The Signs of Verbal Abuse
The signs of verbal abuse are usually invisible to the world outside of your family. Verbal, emotional and mental abuse eats you alive from the inside out. Abuse can do heavy mental damage and cause mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Those illnesses have visible symptoms, but after developing the illness, no one but your closest friends may notice. (If you still have friends after being isolated!)
So, the signs of verbal abuse are often felt instead of seen.
The Abuser Knows Some Signs of Verbal Abuse
The abuser knows that some things you say or do in public could give away what he does at home. Abusers are very conscious of what they do to you. If they didn't know what they did, abusers would fix their words and behaviors. Especially after you point them out. Healthy people don't want to hurt others. Hurting others is how abusers survive.
Because the abuser knows what he's doing, your partner expects you to be silent about the problems you have at home. Abusers want to project the happy family image. If you appear unhappy or talk about why you're unhappy with outsiders, the abuser gets embarrassed (and mad at you).
Many, if not most, controlling people have an "adoring public." People at church, work, PTA, in the neighborhood and in the community at large may think your abuser is the bees knees. The abuser often uses his stature in society as a means to further control and isolate you.
Who would believe you if you told about how he acts at home? If you thought, "No one" then your abuser has effectively isolated you to the point of despondency.
Your abuser knows some of the signs of verbal abuse, so you are not allowed to show them. Outside of the house you're expected to be happy. To be a good parent. To have beautiful, smart, popular children. The abuser expects to see you happy because if you aren't, people may wonder about the abuser. We can't have that, now can we?
Symptoms and Signs of Verbal Abuse
The thoughts and feelings victims of abuse often feel are cumulative, built on doubt and humiliation over time. Verbal abuse is sneaky, hidden in the words of someone who says she loves you. It takes a while, sometimes a long while, for victims to notice how they've changed into a traumatized and pained shadow of their former selves.
There are some common symptoms and signs of verbal abuse that victims share. They're internal and unseen by any outsider the abuser brings near his happy family.
- You feel as if you are paraded about like a silent trophy when you attend group functions for the abuser's work or activities. You're afraid to say much of anything while out for fear of retribution for saying the wrong thing.
- You distrust your ability to make sound decisions for yourself or family; you go along with your abuser's poor decisions without much resistance.
- You feel uneasy or anxious much of the time; you may jump at small recognizable sounds or feel your heart pounding for no understandable reason.
- You do not get excited over much of anything; if you are excited over a positive event, then that excitement doesn't last long because you begin to wonder how to present the news to your abuser in order to get the best possible reaction from him.
- You think that you are crazy; you feel that you need professional help to overcome your problems (and professional help is a good idea if you tell the therapist about the abuse in your relationship).
- Your internal voices are critical, judgmental, overpowering at times, and abusive; you hear the abusive words and phrases she speaks to you in your own internal dialogue.
- You keep telling yourself it will be better when she retires, the children are grown, she gets that promotion, she finishes that project, after lunch, ... . You constantly wait for the good times.
- You believe that one day your abuser will realize how good of a spouse you've been and will be sorry; the abuser will do a complete 180 culminating in her admiration and respect for you. This belief is hard to shake because of the nice times in which your abuser stops her abusive behaviors long enough to allow you to think "It's different this time" (a.k.a. the honeymoon period).
Signs of Verbal Abuse Change Into Symptoms of Disease
No one in this world can know what you think or feel unless you tell them (telling your abuser doesn't count - she doesn't care). If you recognized yourself in the list of signs of verbal abuse, then it is up to you to change your thinking. What you think is killing you.
If you continue living in abuse, you will stress your body and mind in ways so twisted that you no longer see his abuse as stressful. Abuse becomes normal.
Your abuser doesn't have to work as hard to control you when you are preoccupied with thinking that you are good for nothing, not abused, and not under stress. If your abuser succeeds in turning your thoughts around to the point where you no longer blame her but instead blame yourself, then her work is a whole lot easier.
Chronic stress caused by verbal abuse or any kind of abuse can lead to or cause a number of physical diseases:
- Heart problems
- Immune system deficiencies
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stomach issues
- Sexual and reproductive problems
- Lung troubles
- Skin/Complexion issues
The signs of verbal abuse can lead to disease, physical and mental, that could kill you. It's your choice whether you allow that to happen or not. Your thinking patterns feed your disease, so the best thing to do is change what you think.
