How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?

April 17, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

So, you want to know how to stop verbal abuse? I will give you an answer, but you're probably not going to like it. Read on for your answers.

The answer to "How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?" is...drum roll, please...You can't! I wish that you could control how another person speaks and how they act. But you can't.

Raise your hand if you've ever asked your verbally abusive husband or boyfriend to speak to you in a nicer way. Raise your hand if you've tearfully begged your verbally abusive wife to be kinder to you. Wow. That's a lot of hands.

Did it work? No. At least not forever. The next time your abuser felt turmoil, s/he used their anger or sly verbal manipulations to bring you down again because you cannot stop verbal abuse.

Why You Cannot Stop Verbal Abuse

Verbal abusers gain control and they benefit from abusing you. By abusing you, they feel more in control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. When the abuser infiltrates your every thought, you're more likely to do things and say things the abuser implanted in your mind. By controlling you, he or she gains more control over his or her life, too.

Your abuser knows that after verbally abusing you, you will react in predictable ways. You may cry, you may yell, but after awhile, you go back to them with an open heart, begging for them to love you. And every time you beg to be worthy of your abuser's love, they get a self-esteem kick out of it.

Even if they are the ones begging you to love them again, they see your agreement as a win. The abuser does not compromise, even if he or she pretends to do so. Every conversation you have is either a win or loss for the abuser. And the abuser hates to lose. Therefore, your abuser will drone on and on and on until they feel like they've won. And the thrill of getting you back or winning the conversation is enough to keep them coming back for more.

Your desire for them to love you makes them feel important and in control. When you tell your abuser how you feel, or how you want things to be, or how much you love them, you give your abuser ammunition. By opening your heart to your abuser, s/he gains a little more insight into what makes you tick. When you open up, your abuser learns new ways to hurt you, and then files the information away for the next time s/he feels out of control and needs you to react in a predictable way so they can feel at peace and in control.

You can't stop verbal abuse. You can't stop your abuser from abusing you. They are too invested in you to ever stop abusing you. Your reactions to their abuse makes you an invaluable asset; an asset they do not want to abandon because they do not know how to feel good about themselves without you feeling badly.

More Bad News About Why You Can't Stop Verbal Abuse

Here's the next bit of bad news. You can't teach them how to feel good about themselves in any "normal" way.

It doesn't matter to them if you are the most successful psychologist in America whose focus is on healing families suffering from verbal abuse. It doesn't matter to them how many other people think you are right or knowledgeable or deserve better treatment than the crap your abuser dishes out. You cannot teach an abuser to think differently because you are the target. The abuser's self-proclaimed job is to make you less than who you are so they feel better about themselves. Period.

You Can't Stop Verbal Abuse Because You Are Only A Target

So, you want to know how to stop verbal abuse? I will give you an answer, but you're probably not going to like it. Read on for your answers.

Riflemen and bow hunters learn to hone their skill to hit the bullseye each and every time from the target they use for practice. An abuser learns how to hit you more accurately the next time - how to hit you verbally, emotionally, mentally or physically with greater effect - because you are the target he or she uses for practice.

The only thing you can do to stop the verbal abuse is to remove yourself from it. You must at the very least become a moving target. You can do that in several different ways. Some of you are not ready to physically leave your abuser, and that is okay.

Honestly, you may never leave your abuser. You may choose to stay in your abusive relationship for any number of reasons; I stayed in my abusive marriage for just shy of 18 years. If you choose to stay - it is a choice, believe it or not - there are still things you can do to help preserve your sanity (Domestic Violence Safety Plan: A comprehensive plan that will keep you safer whether you stay or leave).

The next blogs I write will present options to you. For now, try to digest the fact that you cannot stop physical, mental, emotional or verbal abuse from happening to you. The only thing you can do is change how you react to it.

Help for Verbal Abuse: You Have To Reach Out For It (Part 2)
Learn About Verbal Abuse So You Can Stop It (Part 3)
Set Personal Boundaries To Increase Self-Reliance (Part 4)
Develop An Exit Strategy And Safety Plan (Part 5)
The Signs of Verbal Abuse (Part 6)

You can find Kellie Jo Holly at Verbal Abuse Journals, or social media on Google+, Facebook,Twitter and Amazon Authors.

*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.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, April 17). How Do I Stop Verbal Abuse?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

July, 20 2016 at 4:45 pm

I get abused by people who want to hide they are being tormented and insecure. They think abuse makes them successful. There are people who grant abusers and they will never show up in mine or any other abused persons life. I have experienced people of that kind because I did not rely on abuse to save myself. Don't forget; they make it seem like you are a victim on purpose, that you're avoiding duties and that makes you a 'bad person'. I never thought people had it in them to be abusive with tongue to repeat anger, a child in their arm, a relationship, with money, with power, with your own life that only you know how to live, and still has the need to abuse me! It's not only scary, it's hurtful and pathetic. It should not be accepted. I am not willing to make an abuser cool to someone who demands to feel like 'I do everything around here and others don't'. Every individual has the right to see how far they can get with what they can do, and have that is theirs. Let people be!

