Verbal Abuse Coping Skills for When You Can't Just Leave

October 24, 2017 Emily J. Sullivan

Verbal abuse coping skills help you when you can't leave the abusive relationship. Here are verbal abuse coping skills you can start using right away.

Learning verbal abuse coping skills is more important than you might think. Common misconceptions about verbally abusive relationships are that verbal abuse is solely characteristic of romantic relationships and that you can simply leave. Verbal abuse can be present in relationships involving parent and child, siblings, friends, romantic relationships, co-workers, school-yard bullies -- the list continues. Considering people cannot immediately leave their family, quit their job, or change schools, it can be life-changing to develop verbal abuse coping strategies such as learning the facts about verbal abuse, response techniques, and ways to love yourself amidst the verbal abuse.

People often advise others to “just leave” and while this advice likely comes from a place of love, it may not be realistic. With that being said, verbal abuse does not have to plague your life. If you can escape, do so promptly. Your future self will thank you. These verbal abuse coping skills and tips are for relationships that you cannot readily exit and should be helpful until you’re able to remove yourself from the situation entirely.

Try These Verbal Abuse Coping Skills

Things You Need to Know

  • Verbal abuse does not happen because of some character flaw in you. The character flaw belongs to the abuser. Verbal abusers are typically narcissists, deeply insecure, or have some other inherent issues completely separate from their association with you. Truly grasping this about the abuser can severely weaken the impact of their verbal assaults but strengthen your verbal abuse coping skills.
  • Remember the abuser is not the authority on who you are as a person. You are distinct from how your abuser perceives you. Identify your personal truths and hold on to them. If you have always known something to be true, do not be convinced otherwise.
  • You need to find ways to be assertive. You have the power to be an assertive person every day and you can do this in the smallest ways. When someone asks where you’d like to meet for lunch, rather than asking the other person to choose, pick your favorite restaurant. If someone suggests you do something you’d rather not, politely decline. Small assertive actions will help you to build your confidence and find your voice.

Learn Ways to Respond to Verbal Abuse

  • Examine the most recent incident of verbal abuse; now examine any escalators that may have occurred. Make a mental note of the escalator and try to remove it or avoid it in future incidents. Verbal abuse is not your fault. However, you are not powerless either; you can exercise your power by making these modifications.
  • Avoid verbally abusive encounters if you can feel them coming. Find a reason to be busy until the mood subsides. Ignore the remarks you’re able to. Verbal abusers often feed off of the response they get. Find ways to alter your response.
  • Try not to engage in verbally abusive behavior as a rebuttal. For example, if someone calls you names, rather than call him or her a name back, try setting a boundary. I know this is easier said than done but explore this tactic seriously.

Learn to Love Yourself Amidst the Verbal Abuse

  • Practice self-care. Do things you enjoy, even small things like watching your favorite film or reading. Get a haircut or buy yourself something you fancy. Small acts of self-care make people feel better, even if just a little better, it makes a difference.
  • Make a point of spending time with people who love you and build you up. Involvement with a verbal abuser can lead to alienation from loved ones. Reach out, this is so important.
  • Compliment yourself. Take note of your daily successes, acknowledge your talents and best character traits, and remember you are your own person with inner strength and personal power. The abuser can never change that, try as he or she might.

Verbal abuse coping skills help you when you can't leave the abusive relationship. Here are verbal abuse coping skills you can start using right away.

APA Reference
Sullivan, E. (2017, October 24). Verbal Abuse Coping Skills for When You Can't Just Leave, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Emily J. Sullivan

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Alex Cortez
September, 15 2022 at 10:57 pm

Great advice! Now I lock myself in my room whenever I am home, because my sibling is an aggressive, self conscious, jerk. Who has mood swings and rants about stuff that happened a decade ago.

June, 18 2022 at 10:00 pm

Married 48 years. My husband who is type 2 diabetic is verbally and physically abusive. This behavior started about 5 years ago. I have informed our doctor and asked for help. Lot of good that did he assigned a case manager to me who pushed me off on adult protection services. From there a social worker took a report, did nothing. Then sheriff comes to my door unannounced I told him I want help for my husband. Sheriff came back next day to talk to my husband and decided this is a mutual problem . Now things are worse my husband is fuming mad that he was 'blindsided' by sheriffs visit. Sheriff did tell him to get his sugar under control. Good luck he is worse. Help

June, 20 2022 at 12:42 pm

Hello Loretta, I am Cheryl Wozny, current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage and strength to let others know what is going on in your life. I am sorry that you have been running into difficulties when you reached out for help previously. No one should sustain further or worse abuse after trying to seek help. I encourage you to visit our Resources page… to talk to someone who may be able to direct you to a local support office that will be successful for you and your husband.

September, 26 2021 at 1:03 pm

I’m got married 2 years ago. I always knew there was an anger issue, so I stopped trying to get him to comprise because he perceived that as me controlling him. Any time there is slight disagreement, dishes, staying out until morning etc, he screams, yells, calls me a stupid B that no one will ever want. Spit on me. I feel so humiliated. I don’t have any friends that know, and I can’t go to my family, in fear that they will hate him. Even at night I plug my ears and pray until the tirade is over. Im scared to leave, and scared that I will actually never have another happy relationship. I’ve tried to leave before and we just make up and the cycle keeps going. I realize I have a choice, I’m just not ready to leave and I can’t stop replaying all the horrible things he says. I keep having to make excuses for work and school because I’m in such distress. I thought about going to a hotel for a few nights, but he will just kick me out.

