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The Effects of Verbal Abuse and How They Hurt

January 19, 2015 Kellie Jo Holly

The effects of verbal abuse hurt you both now and later. Do you know what the effects of verbal abuse could do to you if you stay in an abusive relationship?

The effects of verbal abuse hurt me in both the short-term and long-term. Short-term effects of verbal abuse were the sting of his words or suggestions and the long nights spent crying silently to myself, figuring out what I needed to do to make the relationship better. Long-term effects, for me, are posttraumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. Some victims of abuse suffer dissociative identity disorder, too.

How does that happen? Why does a healthy person become a victim suffering from mental disorders?

Effects of Verbal Abuse Move In Slowly

In the beginning, the effects of verbal abuse are not readily apparent; victims notice something is different, but it's hard to explain the problem. When friends ask why you're down, you may say, "We're going through a rough patch in our relationship." And when friends ask you to explain the rough patch, you'll say something like, "I don't know...he is so moody and it's hard to communicate" or "Beats me...Women. [eye roll]".

Victims of the effects of verbal abuse are lucky if they connect their feelings to domestic violence early in the relationship, but that rarely happens. The victim often ignores or misinterprets both the abuse and the effects of verbal abuse because verbal abuse itself throws you off-balance and makes you unsure of yourself. Those feelings are caused by verbal mind-games like brainwashing and gaslighting.

Later Effects of Verbal Abuse

Later on, the effects of verbal abuse either mimic or become depression and anxiety. I believe that eventually, science will show that abuse forces the brain's neural pathways to create deep ruts of depression and anxiety. (Don't go telling your friends that - it's just my theory.) For now, all we know is many victims of abuse end up with depression and/or anxiety and worse.

To complicate matters, after a person feels off-balance enough to seek treatment, the symptoms of abuse (depression/anxiety/etc.) tend to be treated instead of dealing with the cause (the abuse). In my experience, when doctors figured out that I was depressed, their questions stopped. They treated the depression without probing further to discover the cause. How could depression go away when I lived with the dis-ease (abuse) that causes it?

The Effects of Verbal Abuse List

Ms. Patricia Evans gives a list of the effects of verbal abuse in her book The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond. The following list does not include all of the effects of verbal abuse that Ms. Evans listed in her book. I assume that most of the effects of verbal abuse she lists would affect men too.*

The effects of verbal abuse can cause a victim to:

  • distrust her spontaneity
  • suffer a loss of enthusiasm
  • live in a perpetually in a ready, on-guard state
  • wonder about how she is coming across
  • think and feel that something is wrong with her
  • soul-search and review incidents in hope of determining what went wrong (see Ruminating Can Harm Your Mental Health Recovery)
  • wonder why she isn't happier and feels that she should be
  • sense that time is passing and she is missing something
  • tend to live in the future -- "Everything will be great when/after," etc.

Those effects of verbal abuse illustrate symptoms similar to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. The chicken and the egg question does not apply when it comes to domestic violence and abuse. The abuse comes first. Then the mentally healthy victim succumbs to insecurity and mental disorders. If the abuse victim-to-be is mentally unwell when meeting the abuser, the abuse will worsen the mental illness or create new illnesses.

Your best defense against abuse is to take care of yourself physically and mentally and be aware of the signs of an abuser.

*If you're a man and want to explain how males feel differently as compared to Ms. Evans's list, please comment.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so please do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

APA Reference
Holly, K. (2015, January 19). The Effects of Verbal Abuse and How They Hurt, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2015/01/the-effects-of-verbal-abuse-and-how-they-hurt-me



Author: Kellie Jo Holly

saddie
says:
February, 2 2018 at 7:13 am
My boyfriend verbally abuses me . I tried to kill myself over the abuse so many times because it seems like he doesn't care . He says things like " I hate you " youre the reason I cheat " I'll have sex with this girl on your grave when you kill yourself " like I really don't know what to do and it hurts . I cry and get drunk or smoke . Something to ease the pain I guess but nothing works . He says things that are so mean and he cheats on me non stop and he tells me but I still continue to stay . I just pray the Lord helps me walk away

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 2 2018 at 9:17 am
Saddie, your comment broke my heart. I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. When I was younger,. in my late teens/early twenties, I had a boyfriend that treated me in a similar way and it broke me down as well. It made me so sad, I felt like I didn't want to live anymore, like I couldn't bear it. I did something reckless that scared my entire family and I will never forget all of their faces, just devastated and worried and filled with genuine love. I was breaking their heart, over this guy, who didn't give a damn. That moment changed me. I still stayed with him for another year or so, and then I eventually left. I look back now and think how much my life has changed and how crazy it all seems to think I couldn't live without that guy. Now I'm engaged, I have beautiful babies, and a very full life. That can happen for you too Saddie, you have so much ahead of you and you don't even realize it yet. Right now, the pain and hurt you're going through overwhelms your life- it seems like all there is and all there will ever be, but it's not.

Saddie, can you reach out to family and friends and focus some of your time on them? To remind yourself of the people in your life that love you. Can you reach out to a therapist? I credit going to see a therapist as something that helped me overcome great hurdles in my life. Therapy can be life-changing. You deserve to be loved and respected and cherished. This does not have to be your life.