June, 18 2016 at 11:46 pm

Approximanly three years ago I was newly single coming out of a previous abusive relationship and I needed some extra money so I had been working in the mornings delivering newspapers. I was always running into this good looking and quite charming man every morning on my paper route.
He asked for my number and so we started to text each other every day. Then about 3 months later we had made it official we were in a relationship. I look back and I wish I would have reconised the red flags.
- He was very eager to get my number
- when I would go to his place on the weekends he did not want me to go home ( I thought it was cute at the time)
- there was a good living next door to him who came over looking for him. I heard him telling his roommate at the time to keep her busy and tell her he wasn't home when he was with me in his room.
- I had found her panties a week later in his room which he denied for a year until he got mad and admitted it.
Those are only a few things that are just the tip of the ice berg. All of my friends and the people who loved me warned me about him. he was a "bad boy" type I had never been with that kind of guy before. So I had no idea what I was in for.
18 months into the relationship We moved in to a rental house together and by that time he was constantly manipulating me into spending my entire paycheck on him and his needs. Always "borrowing" money off me (acting like a sweet heart when he wanted something from me) he made good money and got paid every Friday and would go to the strip bar and turn his phone off telling me it died and came home drunk and broke. I hated Fridays because deep down I knew what was really going on. I would cry every day I was so hurt.
He made his mother pay his portion of the rent and was horrible to her. The house we rented had to be in name because he was working the day papers needed to be singed. I only got the place because We were previously living with 7 other ppl crammed in a small house so I thought if we had our own place things would get better. They didnt.
He would always and still Always puts me down , accused me of cheating with our guy friends, goes thru my phone , tells me I cant take a joke If he says something mean. He has gotten physically abusive a few times.
2 months after I got that place for us I told myself that I don't want this life anymore. I immediately messaged the landlord and explained I neded to leave and they understood. I packed my things and left. I was so happy. I stayed with my cousin and got my own place. I thought it was finally over.
6 months later I felt weak and vulnerable. We started talking again and things seemed great. He was so sweet to me and nice and respectful. But shortly after we were talking again he called and said the landlords were evicting him and he had nowhere to go. I thought to myself yeah sure why not things are different now.....
Every night I sit here alone in my room and I cry every night. The abuse is 1000x worse.
Im mentally exhausted. I cant even be happy about anything because when I am he immediately says something to make me upset. This was suppose to be my place and now it's his and I have to hide in my room. If I have money he asks to borrow it and If I dont give it to him Its more of a headache. He won't leave and if I ever try to leave all hell breaks lose. I have two kitty's I love so much and I'm scared If I leave he will hurt them. This place is in my name and the lease isnt up till October. I cant get out of it. If I go to the police it'll make things worse. I need an escape plan but he wont put his name on anything. Its all in my name. If I cry myself to sleep he tells me I'm being stupid and gets mad. If I knock over a glass I'm stupid. If I cant hear him when he mumbles I'm stupid. Everything of mine that was here is all thrown away. All the furniture is his. He threatens me and tells me he will put me in a grave. If I talk when we have ppl over he humiliates me anyway he can. I am so sad. I am starting to think maybe I'm just stupid?
I don't feel beautiful I feel ugly. He only sleeps with me when he feels like it and he never gives affection. I just want a second chance to get out of this safe.
He was sexually abused as a child and he refuses to get help or talk to anyone about it. He would rather take it out on me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kathryn Scott
April, 23 2017 at 6:51 pm

OMG this breaks my heart for you I can't believe someone could be so cruel I pray u have figured something out but please know that you aren't stupid and you are not alone nor are you the only One going through this I researched this site for help and ran across your thread and felt the need to comment I pray your doing better he's a real looser

June, 1 2016 at 5:04 am

Im married for 14 years.. We are in our 40s..We have 2 kids.. There are times that we are happy but sometimes when he gets mad he will say hurtful things to me like He's not happy with me anymore,Get out of the house, Im a boring wife, He is not happy to see his family and better be because of these Im mentally and enotionally hurt always. Im sick n tired of it.. I dont want to leave coz I dont want to leave my kids coz he will not in anyway allow me to leave with our children.. I am a SAHM... Im torn into pieces and nobody knows anything about what I feel..I feel like exploding into pieces.. I have no where to go.. nobody to talk to.. He is surprisingly a church goer and our family as well.. I cant understand why there are sweet moments with him but when he gets mad he turns into a monster.. He treats my kids the same if he suddenly gets mad at them..He will say unforgivable words and hurt them.. Pls help..I dont know what to do..I dont want us to separate because I value our marriage.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 2 2016 at 2:07 pm

It doesn't sound like he values your marriage. I said the same thing when I was married - I promised for better or worse and all that. I thought that I should honor my promise.
Someone said that marriage is a contract. If one party breaks the contract, the other has no reason to honor the commitment either. I realized that he broke the honor/cherish and sickness/health commitments within a couple weeks of marriage. Why should I stay with a person who was miserable and wanted me to be miserable due to a broken contract?
He has sweet moments because that's part of the game. You have to "remember why you married him" sometimes so you can tell yourself the monster isn't really him, and that the one you loved is still in there somewhere. Those moments are basically very short honeymoon periods.

May, 31 2016 at 6:29 am

The police can do something about verbal abuse, you can get a restraint order if you live in virginia. I am sure if you look into it you might be able to do the same in other state because verbal abuse isn't free speech.

May, 27 2016 at 5:02 am

I wrote my story earlier. I returned her to read other people's experiences. After reading Susan's, I want to ask a question. This based on what happened with me also...that both marriages, I ended up with abusive spouses, and the second turned out even worse than the first, threatening violently. The question is: Why does it seem that you always end up returning with an individual that is abusive or being unfaithful, etc.? Is it something in our emotional makeup that makes us attractive to a certain aspect of their personality? Is it that they see something in our personality that makes them see we can be dominated? I've wondered why I was drawn to another abuser. I can say that I was attracted in both my cases, by a somewhat "humble" calm voice in those two persons...they turned out just the opposite once married. Any info regarding this...I'm interested to know. How can I guard against this in the future, should I wish to open my heart to someone else (not that I'm thinking that right now...I'm also just wanting peace in my life, and after leaving the second marriage on Feb. 23rd 2016, I have to admit at this time, that I'm afraid to let any man draw close to me again).