Taryna Goodman
July, 12 2021 at 7:33 am

To Emily,
I have tried to cope with my verbally abusive husband for 20 years. I have tried to focus on positive things and stay in the relationship as we have a son who is 17 now. For the most part, my son is thoughtful, astute and respectful. I hope he will be able to have a healthy, loving relationship with a woman in his lifetime. However, I believe my husband's bullying and verbal abuse has taken it's toll on me, affecting my mental and physical health for many years. I have tried to have compassion and empathy but I cannot withstand the words and actions any longer. My husband exhibits ALL of the characteristics that you listed. I have NOT been able to assert or defend myself. I deal with the anger and abuse with tears, silence, grief, pain, exercise, music, work, tv, avoidance, denial, walks, a couple friendships and some supportive family members. I have only one friend that I openly discuss with but she is not mentally healthy herself(on meds for years for obsessive/compulsive). I avoid dwelling on things for the most part so I can function in day-to-day life. My mother is 85 years old. I do not want to burden her with my problems. I have to take care of her. My brother is an extremely busy business man and I don't want to bother him either. However, not for the first time, I have thoughts of leaving but am paralyzed to put things into action. I feel guilty about leaving my son. I am afraid of not being able to support myself financially. I will look like a failure to friends and family. I feel I will lose the respect of family and friends. I am afraid of the repercussions of trying to leave: anger, revenge, conflict, confrontation, yelling, intimidation, physical violence and the harm splitting up may cause my son.

Who cares.
July, 1 2021 at 3:14 pm

You a failure, trash, fat pig, embarrassing. If you look deep inside you will see you are a failure. I hate you. This from my wife, when I have had a bad day. Suicidal thoughts everyday. Emptiness and a hole in my chest. Best time of the day 5pm. Because it's another day I never have to live through. Worst time. Bedtime. The chances of me waking up in the morning quite high. Wish on the way to work I would get killed by a accident. It hurts.

July, 7 2021 at 2:59 pm

Hello, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. I am sorry that you have been dealing with this abuse from your wife. No one should have to suffer these behaviors from anyone, especially a partner who should be supportive and loving. I encourage you to visit our resources page here:… and see if you can find some help in your area to start your journey of healing. I wish you luck on your journey to better health and healing.

November, 23 2020 at 7:39 pm

What can I do when a family member just starts saying some "verbal abuse like" words? It has nothing to do with a fight, they are not in a bad mood, they just say it casually as if that's the truth. Am I being too sensitive to those casual (hurtful) words? What should I do? It hurts. I feel like crying when writing this comment. This has been going on for a while now but it just this past 2 weeks that I started noticing it. I kinda wish I hadn't noticed it, that way I'm not hurting so bad.

October, 5 2019 at 10:30 pm

I have been in an abusive relationship for 6 years my child is five I am lost, stuck pray for me please

October, 12 2019 at 10:59 am

Hi love. I'm really sorry that you're feeling this way and experiencing abuse in your relationship. The best advice I can give you is to stay strong and try to do what's best for you and your child while being safe. Here is a resource that I hope will help.…. You can get through this. Love and light, Katlyn.

August, 17 2018 at 12:11 pm

Thank you for adding that truth some of us know we are in an abusive relationship marriage but cant leave without risk of homelessness losing kids I don't have the support I wished I did like a sister to stay with I have 4 kids no one but family can be asked to do that much support us till I get on my feet plus the rent rate no credit and only high school education I could work night n day n not make it just basics I get no child support 3 teen kids dad will never pay order in place tx attorney gen is a joke no car no drivers lisence suspended due to no insurance ticket got surcharges gone but now false things on driving record no court has record of so can't remove r keeping it from me now 2 my 3 year old guy I'm talking bout now has blood sugar disorder moniter and feed a kid who refuses to eat nonstop 14 year old severe mental illness learning disabled 15 year old n 17 year olds r semi ok so far but stressed. I attract the worst I'm mild gentle quiet too trusting open idk first 3 kids dad physically and severe mental abuse had to run left home I put 20000 on with my dad's death money car crash awful and bought van 15000 cash not building credit he tore all seats broke all windows slashed tires hit with his truck over m over n yes I called police they came they saw they said I could get lawyer n sue him in in small tx town law is corrupt last name is what matters. Anyway left with nothing n met who I'm with now sane first n middle names ha n he played so sweet said he wanted to help n even if we didn't work hed leave us in a good place n I moved us into house we rented my son had quit eating for week so stressed I moved em they were preteen not crazy like now 3 teenagers one bipolar and we had a baby I was 40 super surprise he changed most after her birth I guess felt I was stuck but I found online crazy crap a few months into moving with him like sending nudes to many many women I was devastated he still says I didn't see what I saw I showed him n still deny and ads all guys do it I'm crazy. I have to stay my son graduates this year I hope to move towns after maybe an rv idk he's now threatening to leave n leaving for week ect sex is reason he won't admit but yup none 6 months from me my 14 year old on our bed plus 3 year old because of house thing we r in been looking for year for house to rent that functions n is nornal he turns each down as they get more expensive n all rented few r available my son been in this school since kinder not moving him his last year. Just pray I guess all I got so much well all of my situation would be solved with money n I have none.

Marsha Little
November, 25 2017 at 3:31 pm

My mother has vascular dimensia and my son has Asperger's. I get a lot of verbal abuse. I appreciate these helpful hints.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 25 2017 at 5:53 pm

Marsha, Thanks so much for reading, I'm so glad you got something out of it. Hang in there, I commend you for dealing with everything you do! Reach out anytime, Emily

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