Here's a link to some important resources, please check them out:

<a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/suicide/suicide-suicidal-thoughts-and-behaviors-toc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">Suicide, Information, Resources, and Support</a>

<a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/11/verbal-abuse-reasons-to-leave/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Reasons to leave a verbally abusive relationship</a>

Thank you for reaching out Saddie, please feel free to do so anytime. Hang in there. -Emily
Meg
says:
November, 8 2017 at 4:26 am
My ex-husband verbally and emotionally abused me for almost 10 years. Things I would tell him in confidence, whether it be about me, my feelings, or someone else, would be used against me later, mocked, or repeated to others. I was told how crazy and insane that I was on a daily basis, he even called a mental institute for information and told me that he was just ‘trying to help’. I was emotionally numb and depressed. I wanted to leave but he told me that he would get the kids since I was on an antidepressant…I believed him and stayed….I believed everything that he told me. Another time he lied about having cancer so I would stay. While still married I met an amazing man who lifted me up and believed in me, he basically helped me to get the help that I needed, not only for me but for my children. While our relationship wasn’t sexual, we were deeply connected and I slowly began to feel and trust again. I finally decided to end the marriage, not for another man but because my eyes were opened to the toxicity of this behavior. As a result of walking away my ex has retaliated, slandering my name to everyone including our children, their teachers, my co-workers, and mutual friends, acting as if he is the victim. We have been divorced for 3 years and it still continues to this day. I don’t want to go anywhere in fear of what people think of me, I am seeing a therapist regularly but I feel like he still has control over me and I don’t know how to break free of it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 10 2017 at 8:39 pm
Meg, I am so sorry to hear about the horrendous trauma you have suffered. First and foremost, you should feel so strong and empowered for getting out of there! I am so impressed you were able to muster the strength to leave him. Not only have you shown yourself love by leaving and choosing to be with someone who builds you up and supports you, you have a set a great example for your children on how to respect and love yourself. Remember that! Now, as far as him slandering your name all over town... that is really unfortunate and I'm so sorry it's affected you in such a negative way, that's understandable of course. I think that most people will be able to sense something is off there, from an outsider's perspective, it always looks suspicious when someone is being so openly nasty and attempting to sway everyone's perceptions. Regarding your children, they may not fully understand that is what's happening now, but as they grow up and mature, they will also be able to pick up on that more and more, they will know the truth of the situation. Your ex has some serious issues, and I have a feeling the longer people know him and more they interact with him, the more they realize that as well. I don't know that people will consider him a credible source regarding your character, you know? I think it's wonderful you're seeing a therapist, that's a great way to love yourself and care for yourself while you're going through a tough time. I think you should give yourself some serious credit for your ability to seek help and find ways to love and respect yourself, good for you.
Meridith
says:
November, 4 2017 at 9:10 am
It is helpful to read your article and I do agree that verbal abuse can cause such depression and anxiety, I am suffering with it. I hear his views and complaints and critical blaming comments and the rant can go on for hours and hours. Every time I try to say something he says to stop talking or my words are nonsense. I end up not being able to think or articulate my thoughts at all. I shake and feel disconnected. He never apologizes and i end up with heart palpitations, high bp and the feeling that I am just not what I should be. I have almost all of your symptoms listed and I just feel sick. I dont know how to be what he wants and I hear that I am not what he needs and that I have held him back in his life. He asks me to make decisions and figure out a plan for our life as he says what he wants and what I want are different. I cant even think, answer or formulate any kind of plan with the extreme pressure and insulting in put. Then on a dime he can be kind and loving and treat me well. I am confused and hurt and damaged.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 6 2017 at 10:44 am
Meridith, I'm so sorry, your situation sounds just terrible. It does sound like the verbal abuse and subsequent depression is making you sick, that's not uncommon. Have you considered seeking therapy or counseling? I think that could be really helpful to you. Persistent abuse like you describe changes a person, no wonder you're suffering from anxiety and depression. Do you have anyone close to you that you can reach out to? I think it is crucial you reach out, to a family member or friend, and seek some therapy or counseling, especially if you are feeling ill. Here's an article about <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 leave just yet</a>.

Again, I'm so very sorry for your difficult situation. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime. -Emily
Francois
says:
November, 2 2017 at 12:35 pm
I'm a male, and I think I'm being verbally abused. I've been dating this girl for 3 months and it was fine but then she slowly started wanting to change me. From the way I dress, to how I behave in front of her friends. Saying I should be more this or that. Saying I have no self esteem, no confidence, that her friends think the same or saying things like "what you are saying is stupid", or "It doesn't make sense". Also turning what I said just to make her point when I know exactly what I said. There are some topics I don't want to talk to her about because she gets on the defensive very fast and starts an argument for anything. It really sucks cause as a friend she was pretty good. But now she is very controlling and is even mad when I don't buy something, that she wants me to buy ! I'm not sure if it's really abuse, but when I started talking to a friend about it she said "It sounds like verbal abuse"... I don't know if it is me being too sensitive or too insecure as my GF keeps saying but I'm starting to think it really is.
Do you think I should tell her that what she is doing is verbal abuse ? I'd really like this to be resolved and ending with us still together. She can be a very fun woman to be around. When we are with friends she really has a different behavior.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 3 2017 at 9:35 am
Hi Francois,

Thank you for your comment. I agree that verbal abuse is something that can be difficult to define. It tends to be more of a sliding scale than a definitive line between "abusive behavior" and "non-abusive behavior", though there are certain signs and symptoms to watch out for.