May, 21 2016 at 12:00 pm

I am 59 years old, I have 3 kids, the youngest will graduate this month from high school. I have been married 2 times, my first husband physically and verbally abused me. I finally got the courage to send him packing after 7 years of marriage and the birth of my daughter. My daughter was 18 months when we separated. I remarried when my daughter was 6 years old. I thought I had found the right man. He had a son from a previous relationship that we got custody of when he was 6. I had 2 good kids, and I thought life was pretty good. I wanted another child, I became pregnant and sadly lost the baby. We decided to adopt a baby and received sweet baby boy. A couple of years after the adoption I found out my husband was having an affair. He had been sneaking around with her for a couple of years and I knew nothing about it. I tried to stay with husband, but it was like I was the one hurting and he was just going about his life business as usual. I went to the counselor, he did not. Finally I had enough and filed for divorce. I raised my youngest son pretty much on my own, the other 2 became adults and are living successful lives. I have been divorced for nine years and almost 2 years ago an old boyfriend of mine, came back into my life. Things were great at first, I thought maybe this was a blessing from God. After being together for a 1 1/2 he moved in with me. I should have never let this happen. He is a verbally abusive man who has a problem with alcohol. He sees himself as right all of the time and will never admit his wrong doing. I need him out of my life, but there is a little bit of hesitant because with him living with me I am more financially sound and have been able to enjoy some vacations with him. I know that sounds ridiculous. All I want is to enjoy life and have someone to enjoy it with. My boyfriend has a lot of those qualities, but the abuse and drinking has ruined it. My youngest son has autism so I am under stress dealing with him. I love my boyfriend, but I don't love his abuse. I guess I am just a bit afraid that I will never find a good man to enjoy my life with. I need to get my boyfriend out of my house before I go crazy. I will miss the good times, but the bad times are starting to out number the good times. How should I go about getting him out without a whole blown up ordeal? thank you for listening.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 23 2016 at 3:50 am

It's always a big, blown up ordeal when there's divorce, especially with abuse. It feels that way, anyhow. But, on the bright side, at the end of it you'll have your life back, free and clear.
Start therapy and get your Self back. I don't fault you for the vacations and financial security. Those things are tough to come by. But if you focus on your Self, you can get to the place where you take vacations either by yourself, with your adult kids, or with a different and loving partner. But you won't find your Self or a loving partner so long as you're with this one.

May, 16 2016 at 3:53 am

Please help. I am divorced once and now have a girlfriend with a child and she verbally abusives me everyday. I don't want to leave because my last divorce the kids suffered so bad. I don't know what to do. Anybody know of a national support group.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 18 2016 at 8:40 am

Try the NDVH at They can point you in the right direction.

L. Marie
May, 16 2016 at 3:07 am

62 years old, Second Marriage for 23 years, and I have very little money. He didn't change, I miss-read the early "signs". He is, always been, and will always be an abuser. The OJ type if you know what I mean. Always trying to control me and everyone close to him. We are certainly candidates for a "murder / suicide" case, with me being the victim. God help us. I can't list the numerous times the abuse occur (just verbal) but I can say this "I can't handle it anymore". Now when the abuse start I get a headache, my vision become blurred and I start shaking out of control. I feel so beat up by this man but I have no place to go. He suffers with a lot of medical problems Heart attack, Colon cancer, Kidney failure, Blind in one eye and I feel like I should be here to support him but he makes it so hard.
He has a lot of friends and plays cards with them every week. He hates my family (Hell, he hates his family) He don't want me to socialize with anyone but the grand kids. I do anyway, but he don't like it. Now he wants me to tell them not to call me because it bothers him when they call. (just crazy) I mostly keep all of this to myself. Its embarrassing to share. Second marriage, 62 years old, no money and being abused. I searched for this website because I needed to vent. I hope its okay. Thank you for reading this.

May, 13 2016 at 3:08 am

I see there is a lot of ladies here and I hope I am not posting this in the wrong place. What do you do when the abuse is reversed? My wife and I have been married for 18 years. Shortly after getting married she began to verbally abuse me. Keeping me up all night screaming, flipping the lights on. she didn't have to work the next morning but I did. Many, many days at work I could barely hold my eyes open. As time went on the abuse became more sinister, my family was the first to go, then my friends, because her friends are "our" friends and a married man doesn't need to be hanging out anyway. Then came the "nobody likes you anyway", "everyone knows your a piece of crap" comments. Time goes on and 3 wonderful children are brought into the world, then the threats over the children start. It gets so bad that I am "not allowed" to even take my own children to eat tacos on Tuesday evenings, because of course "I'm using them to meet and pick up other women". If I try? Well she physically blocks my way so that force would be required to go and of course we all know what happens if I show force. Fast forward a bit more and now I have to give up my post at a charitable organization after being accused of sleeping with at least 10 different women there, some of whom she later befriended. She has a facebook account, I can't. She can work but refuses to do so, then when she does make some money through babysitting refuses to help with household expenses. I told her one day that I was cutting off some luxuries in the house because she doesn't help out with them. She told me "Nope, she sure doesn't help and she isn't going to either and if you cut them off, that's abusive" and she can "make a few calls" to remedy that. I bought her a car, she keys mine. Buy a new living room suit? She flips over the couch and breaks it. buy new curtains? She rips them off the wall. Then if I break anything I "am scaring her and she feels intimidated and she will need to report that" However over the last 2-3 years it has taken a darker turn and last month I finally had to have her arrested for hitting me and trust me it wasn't the first time. It was however the first time she hit me so hard with an object I couldn't see for a few moments after. Now the court date is approaching and the intimidation factor has been stepped up even more. "If you don't tell the DA that you were mistaken about the events that night I will take the kids and leave" "Everyone knows your a loser and they hate you for having me arrested"........ Im at the end of my rope, im exhausted, im tired... I need help and there are not many resources for men. Any advise would be helpful, thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 18 2016 at 9:03 am

