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Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do

Abusive people, men and women, say and do similar things to control their victims. The delivery may vary in tone or type, but the effect is the same. Read this.

What does verbal abuse sound like? The tone and content varies from abuser to abuser, but the words effect the victim in similar ways. Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions – sometimes all at once.

In the beginning of my abusive relationship, I felt anger and stood up for myself which led to loud, circular verbal altercations that had no solutions. Later, after coming to believe that he was my hero, my savior and provider, I felt stupid and wanted to fix myself so he would love me.  Much later, I turned away and left the house for awhile which eventually led to increased physical violence and leaving forever.

Sometimes my abuser’s words hurt when he jabs and attempts to provoke on the phone. Mostly, the memory, the countless memories of the abusive things he’s said to me rear up and try to convince me that his remembered voice is my own.

This list is only a partial list of the things verbal abusers say. It’s not limited to my own abusive relationship. It takes into account what others report hearing, too.

Things Verbal Abusers Say:

  • “Why don’t you get a job so you understand the real world? Oh, wait – I forgot – you can’t get a job because you’re a stupid sh!t.
  • “Quit your whining and crying. You have no reason to cry or complain! Your life is perfect because I made it that way!”
  • “Bitch” (and the countless other names I won’t bother to list)
  • “I should have left you at the club with all the other whores.”
  • “If you were more like my mother I could worship you.”
  • “I hate it when you act so pitiful. Stop the waterworks and talk like a human being.”
  • “I can’t stand to look at you. You make me sick.”
  • “You’re such a great actress! You know how to get what you want, don’t you?”
  • “I can’t believe I have to come home to you every day. How did I get involved with such a train wreck?”
  • “I must be the first a$$hole to love you. You don’t know how to please a man!”
  • “You’re fat and miserable and you make me hate you.”
  • “You always look like God stomped on your face.”
  • “Why do you care what I want for dinner? My favorites taste like crap when you make them anyway.”
  • “You used to be as beautiful as my ex, but geesh – time hasn’t been good to you, baby!”
  • “Those children are mine, will always be mine, and if you leave you’ll never see them again.”

Things Verbal Abusers Do:

  • Deny they said anything similar to the list above.
  • Defend what they’ve said.
  • Analyze what they’ve said out loud, explaining that the words they used do not have the definitions you seem to think they do.
  • Block you in a room so you can’t leave and thereby avoid what they’re saying.
  • Talk horribly to the television but are really speaking to you.
  • Flip open their knife to open a piece of gum while looking at you under knitted brows.
  • Leave to do something else at the last minute when you had plans together.
  • Take you out for your best birthday ever and then wind up berating you on the way home for not appreciating their efforts enough.
  • Tell your children you need more happy pills to be a good mom.
  • Change the topic of the conversation so you bounce from one place to another, never getting to the core of the issue.
  • Accuse you of being a whore or a dummy or a _________ so often that they no longer need to say the words but can offer up a “look” and you know what they’re saying (then they may deny it).

Abusive people, men and women, say and do similar things to control their victims. The delivery may vary in tone or type, but the effect is the same.Okay. I have to stop. My stomach is literally upset right now after digesting the utter contempt and hatred some people spew on a daily basis.

If you’re still living in this nonsense, learn about detachment and how it can benefit you. Maybe in time you’ll choose to leave your abuser, and maybe you’ll choose to stay. No one here will judge you for staying (I’ve been there and it can feel hopeless!), but please work on ways to make yourself feel better in the process.

Start here:


You can also find Kellie on her website at Verbal Abuse Journals , and social media pages on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Buy her books from Amazon.

*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.

341 thoughts on “Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do”

  1. I just found this website what if your abuser is a family member, I’ve taken both verbal and physical abuse for 36 years. Yesterday I blew up. I felt awesome at the time but then realize I didn’t want to become that person either. Now this abuser is starting to abuse my husband and children as well. What do I do? I’ve already moved away, but their still family and every time we see them it starts. 🙁

    1. Hi April,

      Thank you for your comment — I am so glad you found us here at HealthyPlace. it’s true that abuse from a family member can be especially hurtful and difficult to deal with, so you have my sympathy. I would suggest you try to move on from your “blow up” and forgive yourself for your entirely natural response to your family member’s abuse. What this person is doing to you is dangerous, and he or she needs to be called out on it.

      Next time you’re together, sit this person down and explain that while you’re sorry for the way you reacted, his or her behavior was absolutely unacceptable and you won’t be standing for it any longer.

      Yes, this person is family, but you still need to set boundaries — especially when there are children involved. However painful it is, tell your abuser that unless he or she can change, you won’t be able to spend time together anymore, that you’re not willing to put yourself or your husband and children at risk. Suggest counseling, but don’t take ownership of this person’s problems: they’re not yours to deal with.

      If this person truly values your feelings, he or she will take action to try and repair the relationship by getting help. If not, there is nothing you can do but walk away and explain to the other members of your family that from now on, you and this abusive family member won’t be able to attend the same events. It may be difficult, but any situation where you’re in physical danger is not worth pursuing, family or not. Good luck.

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