Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do
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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions - sometimes all at once.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).
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.
*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. (2012, April 29). Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/04/things-verbal-abusers-say-and-do
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Thank you for your comment, and well done for speaking out about what you're going through. My heart goes out to you because your situation sounds terribly familiar. There was a time when I thought I was pregnant by my abusive ex-partner, and now that I'm free of him I thank the universe every day that didn't happen. Since then, I became engaged to a wonderful, caring man and we had a child of our own. Even so, I find motherhood challenging at times, and without a supportive partner by my side I would have struggled even more. I know it is not my place to say, but please think twice before you bring a child into the world with this man. If he abuses you, there is a high chance he will abuse your children. Parenting is wonderful, but it really tests your patience and resolve. This can be dangerous for those who are used to being in control; babies and children are so unpredictable.
Please consider opening up to someone about your relationship. Whatever he makes you believe, the way he treats you is not OK. I know it feels shameful and embarrassing to admit what's been going on, but trust me: you're not the only one.
i would recommend talking to a trusted friend or family member and getting someone on your side to help you with the next step. You should also research some domestic violence helplines and organizations where you live and get in touch with one of those. It's also worth contacting a counsellor or therapist who is specially trained to help victims of domestic violence. Those are the first steps to take. I know it can feel overwhelming, but you can do it. It's not an easy journey, but it's definitely one worth making.
Relationships are so challenging, and people can often say things in the moment that they don't really mean, or that they will later regret. Have you managed to talk to your fiancé about how his comment made you feel? I recommend you read my post, <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/07/the-difference-between-arguments-and-verbal-abuse/" target="_blank">The Difference Between Arguments and Verbal Abuse</a>, and watch out for other verbally abusive behavior.
Good luck! Emma x
I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through. The situation you're in sounds like it could be dangerous. Consider calling one of the domestic violence helplines on our <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Help and Resources page</a> -- these are people who can help you when you feel stuck and don't know where to turn. It may also be worth contacting a lawyer so you can plan for the financial implications of leaving your husband (if that's what you plan to do). Please continue to use this site for support and reach out to others when you can. Good luck to you.
Sorry to hear you're going through this. What you're describing is a classic emotional abuse situation. I have been in your position and learned that there is nothing you can do within the relationship to change an abuser's behavior. You — the closest person to him — are the perfect scapegoat for his own issues, and the person he will project all of his mistrust on to.
I know that leaving the relationship feels impossible, but you may come to realize that this is the only way you'll be able to feel like yourself again. My experience was very similar to yours, and I felt like my life wasn't worth living when the relationship ended. A few weeks without him in my life made all the difference: I finally felt free to be myself for the first time in years and went on to meet my fiancé, who treats me with respect and love 100% of the time. That is the kind of relationship we all deserve, not one in which we're constantly walking on eggshells.
<a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/04/reach-out-how-to-stop-verbal-abuse-part-2/">This article</a> will give you some guidance on where to go from here, and how to go about finding support.
Well done for speaking out about what's happening to you. Your situation sounds eerily familiar — in fact, it is the exact situation I found myself in five years ago. Firstly, know you are not to blame for how he is treating you. I'm not surprised you sought an emotional connection with someone outside of your relationship, given the way he is withholding affection and verbally and emotionally abusing you. The things he is saying to you are dreadful and you don't deserve to be spoken to that way by someone who is supposed to love you, regardless of whether you have emotionally or physically been unfaithful.
I can't tell you to leave your partner, even if I think that is what you should do. Trust me, I know how hard this is. I put up with this kind of behavior for years and waited until he left me. I had no dignity left and could barely remember who I was. I don't want that to happen to you, Sonja.
But know this: this relationship you're describing, it's not love. A loving relationship is mutually respectful and supportive. You will never get what you need from this man. Also, you're not crazy, and don't let him manipulate you into thinking you are. My previous partner convinced me I had all kinds of psychological issues when we were together, but it wasn't true. Remember the real "you" underneath — you will need her.
You can always come to this site for support. I'm a new blogger for HealthyPlace and I'm going to be writing about a lot of the struggles you've described. You can find me <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/06/introduction-to-emma-marie-smith/">here</a>.
Good luck, and big hugs. You can do this.
and reasearching abuse. As i read this list above. Im shocked. Never have i berated my wife. I dont call her names. I dont tell her shes worthless. I have no regrets marrying her. These are the things says and does to me. Im to blame for everything. Im far from perfect. Ive made mistakes.ive excepted responsibility for my mistakes. Never has she. I wish i had hidden. Cameras in the house so people could see the truth. I feel like im the one being gaslighted. Please help. My marriage depends on it. I dont want to lose her
The thing that hurts the most though is this experience happened right at a time when these men are fleeing these countries. friends, even celebrities I've admired since I was nineteen are constantly saying we need to let these men in, we have to help them, right. A western woman is basically raped and cruelly told that she's a worthless whore and she's a cunt for not wanting those men here? You call it islamaphobia i call it slut shaming and victim blaming rolled into one.
Despite the fact he hasn't hit me, he says this latest incident wasn't that bad compared to all the others (which unfortunately is true). I have been criticised many times - just because he doesn't swear at me doesn't make it any better. I am told I'm lazy, spoiler, self-centred, rotten, cold, heartless, ungrateful, lack diligence, lack initiative, rude etc etc. funnily enough, no other person would characterise me this way. I actually work hard and am self motivated.
He also has many great qualities though and wants me to give him another chance. He has actually listened to my concerns, apologised for the harm caused and sought counselling for himself. He has given me space and behaved more respectably towards me.
However I am in two minds and not sure whether to take the risk. Not sure if these people really change. It's harder to leave again especially if they improve but still disrespectful. I also have support and a place to live at the moment. Alternatively I do get along with the nice side of him and don't want to not be with my children for potentially half their life!
Would appreciate advice, views from others.
Take the opportunity to move into the other place. Give yourself some breathing room. If he truly wants to change, he will do it without you in the home, too.
BTW, he tells you you're bad at the things you do best because those things we're good at typically give us pleasure, self-esteem and happiness. He lies to you about who you are to destroy those things. Happy people are very difficult to control.
As for the children, I'm guessing you've tried to protect them from the worst of his abuse. If you are not with them some of the time, they will eventually see their father for who he is. When they're old enough to choose, the 1/2 time stuff can end. I was heartbroken, devastated when the judge gave primary custody to my ex. However, over time, I began to see the benefits. For example, one day my ex dropped off my youngest son. My son came in the door, closed it, leaned against it, sighed and said, "Finally! Some peace!" That's when I knew things were going to be okay. I provided my boys something they could not get from their father - peace, encouragement, space to breathe, an opportunity to be themselves.
That's my advice. Take care of yourself during this time. If you have a chance to separate, use it.
Me then she threw my things breaking them and threw water bottle at the door. I had a mom that was like this. Verbally and physically. I'm scared she's like my mom who's schizophrenic. Don't know what to do. I don't want to b around bout I worry about baby