I think the important detail in all of this is not whether she is verbally abusive, but rather how she makes you feel. It's easy to label ourselves as "too sensitive" or "too insecure" without placing any responsibility with the person who is making us feel this way, but this is rarely productive. My guess is that anyone in your situation would feel insecure if their partner was constantly trying to change them and telling them they're not good enough. I was in a relationship similar to the one you're describing, but I didn't realize I was being verbally abused at the time.

You definitely need to talk to your girlfriend and explain your feelings. You will need to be direct so she doesn't just dismiss your concerns like usual. Tell her that her behavior is making you unhappy, and that although you want to be with her, you're not prepared to stay in the relationship unless she changes the way she treats you. If she doesn't want the relationship to end, she will have to sit up and listen.

You deserve better than to be treated this way, so stay strong and don't ignore your gut instinct. Good luck!
Carolyn
says:
October, 29 2017 at 4:21 am
I do not know where to turn. I am emotionally and verbally abused constantly. The verbal abuse hurts me so bad i can not stand. He talks about the way i look, my weight, that i am useless and not worthy, i am always getting accused of taking things from him, etc. My self esteem is gobe. I do not care abour the way i look at all. He will n9t take responsibility and says i caused all the problems. Whatever i say foes not matter, it is his way or no way. He will ask me to do somewhere with him and always refuse. He has not made love to me in 2 years so infeel that he does not want me any more. I am so lost and 8 do not know what to do except cry. I hide my feelings from other dam8ky nembers ir friends quite well. I feel like i am nothing, no energy, spunk , nothing. Please help me.
Carolyn Yvonne Cole
says:
October, 29 2017 at 4:19 am
I do not know where to turn. I am emotionally and verbally abused constantly. The verbal abuse hurts me so bad i can not stand. He talks about the way i look, my weight, that i am useless and not worthy, i am always getting accused of taking things from him, etc. My self esteem is gone. I do not care about the way i look at all. He will not take responsibility and says i caused all the problems. Whatever i say does not matter, it is his way or no way. He will ask me to go somewhere with him and always refuse. He has not made love to me in 2 years so i feel that he does not want me any more. I am so lost and do not know what to do except cry. I hide my feelings from other family members or friends quite well. I feel like i am nothing, no energy, spunk, nothing. Please help me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 30 2017 at 9:32 am
Carolyn, I'm so sorry you're in such a troubling situation, that sounds dreadful. You are worthy of love and care, he is not the authority on who you are and your value as a person. Have you considered leaving? Could you reach out to someone close to you or seek therapy? Please read this article: <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/10/coping-with-verbal-abuse/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Coping with Verbal Abuse</a>
Believe it or not, you are completely separate from him, he does not define you. You have value and worth that has nothing to do with him, you are deserving of love and admiration. I think you've found yourself in a dangerous spot here, it sounds like this has gone on for some time now. I hope you very seriously consider seeking therapy and leaving. Your life does not have to be this way. You are capable of living a happy life, filled with love and laughter and genuine connections. Please continue reaching out. Thanks, Emily
lucy
says:
September, 4 2017 at 2:24 am
I have been verbally and emotionally abuse by my husband,nothing is do good enough for him always making me feel less of myself,the past 5yrs of marriage this what I go through.am tired and am gradually giving up.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Rameen
says:
September, 27 2017 at 12:24 am
I thought I was only thinking its verbal abuse but I realized it's not it is real and my husband is abusing me verbally he hates everything I do and finds faults in all the things I do and tells me to shut the fuck up and I don't know and then blames me that I disrespect him etc and it has caused me depression and anxiety
Kyle
says:
August, 28 2017 at 8:44 am
I can really relate to this. After years of being demeaned and belittled by kids in school, teachers family members and coworks every thing is broken. Now realizing that I didn't have to deal with those things I'm trying to pick up the pieces. It's hard to figure out where to start and it's also hard to keep consistent. It's good to read that there's ways to fix and prevent this in the future.
Henry
says:
May, 9 2017 at 12:02 pm
My wife is abusive yells screams demeans me. She degrades me in social situations. The past week she blew up about something very minor was angry degrading all week. She cannot apologize and always seeks to blame me. I will apologize when I am wrong. There is no talking through issues it is her way or the highway. Can tell more it gets much much worse. I find that I am depressed, she has isolated me from my friends. I find that as a result of the abuse and related issues I suffer from ptsd. I am serious when I say that. I literally shut down when I challenge her on An issue. My mind literally goes blank. Very destructive, it has affected my job and relationships. I find that I have to isolate friends and work from her. Much much more goes on. Has been a very difficult road. Looking to resolve the relationship but I am afraid that it is over.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Maria
says:
July, 26 2017 at 3:24 am
Really sorry to hear that , and I know for men to be abused by female partner isn't taken seriously very much by others compare to vice versa. I advice you to warn her and be assertive. Tell her in case she did not change her ways you will leave. If she did not show any Care or willingness to change really then you have to leave. The stress can take its toll on your life and health. Life is short and health is important and you shouldn't compromise them for anyone even a spouse

