Leaving your abuser is a process. I left my abuser dozens of times before it was finally over.
Verbal Abuse in Relationships
Most survivors of relationship abuse have probably not heard the term "coercive control," but they've almost certainly experienced it.
I've come face-to-face with many myths that re-traumatize victims of abuse while recovering from an abusive relationship amidst a roller coaster of emotions. For me, it has brought on a lot of guilt and anxiety about how it has impacted my other relationships. It's one thing to write about it so openly, knowing others who have been through the same thing will read it and relate to it. It's another thing to talk about it with people I'm close to who haven't experienced it, unsure of how they will react. I've often found myself at a loss for how to explain or even share what I've been through in those situations. Sometimes, the way people respond to me show how societal myths re-traumatize victims of abuse.
There is an explosion in pop culture TV right now depicting how abusers are grooming their victims for abuse and I have mixed feelings about it.
What is the difference between abusive behavior and normal behavior? What counts as verbal abuse? The idea itself seems pretty straight-forward. Yet everyone has said things in anger they regret. Everyone has also had their feelings hurt by the words of others. But are those words abusive? How can we tell the difference?
Reacting to verbal abuse is the most natural, but not the best, choice; instead, learning to respond to verbal abuse is something you can do. For example, if you've ever been in a situation where someone is verbally abusing you, you've probably had the urge to do one of four things: get away as soon as possible to avoid the abuse, smooth over the aggression, zone out or freeze up and wait for it to end, or fight back.
Victim blaming typically happens from the outside looking in, but there was a large amount of blaming myself for the verbal abuse aimed at me during my abusive relationship. There were many times when there was a voice inside of me wondering if it was my fault that my boyfriend verbally abused me. This, despite the fact that I knew it shouldn't be happening.
Cold abuse, verbal abuse delivered without emotion, is familiar to many abuse victims. The film "I, Tonya," depicts the physically and verbally abusive home life of notorious Olympic skater Tonya Harding. Harding is best known for the scandal that took place in 1994 in which her husband, Jeff, carried out a plot to maim Nancy Kerrigan, her skating rival, prior to the winter Olympics that year. There is a scene in the film in which the teenaged Harding sits at the dining room table eating breakfast with her mother. She has a black eye, given to her by Jeff, her boyfriend at the time.
What is covert verbal abuse? When we hear the term “verbal abuse,” it’s easy to conjure up name-calling or demeaning comments spoken in anger. Verbal abuse isn’t always so obvious, however.
Verbal abuse and anger seem to go together. In fact, one common stereotype of abuse is that the abuser must have been angry when the behavior occurred. This makes sense because aggressive behavior is the easiest to see and understand. When it comes to verbal abuse, subtle psychological mind games are more difficult to pinpoint and explain than direct insults and putdowns.