I'm so glad you're leaving! You don't deserve that abuse. Your story paints a perfect picture of how a woman uses whatever pull she can to keep control of her spouse. And, just as it is with male abusers, she physically assaults you and then threatens you not to tell.
You're right - there's not a lot of support for male victims of domestic violence. Visit the NDVH anyway at and either chat online or call them. If nothing else, you'll gain validation for your experience. I think one of your best advisors would be an attorney - not for your mental health so much as what you can and shouldn't do on your way out the door.
Find a therapist experienced in abuse and control to help guide you and put your mind back together.
I found support in Al-anon. My ex did drink, but the abuser controls and manipulates in basically the same way as a "mean drunk." Al-anon is for men and women, and they allow you to share only what you want to share. If it helps, your wife's "fits" would be similar to another wife's "drunken behavior."
Don't go to anyone who your wife speaks to - not clergy, kids' teachers, whatever. You don't need anyone backdooring you or undermining you. Reconnect with your family if you can, and reach out to old friends OF YOURS.
I'm not aware of any men's only groups online. MEVAC is for men who want to STOP abusing, and that's not you. WebMD offers a 3-page article that may be of some consolation and help at However, the Abuse Helpline For Men is no longer in service. They didn't receive the funding they needed to continue. I did find this page from the UK: The support there may be helpful, but if it's legal advice you need, talk to an attorney.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I'm sorry you're enduring this abuse.
Oh - download the safety plan at the bottom of this page:

April, 17 2016 at 6:23 pm


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
April, 19 2016 at 11:18 am

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1 (800) 273-8255
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Talk to your doctor about the abuse. If you aren't on antidepressants or antianxiety medications, ask your doctor if they're right for you. Turn to your children, neighbors, friends, and strangers at domestic violence support groups. Visit to find local resources.
You're too young to die. There are years of happiness ahead. You just need to reach out to people who can help you, not a blogger like me.

Michael T
April, 11 2016 at 7:41 am

Watching OJ doc they listed 2 characteristics of a spouse abuser. 1) Shifting blame. 2) Pathological jealousy. I am a male and relieved to see someone has written an articl on women verbal abusers. My wife has shifted blame since day 1. Her behavior is her "mothers" fault. A result of her "ex-husband" who cheated on her. On & on. Then she accuses me of cheating. For no reason other than coming home from work 10 minutes late after a 50 min commute.

April, 8 2016 at 2:42 am

Drats...I got all my months incorrect in my first comment. I do not see an edit button. Even 3rd March should be just a couple days should read 3rd April that I heard the phone call about withholding money if I don't communicate. Sorry, apparently my head's a bit screwed today. My apologies.

April, 8 2016 at 2:36 am

I wrote earlier that I left marital home in March. But correction that it was on February 23rd 2016. My husband spoke the "chop up" talk on February 22nd. Byeeeee!!!

April, 8 2016 at 2:32 am

Wrote previously that I left my marital home in March. was on February 23rd 2016, and it was on Feb. 22nd that my husband spoke the "chop up" talk. Byeeeeee!

April, 8 2016 at 2:29 am

I search "How to stop verbal abuse" out of curiosity, because deep down, I really know that I cannot stop verbal abuse. This is actually the first page I came across and wow, it provides so much insight. I can't say this any differently - but it's relieving to me to see that so many others are experiencing quite similar situations that I have/am.
Yes I spoke past and present there - you see, I left my marital home on Mar. 23rd after 6 plus years of verbal abuse ended in my husband telling me on Mar. 22nd that I better leave fast before he has to chop me up. Subsequent to that, about 6 weeks before he started keeping a machete behind our front door. I was totally ignorant of the purpose, and wondered if perhaps he had seen a snake in the house etc. I never, never, never thought he would reach the point of talking like that.
You can only imagine the level of nasty, manipulative, angry, offensive words that he has used to describe me. He used to drink heavily also, and had even starting cursing me and others (all a past way of life for him years ago).
Now that I've left, the verbal abuse continues. He communicates through my dad. My dad is an ex-police and has a manner of keeping people calm. So he has taken it upon himself to keep my husband calm in order for him to send me money. To make a long story short, he has an obligation towards a loan we took out together in 2015. This loan deducts from my salary along with another loan for a car I brought in 2014.
To my disgust, he called my dad on Sunday 3rd March and my dad put him on speaker phone. I was able to hear his tone of speaking. And basically this man has said, that he wants me to communicate with him or else he won't be able to send me money.
Now step back a minute...right away I think...but that's financial abuse...withholding money in order to gain power and control. I must admit I got pretty angry.
Previously, I had send text messages about important matters, but when he was overdoing the texting over irrelevant personal details about himself and his life and, what I knew were mere lies, I had to stop that communication with him.
The mistake I made on Sunday, was to respond with an angry text, telling him that what he's relaying about withholding money if I don't communicate is financial abuse. A mistake cause he returned a text saying that he feels good now that I've texted him and he will now send the money. Gosh, I can't tell you how much I chastised myself for sending that text....he won...he won....he got me to do exactly what he wanted. After that came texts from him as early as 5:30 am, midday, evening, night.
He has been coming up with all sorts of things to try to manipulate me, from saying that past women in his life coming back around him, to saying that he has house or land for me to get my own home, and that he'll pay one of my loans....he's putting before me all sorts of things, hoping that I would grasp at one of his tricks. He has also been pressuring me saying that all he wants is for me to forgive him and he won't bother me and he would continue to give me money.
Like I have "STUPID" written on my forehead right? These things he's saying aren't new to me...they're just some of the same things he used to say while I was with him, now being said in a different way, but obviously with the same motive.
Besides the texting, there's the fact that my life is now filled with fear somewhat. If he uttered the "chop up" talk before, what prevents him from doing it anywhere else. He knows where I work, he knows where my parents live, he knows where my religious meetings are, he knows my car. I am constantly look in the visitor's car park at work, looking over my shoulders at the mall, supermarket, etc. I've left....but I'm under a different level of duress. I must admit I am experiencing a sort of inner peace, even though these new stresses he's presenting.
I come from a very peaceable family. We have a good reputation within the community. Even where I lived with my husband previously, neighbor in that small area, knew me as a quiet person. Therefore I am not interested in making a scene anywhere....but my husband will. He is a don't care person. He is claiming that he has changed. just over a month right??? I must be really have "STUPID" written on my head.
Anyway, I can't read hearts, only God can. I will never ever know what and if any changes he claims to make are sincere and true. I cannot see myself returning to a person that has been know to twist truths and formulate lies. He's made quite an impacting history for himself. Anyone who falls for his presentation of mildness and change at this time....well, what can I say. Actually, I won't say. I'm not really giving anyone much details about him because my parents and his mother already knows the individual. By the way, he has cursed and abused his own mother many times also.
Ah this comment way too long...I'm outta hear. Just had to share my story, but anyone has any suggestions to offer me, I'm all ears. Just don't tell me to give him another chance...BEEN THERE, DONE THAT way too many times. Chao!