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Luke
says:
December, 30 2017 at 12:15 pm
Hi Henry, thanks for sharing your situation. I also live with an abusive wife. I have finally reached the point I need to address the issue. I have been reading online, and the advice seems to be written for woman with abusive husbands. It was of great comfort to hear from a man suffering as I do.
Thulakahle khumalo
says:
April, 9 2017 at 4:57 am
I need help, the father of my 4 kids is very abusive in all forms:sexually,physically,emotionally,verbally,and controlling. He stays with another woman whom he paid lobola without me knowing,he claim he want polygamy. He call me names,insult,hacking my phone accusing me of cheating.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Rameen
says:
September, 27 2017 at 12:26 am
Leave him uts better you can live all your life like that and of course your Childers shouldn't learn anything from this man
Krystal
says:
August, 17 2016 at 2:43 am
Is it verbal abuse when the guy jumps ur butt over stupid stuff ? Even when you haven't done anything?! Calls names cuz he's in bad mood or curses you out when u don't answer your phone cuz u are somewhere ya can't answer like work or court or somewhere like that ? Reading this stuff apparently I've delt with verbal abuse most of my life. Have ptsd from childhood drama and abuse anyways so I guess I just deal with it like it's normal even when friends and family are telling me it's not ok and I deserve better.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
August, 17 2016 at 4:30 am
You do deserve better. Life is much better without someone calling you names or basically stalking you so he can be mad that you didn't answer your phone. Your friends and family are right. Keep reading about verbal abuse and emotional abuse.
Julie
says:
February, 7 2016 at 7:46 am
Hi , I'm Julie and I don't even know where to start . I am verbally abused so bad that I have been broken . I am always happy , I love people , I always am told that I wish everyone was happy like me but since this 1 1/2 years of our 9 year relationship has been HELL. I'm 52 he is 54 , we have no children , furbabies , I own a hair salon for 33 years and he is an engineer . He drinks beer everyday night after work and the devil has his tongue , my heart and spirit are broke .. He calls me a Loser , stupid , fat f ing pig , I'm 120 pds btw, and he says he has to think of someone else to release when we make love because I'm so disgusting and says things I wouldn't say to a rat in the sewer .. I hate him I hate what he has done to me I hate that I'm in this , I wasn't raised like trash , he is a nasty soul then quotes God always shields him , just a hypocrite . I'm leaving , I want to be closer to my salon and get an apt , he will help me , I moved her from Stephenville TX to be with him , my Hairsalon of 30 years , 800 clients but it was talked about for 4 years of of relationship , but we both were so excited and I was ready to move up here to Allen, TX to be with him and this I would have NEVER seen coming , this past year has been a nightmare , I'm in a dark place but I didn't ask for this , I don't deserve it , I can't afford a lot so he will help me get in my feet , I'm done . My heart is broken and numb so now it's time to get a cute apt and live my life , I'm ready ., my business is great and now I won't have to walk on eggshells when I come home from work every night . Going to start back working out , boot camps and going places and love me ., I don't know who ever said Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me , but that's wrong , words hurt like a knife going in deeper and deeper , you eventually forgive but I will never forget ., I have recorded him so many times and I will keep those but hearing them omg it's the devil , . I love all of you gong thru this and we can do it , get away, they are the ones who are unhappy with themselves , he was my soulmate but now he is nothing to me . It also changed so fast . It's sad but I'm going to live what life God has for me in a happy environment and that's alone and maybe someday I will be ready for someone to enter my life but for now , I'm excited for my new journey . God Bless each and everyone of us . We are team , we can do this ..
nick
says:
January, 11 2016 at 2:57 pm
i have a lot of these problems with my parents, and ive known about it for a while. the 'living in the future' symptom hit me hard. i never knew that was a symptom? it kinda hurts. it feels too far away. im 16 i cant leave for two years at least and im severely depressed, anxious, etc.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
January, 12 2016 at 9:30 am
Nick, can you talk to a school counselor? Maybe he or she can help. At your age, "living in the future" is also a part of growing up. You're a young man and it's normal to think about where you want to be. While living in abuse, you could make some real plans as to how to get to that future you want. I know it can be hard to plan ahead when you're anxious and depressed, but doing so can actually help you focus on things that are good for you and relieve some of the depression and anxiety.
Amy
says:
September, 12 2015 at 2:04 pm
Only I struggle with forgiving my abuser and I'm bitter from it. I'm not the same person I was two years ago.
Amy
says:
September, 12 2015 at 2:00 pm
You are right on with the abuse comments. I went through a similar situation with a LMHC. I ended up being put on more meds and I couldn't figure out why I was regressing. I suffer PTSD now.
norma
says:
May, 25 2015 at 3:49 am
This sounds like my life.
Minerva
says:
May, 23 2015 at 5:31 pm
All these men have no respect for women, never will no matter what they say. Mine pretends to be this great guy who loves women because he loved his mother. His father beat him and his sister and brother and his mother was helpless to do a thing about it. This was back in the 50's when women basically had no recourse at all. I truly believe that because of the fact that his mother couldn't help the kids , in his subconscious mind all women are useless and when he gets mad he becomes abusive toward me and to some extent other women. If you look at the past of most abusive men, there is neglect or abuse of some kind whether it's verbal or physical. Look at their family history. When I hear women say they still love this man I fine it hard to believe. I'm with my abusive husband for reasons, but I don't think love is one of them. That was destroyed many years ago. Now it's a kind of "I feel stuck, so I guess I have to do what I have to do to live a semi normal life, even if it's only for a day here and there". When he's normal I enjoy those times, but I always know they won't last. Forget the idea that it will get better, it won't no matter what you do. Ever! You could win a million dollars in the
lottery and it wouldn't be good enough. Nothing, I mean
nothing will ever be good enough because their past can't be fixed. Whatever went wrong in their youth is there forever with them. They're not like normal people who can overcome it and move on and realize they don't want to be like that. They're always fighting that person who treated them bad and you happen to be that person who gets to relive the horror over and over again. You are the perpetual punching bag. They never won the fight with their abuser, and in turn they're going to make sure you never win the fight against them. it's like ground hog day living with an abuser. It happens over and over again. You can count on it sure as the sun will come up. Don't feel you have to say you love them, it's not necessary. They are not lovable. They are monsters. I feel pity at times because they can't ever enjoy life, but love, hell no, because he doesn't really love you. We're just the whipping boy for all his petty grievances, even the ones that are so small that you have to laugh because they're so stupid. You're there to facilitate what they think they need. It's not love, believe me. You're the puppet and he pulls the strings. I read stories about couples who have normal give and take and support and I feel so sad because I can't have it with the psycho I live with. I envy friends who live what I see as normal lives where people get together and do things but I can't because I know at some point my psycho will ruin it, so I just stay away and do things by myself. It's all about self preservation. I'm just too weak and too much of a coward to walk away. Anyone seeing my psycho in action would think i have lost my mind sticking around. There's just barely enough good to keep me here, plus the thought of trying to start over at 55 with little family and no job is overwhelming. None of us should ever feel for 1 millisecond that any of this is our fault. We are whole, they are not and most likely never will be.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alison
says:
July, 6 2017 at 12:16 pm
Minerva, I know exactly how you feel. I've been with my abuser for 29 years. I feel trapped. I was so severely depressed for so long it's a miracle I didn't kill myself. Now that I'm an abuse victim, I finally have answers to many of the questions that plaqued me. I haven't worked in 17 years, but I am going to leave him asap.
Amanda
says:
May, 13 2015 at 11:41 am
I am looking for some advice or reassurance that the way I feel is not all in my head. I am pretty sure that my common law husband of 15 years is verbally and mentally abusing me. I love him and when it is good its really good and I think I cling to the good memories to get through all the bad. He makes me feel like I over react and that I am overly sensitive, so I want to get an objective opinion.
My abuse happens everyday but my husband will dress up his insults as "Jokes". If I don't give him what he wants (in bed) he will say " Well I guess I have to go out and find myself someone who will". He taunts me with female friends and women we both know saying stuff like "I wonder how so and so would be like in bed, I bet she isn't broken down all the time like you" or "I have to go find me a spare for when you're broken down". He will check out women in front on me and he lets me know hes doing it by pointing out the woman and saying "Look at the a$$ and boobs on that one not saggy and old like yours" (I am 32 by the way). I thought that if I just ignored it and didn't show him it bothers me then maybe he would get bored and stop, well 15 years later and he still does it every time we go out to see if he can get a rise out of me. Its embarrassing because he doesn't hide it he doesn't whisper and half the time these poor women see or hear him and give me this poor you face. When I do get mad about it he flips it on me and makes it about me and how I have trust issues.
He blames me for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life. If he lost his keys its because I moved them. If he has a bad stomach its because of my food, if the kids act out its because I sick as a parent.
He treats me like a slave or his mother because he can't do anything for himself. I have to make his meals for him and literally serve them to him. If I forget something or over look it I get called out for it. If I don't get the food for him he will either not eat or pout and get mad like a child. If I ask for help with something he totally ignores me until I get fed up and just do it myself yet gets mad at me and yells at me when I over do it and hurt myself. I have arthritis in my spine and when I do over do it (which is often) he doesn't help out with house work or meals instead he will have our 11 year old daughter and 6 year old son pick up the slack for him and help me to the stove to make the meals.
Everything I like is stupid. The music, movies, tv shows, sports, any views or opinions I have on any given topic is stupid and not worth listening to. If I am discussing something with him and ask him what I said he will say " I don't know I tuned you out because most of the stuff you talk about is useless, meaningless information that does not have anything to do with anything important so its not worth my time and effort to listen to you".
I am terrified to drive when he is in the car with me (which is all the time because he has a suspended license and I am now his personal chauffeur). If I don't drive the way he wants me to he will relentlessly and brutally yell, insult and call me every word in the book and reduce me to tears while I am driving to the point where I have to pull over to compose myself. He has done this in front of the kids and my parents.
When I confront him about his behavior he says "That's fine I will buy you and the kids a ticket and send you home to your parents, if you don't like it there's the door". He knows by telling me this it will shut me up because I have no where to go I don't have a job or make my own money, I am a stay at home mom with no family close by. I am totally depended on him. I am depressed, physically and mentally exhaust. I am walking on egg shells all the time wondering if I joke with him is he going to pitch a fit and get mad at me, if the house isn't perfect will I get yelled at. He has never laid a finger on me physically, what do I do? I am sick all the time and honestly I think its because of all this, maybe all this stress is being manifested into physical pain and ailments, is that even possible? Please any advice is welcomed.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
May, 14 2015 at 1:16 pm
Your husband abuses you. A friend of mine had phantom bruises due to the verbal and emotional abuse. There was no explanation for the bruises from the doctor. So I believe abuse manifests in physical ailments and mental illnesses. Call the National Domestic Violence Program for help and places you can contact for help locally. Also, get free mentoring to help you here: http://verbalabusejournals.com/mentoring-program-for-domestic-violence-survivors/mentor-request/