You cannot change your abuser, you can only change yourself.
How Do I Stop the Verbal Abuse? (Part 1)
Reach Out - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 2)
Educate Yourself - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 3)
Self Reliance - How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 4)
Develop an Exit Strategy And Safety Plan (Part 5)
The Signs of Verbal Abuse (Part 6)
*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.
Jo, K. (2011, May 8). The Signs of Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/05/how-to-stop-verbal-abuse-part-6-wrap-up
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
my boyfriend is going through a divorce we been together for 4 years, but I feel like I'm getting pushed away and is not intimate any more and controlling,cursing always wants to be right, he's blaming it on his medical condition of Parkinson's, PTSD, Qhwnni tell him I'm backing off , he will curse and use verbal
Abuse against me
I’m only 13 and I don’t know if this is abuse but my dad is always yelling and calling me names like (“liar,little b**ch,and the child that brakes hearts”),,and it’s got to a point where I can’t tAke it ,to where I al,ost started to cut my self but I did t so I started breaking down and hurting myself other ways and I need help or any advice on how to approach this situation?. Does anyone have any advice please?
Trinity, this comment broke my heart. I'm so sorry for everything you are dealing with. It is not okay for your dad to treat you that way. I hope you know that your dad is the way he is because he has issues and not because of anything to do with you. You deserve to be loved and cared for. You do not deserve to be treated that way. Trinity if you are hurting yourself, you need to reach out to someone you trust. Is there a counselor at school? A best friend's parents that you feel comfortable with? You should not be handling this alone. Please tell someone what is going on. This does not reflect badly on you, in any way. I hope you can find someone to talk with about this. That includes us at HealthyPlace. Reach out anytime and we are here for you. Thanks, Emily
The thoughts and article were spot on until the dialogue changed to blaming a she. It’s ok, I get it....the Bible only describes the wayward woman. I once went through Proverbs in my Bible and marked over all the s’ to reflect He/his.... truth is, we are not that great apart from Christ. I’ve lost so much in the 5 years dating a mostly verbally abusive man. I’m in my 40’s and have never been married, had a live in boyfriend or a roommate. I’m a homeowner. My life has been a slow decay since we met, and yes I love him, and try to with Gods love, but I’m seeing I’m going to have to abort the relationship to save my sanity and life. I know I cannot change him. He is 49, I pray and talk to God when he gets into his anger orbit, which is weekly. But of coarse he never does anything wrong and everything is my fault. The Lord keeps saying Trust Me, cast all your care and anxiety upon me....and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m beginning to see this verbal and on occasion physical abuse will never stop. I do pray for him, but at this point I’m having to make a decision for my own life and soul. God Bless those who are teuely dealing with a loved one who has sever physiological issues. Unless they want help or even see how damaging what they do is, nothing will change. Get OUT.
My parents call him a stumbling block. Since I started dating him, verbal abuse seaps in slowly and yes females do it too. I’ve lost an awesome job- he has brought out the very worst in me- even though I try to cooperate with the Holy Spirit... imagine being cornered literally for an hour in a corner because ‘ you did not receive the orange juice from the drive through properly’. Or being so sick -104 temp and man leaves you because you asked for soup and crackers. No woman gonna tell Him what to do-so he leaves and you drive yourself to CVS running high fever -back into someone in the parking lot-I had Family I
In town that day-they offered from 8am to come bring crackers and soup and meds- my guy told them a
Day he was gonna get it for me-before my family left town now 8 hrs later he said oh I’m on my way- once Family left town -have a military family- he jetted - leaving me with nothing- I hadn’t been that sick in 20 yrs
I Know this personally it is sick and twisted mental hell of a prison. And Yes you think it's Normal..and deep down you know but it was terrifying. ..not good enough your darned if you do and dared if you don't You are the cause of all the wrongs in the world but They can do NO wrong...they keep you in this mental prison and They puff their our Ward image ...and the TERROR was No one will believe you ...frozen paralyzed living in ALIT of anxiety and FEARNLY GOD broke me out of it
This article is pretty on point to My Life experience living on eggshells. And I should be grateful....BUT GOD..but GOD
I’m in the same boat. Get out. I’m in the process. I know it’s easier said. Nothing I do is right. Life is to short, not to mention the erosion on your sanity and emotional health. I stayed way to long, but I was lonely. I’d rather be lonely and have peace, and be in fear now.
