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Recognize, Survive and Thrive a Verbally Abusive Relationship

Updated on November 13, 2011

Everyone is familiar with physical domestic violence – the bruises and scars are obvious. Verbal and emotional abuse may never escalate to the physical level but can be as damaging to a person as physical violence. There is a lot of verbal abuse taking place in today’s world that goes unnoticed. It affects women of all ages. The scars that it leaves behind are internal and very deep. Verbal abuse can rob you of your confidence, self-esteem, and spirit. Many times victims of verbal abuse feel broken and numb – they don’t think they can be hurt anymore.

There are many forms of verbal abuse. Name-calling is one. You might think – I would never allow my partner to call me names. That would apply to the obvious name-calling. But there is also name-calling hidden with “your best intentions”. Abusers put you down under the veil of trying to help you. It is “for your own good” and the criticism is meant to help you become a better person. There is mocking and sarcasm that is designed to hurt you. Usually these things are not done in front of others. My ex-husband would find something to yell at me for before every major life event – a child’s first birthday, or a parent’s anniversary party, or my own birthday party. He would berate me before all the guests arrived, or in the car on the way to the event. Once the event began, he would act as if nothing had happened. This is a common pattern with verbal abusers. They now feel they have control because they have beaten you down verbally. Another sign that you are in an abusive relationship is if you constantly feel you are “walking on eggshells”. This happens because you never know what will set them off, what will bring on the next rampage. You are constantly trying to keep the peace and feel exhausted most of the time. The abuser makes you believe it is your fault that he acts the way he does. You begin to get depressed or think that you are crazy. All of these feelings are common among verbal abuse victims. There are more signs of verbal abuse and great information at this website Patricia Evans is an author who has researched and written several books on this subject.

Types of Verbal Abuse:

· Name Calling

· Constant criticism

· Outbursts of rage toward you

· Makes unreasonable demands on you

· Impossible to please

· Threatening behavior

· Blaming

· Keeps you from family & friends

A good start for surviving and ending the verbal abuse is for the victim to bring back her sense of self. This sounds simple, yet the verbal and emotional abuse takes the hugest toll on the victim’s sense of self. One website suggests beginning with one thing that you were proud of and bringing it back into your daily life. Victims must resist the voices that will play out the verbal abuse in their head even after they have left the abuser. Don’t believe the voice of ridicule and criticism. Remind yourself of the known truths. A victim can survive and THRIVE after verbal abuse, but there is a lot of work to be done. Another good website is It is important to have a large support group, and that means letting people know what has really been going on. Don’t give up on friends you think are being abused. I left the abusive marriage and slowly healed and now thrive. It is not easy, but it can be done!


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      Kate West 16 months ago

      Thanks for this. I've been in that same lifelong abusive relationship with my parents. You would think it would change when I became an adult, but nope. Still happening.

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      lorna 3 years ago

      In an emotional/verbal abusive relaship with my sister. she's the abuser.

      I'm 36, and the abuse has been since we were teens. I used to over look her hurtful words and outburst of anger. But now I'm tired of living my life under a dark cloud. I'm done with this abusive relationship.