait for him to leave . He did leave but that of course wasn't the end to my problems . Constant texting , psychological pressure while I was at work and many more , got me to a point where I could not operate and I was told off by my superior for not meeting up his expectations at work. I took him back and I still don't know why. He clearly can't change and I clearly can't try. Of course , we had another fight after that because of the fact that he decided he doesn't like my parents as they turned their back against me when I was having job troubles . That isn't true . I felt I couldn't take any longer . Out final fight was all I could take and all to make me realize he could never change . We were having all this trouble due to his behavior (I do take responsibility for my reactions for work) and he still insisted on creating more problems when he promised he would change . He even said he was willing to try counselling (promised the same last year but didn't go) but I really don't thing he is a position to understand what he is doing wrong let alone fix it . I am also powerless to try . I am drained . I do have feelings but he killed most of them. I am now at my parents once again and I told him I am calling the wedding off and want us to separate. He doesn't accept it; he says all is my fault for not trying to leave things behind me since last year. Truth is I was so angry and hurt I couldn't. He thinks this is no excuse. I am in a dead end . I have his deadlines to cope with (have to give a final answer by tomorrow) plus the wedding stress (meaning call it off) and I cannot even trust myself anymore that I can make the right decision. I feel that I have lost faith in myself so much that I can't even decide what's best for me. Guilt is also an issue for not trying since last year . I do know I deserve better . I earn a very good salary, I am pretty, young educated and a good person and I really can't figure out what is wrong with me and why can't I just stop this sick and toxic relationship. A part of me blames myself for not trying and another part simply screams get away, it will get worse. Help!!!!!
He hasn't ruined you. You reached out for help.
Yes, technically, there are laws in NC that protect you from physical violence (but not verbal/emotional abuse). I am uncertain how well the law will protect you from physical abuse because I don't know how your local police and any judge assigned to you would react to domestic violence calls, never mind that you are a male complainant.
The last time my ex put his hands on me, I called the sheriff but they couldn't make him leave the home because my bruises hadn't developed yet. (No proof.) However, the next morning, after my bruises showed, I was able to get an ex-parte order which removed him from the home.
An ex-parte order works exactly like a restraining order with the added benefit of forcing the spouse to leave the home so you can go back there until things are "sorted out" in court.
I have absolutely no idea how to advise you. I truly believe you should secretly speak to an attorney and find out what your options are. Also, check with your local department of social services. They will have a domestic violence counselor who can perhaps help you navigate the system.
1. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (they have translators if you need one). The NDVH, at http://thehotline.org, can listen and advise you where to find help locally.
2. Download this safety plan and use it: http://verbalabusejournals.com/pdf/comprehensive-safety-plan-print.pdf It can help you stay safer at home until you find a way out.
Keep all of what you do a secret from him AND his friends.
Some other options include finding a job so you can move out (he will yell, but you need the money). Could you ask family to send you money? If so, try to have it sent to you Western Union or to a PO box (you'll have to rent one and keep it secret). Deposit the money in your own checking account -definitely not a joint account and not one in his name only. Also, check at your university. There should be a counselor who can advise you. Perhaps there is a dormitory where you could stay or perhaps you could work for the college. I had a job as a note taker at one community college and they also hired translators.
You can sign up for an email mentor (someone who has left an abusive relationship) here: http://verbalabusejournals.com/mentoring-program-for-domestic-violence-survivors/
I sincerely hope you do these things and follow the advice from the NDVH. It won't be easy, but nothing worth the effort is ever easy. Stay as safe as possible and remember to keep your research and planning a secret from him.
Codependent No More - Melody Beattie
The Language of Letting Go - Melody Beattie
Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no - Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend
I agree with your friend. Hold on to the house at least until after a year of counseling and see where you stand at that time.
Remember the abuse is not your fault. Even the "good" times leave you walking on eggshells hoping she won't do it again. There's no time to relax or set your thoughts straight living that way.
Thoughts and prayers with you.
What about disability? Have you applied?
In a very short time we enjoyed each other compony till we decided to live together. For the first month i noticed the shifting of mood from high to low . In my assessment from the beginning there is something not right but i ignored. One time he admitted to me that his taking certain medication for depression which i figured from the beginning because of mood swings. For the first 3 months together he could become very angry to one minute very sweet and apologizing of his behaviour. His been depressed since he was young. He came from an alcoholic, family. The father is a gambler, womanizer, alcoholics and so parents got divorce when he was 13 years old. For all those years i noticed that i become sad from time to time. Im afraid to confront him when times that he rage on me for what reason i don't even know. He say things, pointing fingers on my face , slamming doors and throwing things. Thought is just some kind of side effects from different medication his taking so i decided to help him out instead of aggravate him. On and on and on for many years he behave the same. He will say something when he doesn't get his way that he actually not attracted to me then after that apologizing and he would say he loves me that he would never be where his at if not because of me.
I continue to just calm down and support him and i didn't know that I'm abused this way verbally, emotionally and psychologically.after the separation he still try to control me , still want to plan for my life and choose a lawyer for me to work on my legal matters. I became so depressed couldn't go back to work after separation for almost 2 years. He accused me of being greedy , manipulative and so on but i just realized that that wasn't me but actually describing himself.He also has a narcissistic traits big time. By the way i am a registered nurse specializing Nephrology and he is a doctor in internal medicine. I help him pretty much in acquiring his medical licence here for 8 long years and . He planned to leave me after he got his licence because i became useless of him. Thats one of the narcissistic traits. Im in the process of starting a court application and one of this day will be seeing in court. Im glad to find this blog its very helpful..