This is a short response, but very sincere. Get some support and help as soon as you can. You do not deserve what he says and does to you. You're worth so much more.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jaime
says:
September, 29 2018 at 7:02 am
Omg do we have the same spouse? Gosh it’s like they have a Manuel they follow or something. What ever happened with your situation? I am in a very similar situation and am trying to build up the confidence and resources to leave. It’s so hard when they control all the money and mine even takes the car away from me which is completely insane. He acts more like I am his teenage child then his spouse I am realizing how weird that all of this actually is. I am always sick and in physical pain. It really does start taking a huge toll on your health. Especially when you have to just endure it all without having anyone to even vent too about it. He has definitely isolated me completely from all friends and family. The only person ai have is my daughter who is under two. So I couldn’t say anything to her and wouldn’t because no matter what he is the only father she will ever have and I helped him raise his 18 year old daughter for the last 10+ years so i know he is a good Dad just not a good spouse.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fionnaidh Halloran
says:
October, 11 2018 at 8:10 am
Omg. That is my husband to a T. Reading your post im like 'oh you poor darling'. Then it hit me, that that's ME.
I pray you've gotten away from him, i'm decades with mine!!
I cant respond much, its devastated me to read something so precise. God protect you and your babies.
F??
Chris
says:
May, 11 2015 at 9:30 pm
What's hard for me is that he gets in a rage, and in addition to the expletives, says he wants a divorce because he can't take it any more. That hurts but then the next day we are silent and the day after we "come around" - usually me going to him.

