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The Signs of Verbal Abuse

To stop verbal abuse, you must recognize the signs of verbal abuse. Learn more about the impact and signs of verbal abuse. Save yourself. Read this.

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

To stop verbal abuse, you must recognize the signs of verbal abuse. Learn more about the impact and signs of verbal abuse. Save yourself. Read this.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)

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*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.

Author: kholly

Kellie Jo Holly advocates for domestic violence and abuse awareness through her writing. You can find Kellie Jo on her website, Amazon Authors, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

83 thoughts on “The Signs of Verbal Abuse”

  1. The thoughts and article were spot on until the dialogue changed to blaming a she. It’s ok, I get it….the Bible only describes the wayward woman. I once went through Proverbs in my Bible and marked over all the s’ to reflect He/his…. truth is, we are not that great apart from Christ. I’ve lost so much in the 5 years dating a mostly verbally abusive man. I’m in my 40’s and have never been married, had a live in boyfriend or a roommate. I’m a homeowner. My life has been a slow decay since we met, and yes I love him, and try to with Gods love, but I’m seeing I’m going to have to abort the relationship to save my sanity and life. I know I cannot change him. He is 49, I pray and talk to God when he gets into his anger orbit, which is weekly. But of coarse he never does anything wrong and everything is my fault. The Lord keeps saying Trust Me, cast all your care and anxiety upon me….and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m beginning to see this verbal and on occasion physical abuse will never stop. I do pray for him, but at this point I’m having to make a decision for my own life and soul. God Bless those who are teuely dealing with a loved one who has sever physiological issues. Unless they want help or even see how damaging what they do is, nothing will change. Get OUT.

    1. My parents call him a stumbling block. Since I started dating him, verbal abuse seaps in slowly and yes females do it too. I’ve lost an awesome job- he has brought out the very worst in me- even though I try to cooperate with the Holy Spirit… imagine being cornered literally for an hour in a corner because ‘ you did not receive the orange juice from the drive through properly’. Or being so sick -104 temp and man leaves you because you asked for soup and crackers. No woman gonna tell Him what to do-so he leaves and you drive yourself to CVS running high fever -back into someone in the parking lot-I had Family I
      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

  2. I Know this personally it is sick and twisted mental hell of a prison. And Yes you think it’s Normal..and deep down you know but it was terrifying. ..not good enough your darned if you do and dared if you don’t You are the cause of all the wrongs in the world but They can do NO wrong…they keep you in this mental prison and They puff their our Ward image …and the TERROR was No one will believe you …frozen paralyzed living in ALIT of anxiety and FEARNLY GOD broke me out of it
    This article is pretty on point to My Life experience living on eggshells. And I should be grateful….BUT GOD..but GOD

    1. I’m in the same boat. Get out. I’m in the process. I know it’s easier said. Nothing I do is right. Life is to short, not to mention the erosion on your sanity and emotional health. I stayed way to long, but I was lonely. I’d rather be lonely and have peace, and be in fear now.

      1. Than love in fear crazy anger issues, half the time I don’t know what I said or did, I think he is undiagnosed mental probs. But even if you can paint it in black and white in kindness and patience and they rage all the more… if they say the sky is green than its green and there’s nothing you can say- I’ve even gone so far as to be compassionate towards his delusions to prevent a rage- sitting back, going O M G….. people don’t always come with a resume and references- and even if they did people cover…. I will part with him on the kindest way- hell I had a busted ear drum a black eye and broken jaw…. because I didn’t close the blinds in broad daylight- he kept insisting someone was watching us… just wow-people suffering so bad meantally- I’ve tried to help him- he’s not all bad- my parents even offered to pay for us to go to therapy- he thumbed his nose at that multiple times… he I haven’t been active in church since I started dating him, I’ve always gone all my adult life by my self with no family in town. He won’t watch a sermon on tv or listen to K-LOVE- and look, I hike and kayak actively…. and bike ride… I’ll just stop. Sometimes people are sick-like haveing cancer-don’t shame them- mental issues seem the most hardest. They a in a wheelchair mentally and emotionally – but if they don’t see anything at all wrong with how they behave and they don’t want any kind of help. Leave them in God’s hands.

        1. He has never paid rent or a mortgage- I found out years later that was his dad’s house- his mom passed when he was 18- after meeting his dad I learned everything was his dad accomplishment
          S. Down to saving three abandoned puppies

          Omg y’all

  3. When I was pregnant with our son my boyfriend told me that he hoped I would suffer because I deserved it. Is it wrong of me to feel that saying that to me was verbally abusive?

