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Examples of Verbal Abuse Early In A Relationship


Many examples of verbal abuse aren’t easy to pinpoint, especially in the beginning of a relationship. Most verbally abusive statements are camouflaged by tone of voice, choice of words, body language, the abuser insisting “it’s for your own good” and other such verbal decoys. Even so, examples of verbal abuse are easy to pick out once you have the ear for them.

Examples of Verbal Abuse: You Misunderstood Me!

Verbal abuse underlies all other forms of abuse because words and tone can be easily manipulated to mean something other than what is said. “You misunderstood me!” is an easy way out of taking responsibility for intentionally wounding someone. Early in relationships, it is very possible that we could misunderstand a person’s intention. We think “my bad” and move along.

For example, early in my marriage, when my husband said something that hurt my feelings, I told him so. His response? “I didn’t mean it that way, Kellie.” Then he would give me a hug. He said that even his sergeants told him he needed to work on his tact. Following the excuse was, “What I really meant to say was…”

But what he really meant to say was so much different than what had come out of his mouth that I had a difficult time twisting his first statement to mean the second.

But, because he hugged me and spoke in a tone that helped me feel secure and loved, I went along with the lie. I didn’t know at the time that my willingness to believe and forgive the man I loved would lead to despair.

Examples of Verbal Abuse: Word Play and Denial

Word play and denial of wrong-doing are two sides of the same coin. It doesn’t matter how the coin-toss lands because both sides result in confusion for the victim of verbal abuse.

I consider word play to happen when the language used could mean two different things. For example, saying “You’re such a wonderful wife!” with a smile and a hug means that you are a wonderful wife. But rolling eyes while saying the same thing means something completely different. It means, “I will tolerate you because we’re married.”

Denial comes into play when you question the abuser’s eye rolling. You may say, “Hey, I saw you roll your eyes! What are you really saying?” But the abuser’s answer is “I didn’t roll my eyes! You are a wonderful wife!” It doesn’t matter what you say, the abuser sticks to the lie that no eyes were rolled in the telling of your wonderfulness.

Word play and denial, given the circumstances of I love you and time, result in the victim becoming really confused. The victim knows what she saw and heard. She knows the abuser is lying. However, the victim tends to blow off the behavior, choosing to make an excuse for why the abuser behaves that way instead of calling in the chips and hitting the road.

As a related side note, the abuser tends to up the ante when he or she believes the victim is stuck in the relationship. Examples of being stuck include pregnancy, engagement, marriage, sleeping together or whatever the abuser associates with owning the victim. Most likely, the victim agrees that he or she is stuck in the relationship. However, because up to that point the victim has not been abused (enough), stuck isn’t the word the victim uses.

Examples of verbal abuse aren’t easy to pinpoint, especially in the beginning of a relationship. If you're wondering if you're crazy, it's time to read this.Unfortunately, over time, confusion turns into destabilization of the victim’s mind. She starts to wonder if she’s really hearing and seeing what she thinks she hears and sees. This destabilization is the in the abuser needs. Destabilization of your mind amounts to brainwashing.

Destabilization of the mind is crucial to the ability to control anyone. The abuser must implant doubt in the victim’s mind concerning what he or she believes and perceives. Without the victim’s self-doubt, there is no way to control him or her.

Examples of Verbal Abuse You May Recognize

Below are examples of verbal abuse, statements verbally abusive men and women make. Do you recognize any of these?

Emotionally Abusive Statements

  • You’re so cute when you try to concentrate! Look at you trying to think.
  • I can’t believe I love a stupid jerk.
  • Aw, come on, can’t you take a joke?

Sexually Abusive Statements

  • You should know how to please me by now.
  • I hoped you were less experienced.
  • Stop acting like a whore.

Financially Abusive Statements

  • You are going to nickel and dime me to death!
  • In what world does buying that make sense?
  • Fine. You handle your finances. Let me know when things go to hell.

Societal Abusive Statements

  • How dare you spread around our private business!
  • Let me do the talking; people listen to men.
  • You took a vow in front of God and everybody and I expect you to honor it!