It's hard cause I buy into something about me. Says I'm living in a fantasy because I can't accept his being "annoyed" as "human." I buy into his assessment that I'm too sensitive. Gets angry if I disagree and explain I get annoyed by how I feel he dismisses me when he won't discuss with me what to do about something he said he would take care of. Tells me to Google it - he can't be bothered. to me feels like being dissed.

If it's "human to get annoyed" then I'm not sure why my getting annoyed is worse than his, so much so that his rage feels justified. Feels like projecting because he says I never see my part then goes ballistic. Seems he's pretty darn sensitive himself to get that out of control.

I realize now I have bought into this "too sensitive" thing from my early childhood. My dad told me my mom was too sensitive and emotional and he didn't love her anymore. My whole family has always said that. So am I? I simply start believing that, and think maybe I am.

Bottom line, i just want a less grumbling partner and one who follows through and doesn't feel like I'm imposing on him when I ask a question he can't answer about some household thing. I want collaboration and a supportive interest in my needs.

rage is destructive. He will say I'm
Sorry" a day or two later but doesn't say what for, last time he just said "I'm sorry I'm so unhappy."

At face value when he's enraged he doesn't want me - hates me, calls me awful things, later says he's sorry (in a day or two). But then we both settle in and act if nothing happened. We kiss and hang out. Maddening.

But it now sits under my skin and I cannot ignore it.

He's promised to see a therapist and sees someone once or twice, but doesn't feel they are good, but doesn't invest in finding someone better.

I know I can't control him. I know I can only work on myself. But as long as there is a slight chance "if only I'd get better" or "make a change myself", that it could tilt things such that he wouldn't rage, I stay in it.

What the h is wrong with me - either truly that I am "in a fantasy" sick and messed up - or that I myself cannot find the courage to leave - either way I feel helpless. Bad feeling. Stuck and anxious.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
May, 12 2015 at 4:31 am
Chris, don't get stuck in either/or thinking. There's always at least one other explanation or thing you could do.

First off, you are not "in a fantasy" or sick/messed up. Almost every abuser says those exact things. Mine told me I didn't understand the real world and that I was fu@#ed in the head. You'll find that theme in many stories of abuse you can find online.

The second choice, that you can't find the courage to leave, is less about courage and more about resolve. It takes courage to live with an explosive person - if you're praying for "courage" knock it off. You've got all you need.

It sounds to me that you're a very aware person who understands their partner's behavior is horrible. It seems that you're in the stage of giving him chances to improve. (I did the same thing - you aren't alone in this). I believe what helped me out of the mindset is the belief that "I'm sorry you've got it so hard, but I can't take anymore." And I left to save my mental health (and my life).

I got to the point of valuing my health after understanding abuse, learning I cannot control him (both of which you've done), and writing out proof of the abuse. There's something about seeing, in your own handwriting, the instances of abuse described on paper. Every time you enter a new incident, you'll see the others there, too. It works to prove to your emotions what your mind already knows. "This guy hurts me. I need better."