Than love in fear crazy anger issues, half the time I don’t know what I said or did, I think he is undiagnosed mental probs. But even if you can paint it in black and white in kindness and patience and they rage all the more... if they say the sky is green than its green and there’s nothing you can say- I’ve even gone so far as to be compassionate towards his delusions to prevent a rage- sitting back, going O M G..... people don’t always come with a resume and references- and even if they did people cover.... I will part with him on the kindest way- hell I had a busted ear drum a black eye and broken jaw.... because I didn’t close the blinds in broad daylight- he kept insisting someone was watching us... just wow-people suffering so bad meantally- I’ve tried to help him- he’s not all bad- my parents even offered to pay for us to go to therapy- he thumbed his nose at that multiple times... he I haven’t been active in church since I started dating him, I’ve always gone all my adult life by my self with no family in town. He won’t watch a sermon on tv or listen to K-LOVE- and look, I hike and kayak actively.... and bike ride... I’ll just stop. Sometimes people are sick-like haveing cancer-don’t shame them- mental issues seem the most hardest. They a in a wheelchair mentally and emotionally - but if they don’t see anything at all wrong with how they behave and they don’t want any kind of help. Leave them in God’s hands.
He has never paid rent or a mortgage- I found out years later that was his dad’s house- his mom passed when he was 18- after meeting his dad I learned everything was his dad accomplishment
S. Down to saving three abandoned puppies
When I was pregnant with our son my boyfriend told me that he hoped I would suffer because I deserved it. Is it wrong of me to feel that saying that to me was verbally abusive?
Hellina, No that is absolutely not wrong for you to conclude he was verbally abusive toward you. That is an incredibly cruel and abusive thing to say to you, and when you were pregnant?! Being pregnant is hard enough for us! I am so sorry you had to endure that, I can imagine you felt terrible.
Here's an article on the difference between arguments and verbal abuse,
you may find it insightful. You do not deserve to be treated that way, ever. Here's another article on coping with verbal abuse when you can't just leave
In case something like that happens again, there are some techniques in there for coping and response methods. I hope this was helpful and feel free to reach out anytime,
Dear Kellie. Hope you still read these comments. I have been married for one year and have a newborn baby. I honestly dont know if what im going thru is abuse or that we "both are fighting". He was so loving and caring in the beginning and insisted on us marrying quickly. I was not as crazy about him then. I even kissed another guy which he found out about, which has become a major theme in our relationship. I wanted to wait a bit but he accused me of not loving him enough so i said, ok, also bc i was up to my ears in guilt about having kissed another guy while we were dating. I know it was wrong! After the wedding i have started loving him more and more deeply. But he is somehow taking revenge on me for not loving him enough before. He always says, "I suffered so bad in the beginning and you were so cruel". He has given back the ring a number of times and said he regrets marrying me, that he is unhappy, that he hates our house (which HE found, but it was in the area i wanted to live, which he says he regrets) I have hoped his pain from me kissing that guy would subside but it just seems to get worse! He says bc of that i am a liar, untrustworthy and that i oppress him. He always insinuates that i am bad at cooking and cleaning, to the point where i secretly hired a cleaning lady when he was at work, which he found out about and then called me dishonest for not telling him. He has made me insecure about my cooking. All the furniture i brought, he wants to get rid of. His comments can be so mean, like saying all my friends are dumpsterdivers. Who says stuff like that? His drinking has also gotten worse, when he is out he doesnt answer the phone and gets REALLY drunk and embarrasses himself. Sometimes i get him to stop, but then he sulks for weeks and says he has nothing to do, apparently all fun is associated with drinking. He says I have made him a cynical person who looks down at women whereas before he wasnt like that. He thinks i am some kind of crazy party girl who cant get enough sex whereas in reality all i do is stay at home and takes care of the kids, his and mine. Once i made a joke of that when i was younger i hitchhiked and "everybody thinks you will be raped but that didnt happen to me, unfortunately" IT WAS A JOKE! But ever since he keeps repeating that i hope to be raped. He promised to stop drinking for real last month but then bc we had a fight, he now "doesnt care" and drinks in a destructive way. i come home from a work trip and the kids are awake at 11.30, he is passed out and i say, why are they awake? " i dont know,"
The worst is, i have started to self harm. I cant stand when he is mean and tirns his back on me in bed. I want love, caresses, sweet words! So when it gets really cold and mean i start biting myself and banging my head to the wall. He hates that and says i only want drama. Last time i cried, please hug me, please hold me, love me, help me, and he just says NO I DONT WANT TO, I DONT LIKE YOU RIGHT NOW, I WANT TO SLEEP, IF YOU WANT TO HURT YOURSELF GO AND JUMP OUT THE WINDOW BUT DONT INVOLVE ME!