March, 24 2016 at 4:26 pm

I too am an abuser in desperate need of change. I realize after the heated moments are over and I have time to self reflect just how horrible and out of control I had just become after promises of trying harder not to be that man.......or how it really is, king baby. I know that I just feel bad about me ultimately in some cases. I know that I really love her and she deserves better. She will always be in and have my heart like no one else can so I'm ok with her leaving me. I don't blame her. Thanks for the insight from all of you and I hope and pray to find my cure. God's a good start for me and I need advise or I wouldn't be here.

March, 22 2016 at 4:16 pm

I'm a verbal abuser and I want to stop. This article is scary. Do I have any chance to stop being verbally abusive? I desperately want to stop.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 23 2016 at 2:40 am

Of course you can stop it. If you couldn't admit to it (or didn't want to change) that would be a different story. But you want to change! YAY! My business is in helping victims of verbal abuse, so I admit to not knowing what to tell you to do exactly. However, when I was in my abusive marriage, I found myself yelling at my children. A lot. The looks on their faces told me I was hurting them, so I was verbally abusive. Awareness of how I'd changed and the bad feelings that went along with it helped me to stop yelling.
I understand you're saying you do more than yelling. Even so, awareness of your problem is the first step. I can't tell by your name if you're male or female, but it doesn't really matter. The book, "The Verbally Abusive Man: Can He Change?" by Patricia Evans would help you arrange a contract with the person you're hurting most - an agreement of what will not happen anymore. There's more to it, but I recommend it as a place to start.
I'm happy for you. Although you may be feeling anxious and worried, you're on the right track. Oh - enlist the help of a therapist. Your behavior can change more quickly with professional guidance. Also, look into cognitive behavior therapy. That kind of therapy is a problem:solution type of thing, so it could benefit you.
All my best,
Kellie Jo Holly

March, 10 2016 at 9:10 am

I've been married since 2008. I met him at church. Boy was I in for a surprise. Well that and a lot of pain. Mental and emotional pain. He cusses at me when I ask questions regarding why he came home so late (3am-is) he says he's at church with the brothers cleaning painting etc. but the wards he calls me (fat, stupid, slut etc..) make me suspicious of him. So he also has no physical boundaries to women's personal space. He sometimes stands so close to certain church sisters that their bodies touch side by side for more than 2 minutes. He reaches over to squeeze the cheeks of a child held by her mother while his arms brushes against the mothers breast as he's standing very closely to her. He goes to a table of female teenagers (16-19year old) and takes their book they are reading, then reads some out loud and puts it back brushing his arm and hand against the oldest one while standing closely behind her. When I mention this he attacks me calling me crazy telling me I'm going to go to hell for accusing him. Where I grew up a married man don't do that to women. He says Asian culture is physically close to others. I feel like leaving but I love him. I am so confused. Please help.

March, 7 2016 at 8:58 am

5 weeks ago I left my verbally abusive husband after 28 years....I am still away from him, renting a little place which I love...we had everything: good jobs, our own home, no debt , money in the bank....and so what? he drinks to excess, uses dope to help him sleep for shift work and has now spiralled back into the verbally abusive behaviour that I thought had pretty much resolved itself. I reflect back on the 28 years, some of which were absolutely hideous...most people I know have no idea what was going on and the things that have happened...I have organised to see him to talk about how things could possibly change...but I know one thing for sure: if he continues to deny his behaviour and will not seek professional help...I will not return to our home...I have had to face the fact that it will then be over...but for now, every day, I get stronger, happier, more peaceful...and I know I deserve to feel all those things that have escaped me for so so long....I can't believe how many stories I hear that are exactly the same as mine....I finally realise I am truly not alone......bless you all.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 7 2016 at 2:23 pm

Good for you, Linda! It's amazing how your perspective changes when you get out of the day to day abuse, isn't it? I'm happy for you.

March, 5 2016 at 6:55 am

My daughter was in a verbally abusive relationship. She ended it but has a baby with the guy. They meet publicly to do the hand over but he is so abusive with his language to her. My daughters 2 year old can hear all this too. We have no idea how to deal with this. Any ideas please... The police are not interested

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 7 2016 at 8:38 am

Your daughter doesn't need to be there for him to receive the baby. You, or one of her friends, or a person from church (even if you don't go to church, it doesn't hurt to ask for a volunteer), or ANYONE else you can think of.
You can't make him stop abusing her. Verbal abuse falls under "free speech," and the police CAN'T do anything about it.

February, 17 2016 at 5:08 pm

Very sad every day all day.