One tool I wish I had is a proper safety plan for the time I still lived with my ex. Go here: http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/

Scroll to the bottom of the page and print out the safety plan. You can purchase it if you like workbooks, but it's free to print. I think it will help you realize you do have options. Life is rarely "either/or."
Minerva
says:
March, 6 2015 at 3:22 pm
I have been married to a verbally abusive man for 33 years. He is the quintessential abuser. Started out the most charming and exciting man I had ever known. If only I had known the signs back then. Coming from a chaotic home, I guess it didn't really strike me as being so odd at the time and I was 22. What did I know? The first time he called me a fucking bitch was over my not wanting to taste some brownies that he had made. Brownies that I had started to make, but that he took over because "he knew how to make them better". Isn't that typical? He always thinks he knows everything when in reality, because of his skewed perception of everything, he really knows nothing. He lives in that mentally I'll world of "everyone is out to get me". Nothing makes him angrier than if he feels he's been disrespected. Yet he can be walking out the back door as he's yelling at the top of his lungs for me to get fucked, knowing I won't follow him because I'm so ashamed knowing the neighbors hear every word. The latest episode was this afternoon over a rug. He was going to put another throw rug in our living room and I told him I didn't want another rug. Full on explosion. Name calling again as he goes out the door. And then the threats. All over a stinking rug!!!! Now he's employed the silent treatment which is by me. He thinks I'm unhappy about that. Ha! I love it. I'm in the process of detaching myself from him. I've taken up some hobbies and volunteer at a pet adoption on the weekend so I don't have to be with him as much as i used to. He retired about a year and and a half ago and he's gotten worse. He's the ultimate control freak about everything. He's taken to cleaning and doing all the yard work which we used to share. I used to enjoy gardening but don't anymore because all i get is criticism on how I'm doing things. I don't enjoy much because of him, other my solo activities. I don't like going anywhere with him either because he's always rude to people. He has to let them know who is boss. It's all so sad. I really can't stand him anymore. Wish i had the guts to really leave. I'm working on myself though. Trying to get strong and be with positive happy people. All young girls should be made aware of these monsters before they get caught like so many of us have been. If only I had known.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
March, 7 2015 at 8:07 am
Minerva, there is a safety plan you can download for free at the bottom of this page: http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/

It is for victims still living with their abuser and is designed to (hopefully) show you there are options to living with your abuser and to give you the strength to leave.

Take a look at it - there's no fee if you download it at the bottom of the page.
LE
says:
February, 23 2015 at 8:00 am
So glad to find this site. I left my 5 year marriage at the start of this year. Well she actually pushed to leave after detaching for the last 6 months. I remember many night crying in my heart why she cant connect to me. Being afraid to approach her for sexual relations because I don't know if she is going to be offended or just angry. I have a long ways to go to get my identity back but I am on the road. Thank you all
Jill Adkison
says:
February, 19 2015 at 7:51 am
I am at the very beginning of the seemingly long journey of leaving my abusive husband. It is overwhelming. I need help!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
February, 28 2015 at 6:03 am
Visit <a href="http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/" rel="nofollow"> to download a safety plan</a> that will help you stay or leave safely. Leaving is overwhelming because of money, kids, and the fear implanted in your brain that makes you feel leaving is next to impossible. The safety plan will help you.
Ginni
says:
February, 4 2015 at 11:12 pm
I have dealt with this in the past, for many years. One thing I have come to realise is that it is not only the abuse that hurts and harms you, your soul and your life, but it is the LACK of LOVE that also so damaging. It is difficult to Live in such a dark and unfriendly environment and this is what so many people on the outside, fail to understand, I think. You had been loving, kind and caring, but when that is met with narcissistic cruelty, it can have the most damaging effect on who you are, your identity, can feel like it is slowly being eroded away. I am still trying to heal myself and my life today, it has been a long slow process. I try to stay positive and remind myself to Focus on Love. It is so important to have Fun, (allow yourself to have fun.) each day, if you can. I think We need to have some fun to help bring back some balance into our lives. I am still trying, though not always successfully, (often I find myself struggling with life),but I am trying. My personal progress has been affected by having to deal with other abusive people, who are close family members, also( I try to limit time around them, where possible but I have found it difficult because of my living situation,presently.) I am still on the road to recovery and hope to get to a happier place soon.
RIKA
says:
February, 4 2015 at 1:10 pm
I just wanted to thank you for all the information and insight. I was in a verbally and physically abusive relationship for what seemed like a lifetime. I just didn't know what to call it, and that it wasn't my fault. You get so into the cycle that it becomes normal after a while. I left and came back so many times.It's so very refreshing to know that I'm not crazy and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Nancy
says:
February, 4 2015 at 4:21 am
I just am across this blog and most of the things I have read seem to be where I am at now, I have been with my fiancé for five years and the beginning of our relationship was great, he was respectful, thoughtful, charming and protective. About 2 1/2 years ago he started to criticize and yell at me for every little thing, from backing out of the drive way the wrong way to not saying good morning in the right way. I started to freeze up with anxiety and felt like I did something wrong or I would cry and or sometimes yell back. After I would get the "Im sorry baby, I love you, I was just angry" text messages and then he would act like nothing happen. This became my normal weekly situation. I had a talk with him about how it is not ok to speak to me that way at all and it got better for a couple months then slowly came back. He does drink everyday and he can be a monster when hes drunk. This morning we were driving to work and he thought I did something (which I still have no clue what he thinks I did, something to do with the bedroom light?) but he slammed every door on the way out, got in the car and continued to slam the glove box and threw my purse across the back, and yelled called me names, "shut up and F**king drive dumbass." Now Im not stupid, I know I deserve better, I know its not me and my fault for his behavior, but I think im at the point where I have lost myself and I do love him but I just don't know what to do or how to go about it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
says:
February, 28 2015 at 6:50 am
Try this page: http://verbalabusejournals.com/2015/02/abuse-is-never-love-but-i-wanted-it-to-be/