    1. Hellina, No that is absolutely not wrong for you to conclude he was verbally abusive toward you. That is an incredibly cruel and abusive thing to say to you, and when you were pregnant?! Being pregnant is hard enough for us! I am so sorry you had to endure that, I can imagine you felt terrible.
      Here’s an article on the difference between arguments and verbal abuse,
      you may find it insightful. You do not deserve to be treated that way, ever. Here’s another article on coping with verbal abuse when you can’t just leave
      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,
      Thanks, Emily

  4. Dear Kellie. Hope you still read these comments. I have been married for one year and have a newborn baby. I honestly dont know if what im going thru is abuse or that we “both are fighting”. He was so loving and caring in the beginning and insisted on us marrying quickly. I was not as crazy about him then. I even kissed another guy which he found out about, which has become a major theme in our relationship. I wanted to wait a bit but he accused me of not loving him enough so i said, ok, also bc i was up to my ears in guilt about having kissed another guy while we were dating. I know it was wrong! After the wedding i have started loving him more and more deeply. But he is somehow taking revenge on me for not loving him enough before. He always says, “I suffered so bad in the beginning and you were so cruel”. He has given back the ring a number of times and said he regrets marrying me, that he is unhappy, that he hates our house (which HE found, but it was in the area i wanted to live, which he says he regrets) I have hoped his pain from me kissing that guy would subside but it just seems to get worse! He says bc of that i am a liar, untrustworthy and that i oppress him. He always insinuates that i am bad at cooking and cleaning, to the point where i secretly hired a cleaning lady when he was at work, which he found out about and then called me dishonest for not telling him. He has made me insecure about my cooking. All the furniture i brought, he wants to get rid of. His comments can be so mean, like saying all my friends are dumpsterdivers. Who says stuff like that? His drinking has also gotten worse, when he is out he doesnt answer the phone and gets REALLY drunk and embarrasses himself. Sometimes i get him to stop, but then he sulks for weeks and says he has nothing to do, apparently all fun is associated with drinking. He says I have made him a cynical person who looks down at women whereas before he wasnt like that. He thinks i am some kind of crazy party girl who cant get enough sex whereas in reality all i do is stay at home and takes care of the kids, his and mine. Once i made a joke of that when i was younger i hitchhiked and “everybody thinks you will be raped but that didnt happen to me, unfortunately” IT WAS A JOKE! But ever since he keeps repeating that i hope to be raped. He promised to stop drinking for real last month but then bc we had a fight, he now “doesnt care” and drinks in a destructive way. i come home from a work trip and the kids are awake at 11.30, he is passed out and i say, why are they awake? ” i dont know,”
    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?

    1. Kaysa, I am so sorry for all of your troubles, this sounds like a pretty horrific living situation. Have you asked yourself why you don’t want to leave? What is it that’s keeping you there, holding on? The environment you described does not sound like a loving, healthy environment for yourself and your newborn baby. I understand how scary it is to consider leaving when you have a newborn baby, I’m sure all you want is to be happy and for your baby to have loving parents. Would your husband be open to seeking family therapy/marriage counseling? It may give you both a healthier outlet to discuss your grievances with one another. I know you said you didn’t want the suggestion to just seek help, but if things do not improve, they may continue to get worse. His behavior does sound very abusive indeed, and dangerous — if he is unable to care for the children because of his drinking. Here’s an article about coping with verbal abuse when you can’t just leave . I hope that’s helpful and I hope you’re able to find some clarity on the best next step for you and your baby. Take care of yourself, Emily

  5. I really do not know what to think anymore. I am two years into a relationship. We have lived together for a year. My partner drinks every evening and can flit from saying that he loves me and other adoring things to a right argumentative git especially when it’s approaching bed time. He will call me obscene names if i get something wrong or say or do something not to his liking (I.e not putting my phone on charge) I have found there is no use trying to defend myself it makes him more angry. After 10 minutes of silence he will approach me and blame me saying I am grumpy. I’m becoming more depressed and anxious. He is a caring bright and funny guy usually and I love him. But this behaviour is slowly strangling me. What can i do?

    1. You can’t change the behavior or another. This sounds tortuous to me and I hope you can find a way to get out. If you can’t get there by yourself, get help from a friend or a professional. This is not how loving relationships look. Best of luck to you.

    2. This is exactly how it starts and I’ve been living it 17 years and I’m done, I have to figure out a way to stand on my own feet and take care of my four children. They never change. The abuse outweighs the happy times.

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