YVETTE. Kearney
February, 13 2016 at 8:32 am

I need. Help. My husband is a register sex offender. He very mean. He talks so bad and nasty to me daily. I think of ways to kill him where. I can get away with it he comes. From a rape. Family. . . Mother had him bye her sister husband. I just. Need. Help PLS I can't. Focus. I can't. Get up daily to do anything post I've. For . Me. I need help. I want out. Pls. Help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 15 2016 at 8:31 am

Yvette, if you're thinking of killing him, you're thinking of ending your life as you know it. You wouldn't deserve prison, but that's what you would get. It's much better to leave him in the dust. Remember, you've made the homicidal thoughts public now. If something were to happen to him, eventually this post would be found and there would be a case against you. There is no way to get away with murder in the long run.
Visit and talk to the volunteers there. They can help you find resources in your local area. Getting away, with both of you alive, is the best option.

Angie B
January, 27 2016 at 6:48 pm

Yes of-course there will always be those abusers who do change for the better just as there will always be two sides to any coin however the abusers who want to change are not the problem, the problem lies with those who continue to verbally abuse and those who allow themselves to continue being abused.
In my view - and I've given this subject a great deal of thought over the years and through my own abusive relationships so trust me when I say I know what I'm talking about - To solve any problem means looking at the mechanics of the problem, understanding the problem, and making sure you look at the problem with a calm and rational view because if you look at your problem in a state of virtual panic you will only succeed in reaching a wrong conclusion. I know this may at times be difficult for some victims suffering with abuse but with patience and perseverance you can do this. It may be that you need to have a positive affirmation to hand so you can remind yourself, say it and believe it. "There is absolutely no way anyone deserves to be abused, no matter what", " I deserve better, I deserve respect, I am precious and I owe it to myself to be good to myself and good for myself".
Being and staying stuck in abuse is a state of mind and body in conflict, you deserve better and you owe it to yourself to have better. Understand that your abuser is the root of the conflict going on in your head because your abuser has conditioned you into believing you are powerless against their abuse, don't believe it, it's complete and utter bull****. Get shot of the abuser and I think you will find that the problem is 90% resolved but remember you must make sure you have your safe plan of action in place before taking that final step to leave the abuse behind. Put a time limit on it if it helps, do everything you can no matter how small to ensure your safe exit from abuse.
For the moment at least you need not concern yourself with the abusers who want to change or feel that they need to change, you just have to let them make the change for themselves and allow them to go at their own pace. What you need to concern yourself with is focusing on yourself and your own situation. Stop focusing on your abuser and get to know yourself better because with understanding comes answers and with answers comes new beginnings. Understand that the verbal abuse you have been subjected to has caused you to feel confused, let's face it who wouldn't be confused after taking repeated verbal poundings to the head!! Snap-out-of-it come to terms with who you are and with why you are allowing someone to abuse you!! Understand yourself and understand your situation, then and only then can you make a sound decision on if and when you leave your abuser behind.
In my view when I hear you say you would rather be homeless I feel sad because you say being homeless would somehow give you dignity! how so? Choosing to leave and become homeless may well remove you from the abusers reach but homelessness will only present you with a different set of horrifying experiences and I'm sure that if you think about it rationally you would be telling yourself that homelessness is not the right way out. You need to plan your exit properly and that means having somewhere safe to go to, having someone supportive to talk to, and most all being strong enough to resist the return pull. You have to plan your exit, stay strong and keep moving forward until you reach your planned destination, it's called having a goal. God may have a plan for your happiness but it is you who has to do the leg-work so don't just sit and wait, get up and get on with what you need to do to reach that happier place.
Much Respect
Angie B

January, 27 2016 at 12:45 am

I do believe people can change if they want.I am verbally abused daily,I'm beat down mentally,I'm at the end,I'd rather b homeless and have my dignity, I've left before and. Worse now than ever,I believe God has a plan for my happiness,and it's not with him,GOD BLESS YOU ALL,NOBODY DESERVES ABUSE.

Angie B
January, 26 2016 at 10:34 am

Yes there is hope as long as you face the facts. FACT: As long as you stay in an abusive relationship the chances are you will continue being the victim over and over again with each time being just that much worse than the last. FACT: Staying in an abusive relationship sends a clear signal to your abuser telling them that you are staying because you accept the abuse. FACT: The abuser will pay no real attention to you telling them to stop the abuse, why, because you staying tells them otherwise. FACT: While there may be periods of calm in the abusers behavior do not be under any illusion that all is well because it is not, the abuser is simply recharging while analysing the situation so as to decide their next form of abuse. FACT: Abusers need their rest just as we all do but the difference between the abuser and their victim is that once the abuser has rested their aim is to make sure they are still in control of their victim and the only way they can do this is by topping up the abuse, when the victim is rested they will continue with their never-ending need to fix the unfixable and paper over the cracks. FACT: Your abuser abuses you because he lacks control over his own life and controlling your life makes him feel powerful. FACT: Your abuser can only continue to abuse you if you allow the abuse to continue. FACT: Only you can stop yourself from being abused so take control of your life before the abuse ends your life. FACT: Verbal abuse can drive a person to isolation, mental breakdown and even suicide so Get Out and Get Help. There is plenty of help and support out there and it's not difficult to find so please do this for yourself...... leave your abuser and don't look back. You deserve to be treated with respect, you are worthy of respect, and your life is precious so live your life without abuse.
Much respect
Angie B

December, 17 2015 at 9:08 pm

Saying abusers will never change and will always re-abuse sounds like saying all addicts will relapse. Some people really do change and heal. Obviously everyone needs to assess for themselves what kind of situation they are in, but many of these posts make it sound like there is no hope whatsoever, in any circumstance.

Phil Rea
November, 30 2015 at 10:58 am

Kellie when I first learned of the affair I did take out my anger, punched my truck, threw a chair in the yard, she begged me to hit her instead. I refused but my recent words have been just as bad as if i wold have. I love this woman with everything and am seeking help with both my depression after the affair and the anger. Thank you for your opinion and I'll definitely post if it gets better. Friday night was the eye opener for me and haven't said one mean word to her since. I know repairing our relationship is going to take some adressing of tough issues head on and I just hope that I can change enough to deal with those in a positive way.