Threatening and Intimidating Statements

  • If you don’t train that dog I’m going to rub your nose in its mess.
  • I will take our kids if you leave me.
  • You’re scared?! This isn’t angry! You will KNOW when I’m ANGRY!

Spiritually Abusive Statement

  • Keep your stupid beliefs to yourself.
  • God will find a way to get you back, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.
  • I can feel myself being pulled into hell just listening to your nonsense!

How Spotting Examples of Verbal Abuse Early Can Help

When verbal abuse begins, you may be able to nip it in the bud if

  1. your partner admits they have a problem AND
  2. he or she acts on that statement by going to individual therapy AND
  3. you hear and sense steady improvement.

You would benefit from seeing your own counselor during this process. Verbal abuse can sneak in the back door without you realizing it. A therapist will help you keep your mind clear.

But if your partner blames you for their words and actions, then the likelihood that he or she will go back to being the sweet person you fell in love with are slim to none.

Lips and tongues lie. But actions never do. No matter what words are spoken, actions betray the truth of everyone’s heart. ― Sherrilyn Kenyon


You can find Kellie Jo Holly at Verbal Abuse Journals, or social media on Google+, Facebook,Twitter and Amazon Authors.

*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.

133 thoughts on “Examples of Verbal Abuse Early In A Relationship”

  1. Hi im Shelly I’ve been in a three year relationship with completely abusive man. I love him so much.. but every day I want out, I want free from the name calling. The hurt and pain and the blaming .. im blamed for everything that goes wrong. I tried to leave three time allready but he keeps ketching me.. I have a 14 month old son for him , and just found out im have ing another baby for him . Im scard to dealth to bring another child into this relationship.. im a good person who loves hard and always get fooled.. I always want to help and fix my relationship.. but in the end im the only one who gets hurt and wants our and have to start all over again and again .. im 37 now and feel like I don’t want to start iv
    Over again.. someone give me advice and help me to understand why I do this to myself.. why can’t I just leave and move on. Why do I love such a monster …

  2. I have been in a emotionally abusive relationship with the same person for over forty years -off and on-. I sat off and on because we have divorced twice and are again married todAy. This time he became so angry with me that he moved out of (his) parents home and lives alone on a different farm a couple miles away. He shows up every day for dinner at 12:00 noon. Coffee at 8:00 AM and 3:00PM. then he’s gone till morning again. I really don’t know how this schedule got written in stone but if I don’t have things ready for him he barks out one word orders like ‘COFFEE’ OR his favorite’ Be nice to have something to eat..’ There’s no give and take…if the conversation isn’t going as he wants he puts his hands up shaking his head and walks out with a slammed door for a final insult. I react with such frustration and anger that I will still be so upset even the next morning. But he will breeze in with no mention or reaction for the day before. If I don’t go along with the new mood he sets then I will be punished with the silent treatment for whatever time frame suits him. I am on a disability check and live frugally. I help with the farm work as much as I can. I don’t know anymore what I want from life. I wish I could just relax for more than an hour at a time. There is so much more to this but I couldn’t begin to write it down. I was hoping that the act of writing this I would feel better as some had commented before this. Maybe I should keep writing….

    1. Becky,
      Hi, Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so glad you reached out to us. Over forty years? Wow! Bless your heart, that’s a long time to live that way. I’m so sorry this has been your way of life for so long, that must be incredibly frustrating for you. You absolutely deserve to be valued and appreciated. Check out an article I wrote about Coping with Verbal Abuse When You Can’t Just Leave .

      Also, I love that you’re writing. I absolutely recommend doing things you enjoy or activities that are therapeutic and expressive for you. It’s a great way to be able to get some of those feelings out there and to show yourself love and care. So often in emotionally abusive relationships, the victim begins to feel as though their identity is being diminished and they are slowly losing themselves. Writing will help you use and stay true to your own voice in this. Keep writing Becky! Take care of you. Reach out anytime, Thanks again!

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