And then download the safety plan at the bottom of this page: http://verbalabusejournals.com/how-stop-abuse/safety-planning/
Ann
says:
February, 2 2015 at 1:16 am
After 15 years together, I am a shell of myself. I doubt myself constantly and feel anxious about so much. My children are getting older and I can no longer deny the unhealthy life we are living. My husband appears perfect to the outside world...so I fool myself that he's not that bad. After all, when I snap and tell him I can't live like this anymore, he becomes perfect to us. He's humble, regretful, loving, funny...everything I know he can be. Problem is, when I agree to give him another chance, things begin to change. It becomes a slow decline into hell. This past Christmas Eve, he had another abusive explosion. It was directed toward me but the kids heard everything and my son felt responsible. It was when I was comforting my crying children, telling them it was no big deal..let's be happy! It's Christmas! I felt like I was out of my own body. Denying and pretending is a way of life but something about it being Christmas helped me have a moment of clarity. It looked happy in the morning, presents and a beautiful tree. But we all knew. I watched my 13 and 10 year old acting like they had forgotten the ugly night before. I'm not particularly religious, but I know God was with us. To abuse us on Christmas Eve seemed like the signal I needed to end my denial. I need to end this unhealthy way of life so at least my kids might have a fighting chance.
mary
says:
January, 29 2015 at 7:09 am
I have been married for 25 years. I was under the impression everyone dealt with being shoved or bruised at one time or another with their husband. After a few very embarrassing moments of him talking about me at a party that I literally left discreetly and talking behind my back to the people that I work with, the pieces started to come together. It took me years to figure this all out. Now I understand why I have no respect from my son. Then once I decided to let him know I am considering divorce thats when his true colors came out. I had no idea what was happening to me. He blocked me, threw my car keys at me, followed me around the house, scaring me, and yelling at me as if he was in horror movie, and all this behind closed doors, but yet go to a party, and guess who is the life of the party and they all adore! They all want to know what is wrong with me? Now he allows my son to join-in to hear the differences between him &amp; I then allowed my son to yell at me and demean me too. I had no idea what was happenig. I finally started to do some research. Thank goodness for sisters, friends, and books "Why is he So Mean?" "Inside the Minds of Angry &amp; Controlling Men", and definitely the lifesaver is also this website Healthyplace.com helped me keep my sanity. After all that, and much counseling to find out its not me, I still sit there. He wonders why I will not sit down and talk to him. Now I understand why. I want basically nothing to do with him. He has me terrified to talk to him for fear he will continue to blame me, yell at me and put me down. I will never confide him. I was confused as to why I would no longer talk to him, but now I understand. He has done this to me. Everytime I would try to explain the issue of how he is always demeaning me, or when he shoved me to bruises, he tells me he does not remember. He's textbook definition. I need to gain courage and realize he is an abuser. The person that I always adored, does not like me as much as I liked him. In all the mild arguement we had I always told him you do not Like me! I am afraid of you. He would tell me I was nuts. The puzzle took a very long time, but its starting to make sense. Now I just need to put that missing puzzle piece thats missing in my head to move on in my life, and realize he has made no attempt to change. Not in one million years did I ever think this was going to be the result. So very sad, more than anything. No one would ever think that of him. Thank you.
Heather
says:
January, 28 2015 at 7:10 am
I left my abuser last August after 10 years of verbal and what had escalated to physical abuse. I no longer knew myself, no longer recognized myself....a shell of the person I used to be. I stumbled across this site, a blog about the emptiness and hollow feelings that are a part of this terrible cycle. It's been months, its been a rough road but I am starting to feel parts of the "me" I used to know starting to emerge. Don't give up.....
Sammi (@33Sammi32)
says:
January, 22 2015 at 2:47 pm
I felt like this back when I lived at home. For most of my childhood that I can remember. (my abuser was my mother)
Michelle
says:
January, 19 2015 at 7:42 am
Aha, hit me like like a bolt of lightening, your comment about how you felt you were missing something. I felt that way too, for YEARS! I left my &gt;20 year abusive marriage almost 3 years ago. Got divorced about a month ago. And now, finally, I don't feel like I'm missing the ever elusive "IT" , that unknown thing I could never put my finger on but felt deeply. Ha, it was called "life"!!!! I have one now :) Thank you for this moment of clarity!

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