Phil Rea
November, 28 2015 at 1:44 pm

Hi, I read this article looking for help to not be the verbal abuser anymore. My wife and I have been married 3 years and I've always been a loving and supportive husband.
However recently my wife had an affair. I immediately said I forgive you, but during the last 2 months, any piece of new information about the affair sets me off and I sometimes say things that while true about her and what she did, I wouldnt even say them to my worst enemy or ex girlfriend. I talk about how she betrayed me and even neglected our daughter during the affair. I want more than anything to repair my relationship and want to stop this verbal abuse before it becomes part of me. Will the desire to personally attack her go away when I emotionally heal, is this natural for someone to do after the affair, and what steps can I take to make it and the desire to do it stop.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
November, 30 2015 at 9:59 am

Phil, I consider having an affair as being sexually and emotionally abusive. I see your reaction to her affair as a way to try to take your power back (equality in the relationship), and applaud your recognition of behaving in a way you don't like despite the heartache you've been through.
I wish my ex would have excused himself and took his anger and pain out on an inanimate object in the garage rather than on me, but he didn't. I ended up being the one to leave the house - every time. Why don't you be the bigger person (as if you aren't already - you didn't have an affair) and get away from her when you feel your blood boiling.
A safe place to express your anger could be in therapy. Since you're typically NOT an abusive person, couples' therapy could be a big help for the two of you. Also, talking to a therapist individually would be a great idea.
All I really know about affairs is that finding out is devastating to the non-cheating partner. I don't think there are any "normal" reactions, so I can't say that yours is normal or abnormal. It is simply you. If you don't like yourself when you're angry, then you have to change how you behave when you're angry. How you change is up to you, but again, a therapist is a quick route to a solution or two.

October, 15 2015 at 11:15 am

I have been married for almost five years to a man who is very controlling in many ways. I have three grown children. My oldest son has been through a very difficult time physically, emotionally and financially for the past three years. We have helped him financially and my husband has gone above and beyond trying to help him in many areas of his life. My son is trying very hard to get his life on track. He has had four major surgeries since November of last year. My husband does not approve of how my son is conducting his life and is very critical of everything he does. My husband has said very nasty things about my son and calls him an asshole to my face. I have told him how much it hurts me when he says these things but he comes back with "it's your fault that he is like he is because you always give him a soft place to fall". He has even accused me of going behind his back to give my son more money. I would never do that. My husband is very controlling with our money and complains about me spending money on almost anything. He has been very good to me in many ways but every time he starts calling my son names and saying he does nothing right etc. I want him to go away and never come back. I don't know how to make him understand how deeply his words hurt me. Please help.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
October, 16 2015 at 3:31 am

He knows how deeply they must hurt you. He's not an idiot. He's just found a new way to control you via your son's hardship. If you look to the past before your son's problems, you'll see the abuse there, too.
Look up red flags for abusive relationships and you'll probably see your husband in those descriptions, too. It isn't your fault you didn't see the warning signs. And the abuse still isn't your fault if you saw the red flags but thought he would change. It's natural to think that someone who loves you WON'T want to hurt you.
But this guy does.

Karen Lucas
October, 11 2015 at 10:56 pm

Hello there,
I don't know how much more I can take..
Today driving I had thoughts of going under a truck semi to end how I feel..
Last night he said he's let me get away with too much!!
I've been too several councilers over the past years and I was given antidepressants plus valluum they made me feel alot happier I was able to cope with my daily living but hw constantly said I was a head case and nut case for taking medication I gave in and eventually weaned myself off them..
Please I need help???

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
October, 12 2015 at 3:45 am

That sounds familiar. I spent many years on the depression roller coaster in part because my ex didn't want me taking antidepressants. He let me know in many subtle and not so subtle ways. Ignore him. Go get some meds. He doesn't want you to be mentally healthy. You're much easier to control when you're depressed.
Your situation is causing you to experience suicidal ideation. It's not a big step from that point to actually plan a suicide. Please call a suicide hotline. Not only will they understand what you're experiencing, they'll be able to connect you with doctors in your area. At least that was my experience.
The best counselor I had helped me get stronger. I asked her how to fight the abuse and she gave me tools. Eventually those tools showed me that my ex wasn't going to change. If you go back to therapy, tell your counselor what you want to achieve. It helps them tailor your counseling and you don't spend as much time delving into the past as you do on how to handle the present.
I feel for you, Karen. I was in your shoes. Get your meds. Get to another counselor (remember that you hired him or her, so you're the boss of your therapy). Download this safety plan --> --> The free one is at the bottom of the page and is the same as the one you would pay for in workbook form.
Hugs to you, Karen. You can help yourself if you let yourself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 20 2019 at 1:40 am

Leave him, he’s the crazy one for putting you through it. I’m not a doctor but it seems like it’s not medication you need, you need a spiritual awakening to realize your worth.

September, 23 2015 at 5:21 pm

After reading the article and the comments, I am more confused then ever!!! It seems to me that a verbal abusive person would definitely think that they are the VICTIM of abuse. I am certain that every verbally abusive person can justify the reasons to abuse their spouse because the spouse fails to meet expectations. On the other hand, verbal abuse could be justified if you are an alcoholic, gambler, cheater, unemployed etc. and your spouse is unhappy with your bad behavior. So, how the hell can you assess if you are really a target of abuse, or if your bad behavior is the source of the abuse, or if you are the abuser who feels justified because your spouse isn't perfect??? I think the message of the article is correct. In my case, after 15 years of marriage there is no way things are going to get better. Of course, divorce will make me very sad but how many more sad years should I live with a spouse who hates me?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
September, 24 2015 at 1:52 am

LaserTSV, I think the difference between a verbal abuser and his or her victim is that the victim is willing to change their bad behavior. An abuser is not.
I also agree that some abusers believe they are the victim. But they are a victim of the stories they make up in their heads, not what their spouse/SO says or does.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 28 2018 at 9:47 pm

In my case, my husband of eight years drinks quite a bit of beer everyday. It goes through phases of how much. Then he says things that he does not remember the next day, and then gets all over my case yelling at me if I ask about it. For example, we were golfing and he was pretty buzzed as he started drinking early that day. So while on the course he said his son was coming to our house from out of town and would be at our house around 4ish the next day.
When I asked him about it the next day, he kept yelling at me and said that he did not know when his son was coming. I finally texted his son to find out and his son told me he was coming. I needed to know so that I could have his room ready. That morning he was drinking again early and working on his stuff in the garage. Clearly there were things that needed to be done that day and I was doing my best to get everything done. I asked him for help because I was hosing off the front porch, spraying the bugs around the yard, doing the laundry, and if I asked for him to the pull the hose around for me or anything else, he kept yelling at me to get off his ass. He also kept telling me he did not know when his son would be coming -- yelling at me, ugh... I mean his son is supposed to just show up and then I don't get warning? It's because he was drunk the day before and did not remember. And that is somehow my fault?
I had had enough and before his son showed up I left and spent the night at a local hotel. He was so pissed off when I got home today that he called me an F'ing Btch over and over and told me how I have zero compassion and a zero soul. I have been down this road before many times with him (although for the past year it has been pretty calm) and I have just kept my cool today. I am not letting his insults get to me because I AM a caring person and I DO have a soul. I used to get really upset and cry and then feel worthless. But I have learned to just be strong. Thankfully, I have my 26-year-old daughter to talk to if things get really bad. She knows how he is because she lived with us for nine months. He is never wrong, only I am, in his opinion. And very rarely apologizes, only I do.
He says that if I am not really sorry in how much I hurt him by me leaving to go spend the night in a hotel, than he wants a divorce. He wants me to apologize, in which I did apologize for leaving and not telling him. I just left. I was pretty upset about him yelling at me for asking for help every other sentence. And to be clear -- I am not a nagger. A person can only take so much. Yes, I should have told him that I needed some space and that I was leaving so that was my bad and I fully admit that, but this gives him no reason to repeatedly spew out horrible names towards me and then getting right up in my face.
I don't feel like playing this game and I did tell him that if he wants a divorce then he needs to initiate it. If that's what he wants, okay. But what he is really doing is trying to manipulate me and I am not playing this game. I am not going to let my self worth go down the drain because he feels like he needs to control me because of his insecurities. I just received a text from him saying that I am 100% wrong and that I need to acknowledge it. Ugh...this is ludicrous and fifth-grade behavior. I already apologized for leaving and not letting him know, even though I did let him know when I got to the hotel and that I was not coming home until the next morning.
What I usually end up doing is just apologizing for whatever he wants me to apologize for and move on to end the fire storm. But what I don't do anymore is let my self esteem get down. I used to however. Yeah it's disheartening when things like this happen, but I know I am a loving, caring person and I have done quite a bit for him. If anyone is the selfish one, it's him. He thinks of himself first, spends a ton of time on his computer at the kitchen desk every night after work on eBay, Reddit, and his car and football sites. I sit on the couch in the family room nearby after work and unwind with a couple glasses of wine and watch TV. We don't sit together and watch TV, and I am even fine with that because we can still talk to each other from our spaces.
But when I don't get the help I need, sometimes, I get frustrated. I am a working technology professional with an advanced degree. I also manage the household, budget the money, pay the bills, open the mail, do the laundry (although he does do it once in awhile and he does cook sometimes too), clean the house in between monthly paid cleanings, and then some...He has done quite a bit of remodeling in this house and so that has been good. But I really think the problem is the over consumption of beer. If he starts early, he can get mouthy and then later he is passed out by 6-7 pm on the couch. I get irritated sometimes with that. We even have our lawn mowed every week so he does not even have to mow the lawn accept for the field mow every month or so in the summer. I feel like he has it pretty easy.
So how do I fix this? I don't feel like I can fix it. I just accept it, but sometimes I get frustrated. I am only human and I actually have needs too. But I have found ways to get my needs met. I have a good network of friends, play golf once a week with them, go out for happy hour once in awhile with them, and keep myself busy. We are both in our 50s and this is our second marriage. Kids are out of the house. It is what it is.

September, 12 2015 at 4:41 pm

I think my husband has been verbally abusing me. I've often thought that he was, but then I tell myself that he's probably right, and I'm the one with problems. It's gotten to the point where I don't feel like I can talk to him about anything, good or bad, because I'm afraid of his reaction. When he is angry, he will manipulate the conversation so much that I cannot follow, then insinuate that it's my stupidity and ignorance that keeps me from understanding. He's the most polite, most tactful, most respectful man in the world with everyone, except me. He shows me such hatred and anger, it's like he saves it all for me. He is very intelligent, and very careful not to do or say anything that I could use against him. He is sly, using insinuations and insults to hurt me, intentionally not explaining things to "catch" me up. He makes me feel horrible about myself. So much so that it's so hard to be happy, even for our children. I don't want them growing up thinking this is how people who love each other should be. My oldest son is a teen and is starting to mimic my husband with his tone of voice, facial expressions, and insults verbatim. How bad does it have to be to be considered verbal abuse? Is this just very minor abuse? What if it really is my fault and he's right?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
September, 13 2015 at 11:48 am

Not your fault. Abuse of any kind is never your fault. You describe the typical abuser. Yes, chances are good that your children will either mimic him or marry an abuser. HOWEVER, if you get free (mentally first, physically later), you can save yourself and the children.

Robert W. Steiner Jr.
August, 25 2015 at 7:19 am

Maybe setting an example and enforcing laws when they are broken would help stop this type of emotional and psychological abuse.

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