I think thats really mean to say. Now i am not the best person either but i wouldnt do that. The compliments have ceased and now its just this. What do i do? I dont want to leave. Please dont just say seek help, i mean how do you assess this situation?
Kaysa, I am so sorry for all of your troubles, this sounds like a pretty horrific living situation. Have you asked yourself why you don't want to leave? What is it that's keeping you there, holding on? The environment you described does not sound like a loving, healthy environment for yourself and your newborn baby. I understand how scary it is to consider leaving when you have a newborn baby, I'm sure all you want is to be happy and for your baby to have loving parents. Would your husband be open to seeking family therapy/marriage counseling? It may give you both a healthier outlet to discuss your grievances with one another. I know you said you didn't want the suggestion to just seek help, but if things do not improve, they may continue to get worse. His behavior does sound very abusive indeed, and dangerous -- if he is unable to care for the children because of his drinking. Here's an article about coping with verbal abuse when you can't just leave . I hope that's helpful and I hope you're able to find some clarity on the best next step for you and your baby. Take care of yourself, Emily
Can I please say, " pray for me?" Thank you
I really do not know what to think anymore. I am two years into a relationship. We have lived together for a year. My partner drinks every evening and can flit from saying that he loves me and other adoring things to a right argumentative git especially when it's approaching bed time. He will call me obscene names if i get something wrong or say or do something not to his liking (I.e not putting my phone on charge) I have found there is no use trying to defend myself it makes him more angry. After 10 minutes of silence he will approach me and blame me saying I am grumpy. I'm becoming more depressed and anxious. He is a caring bright and funny guy usually and I love him. But this behaviour is slowly strangling me. What can i do?
You can't change the behavior or another. This sounds tortuous to me and I hope you can find a way to get out. If you can't get there by yourself, get help from a friend or a professional. This is not how loving relationships look. Best of luck to you.
This is exactly how it starts and I've been living it 17 years and I'm done, I have to figure out a way to stand on my own feet and take care of my four children. They never change. The abuse outweighs the happy times.
Dear Anita. I know how you feel. I have been in what I believe to be a verbally & mentally abusive relationship for 28 years but has got progressively worse. I am still doubting myself, my partner says we had a silly little argument and we should get over it! He says I left him 2,years ago because I keep running away to my mums house, she is my sanctuary. I am trying to keep everyone at home happy but it is beginning to backfire on me. We have two sons 21 & 23 and a 13 year old daughter. I want to leave him but we will have to sell our home which will be heartbreaking for everyone. I fear my sons will never speak to me again but my daughter will be happy. I fear partners reaction if I say it is definitely over, he will turn nasty and turn everyone against me.
Your story sounds exactly like mine I finally had to leave I got an apartment my son is very unhappy with me until he asked me for money because I am the breadwinner and then he's nice but he sides with his father my daughter just wants the family to be happy and she wants a family unit back but when I was there my husband would it verbally abuse me and come at me and push me down more than once and my son did not see any of of this so he doesn't completely understand why I chose to do what I did but overall it was necessary now I'm going through the divorce and my husband is constantly calling me texting me trying to get me to see things his way but never really proactive and his solutions LOL seek out counseling I will make a change none of those suggestions ever come from his lips only what I suggest and then he agrees to my suggestions to get counseling but he never offers it up and I know he won't do it he did that the second time I file for divorce he said he would get counseling and then sure enough when I said I will stay with you he changed his mind just like in the book that I was reading about abusive relationships it's probably time for you to MoveOn make that stop even if you have to get your own apartment the kids will eventually decide who they want to live with and that's fine I just want my kids to be comfortable and I think they'll be most comfortable in the home that they grew up in with my husband living in that house with them because he was Mr. mom and me living in a separate location probably paying alimony and child support unfortunately but it is what it is at least they won't have to deal with the dysfunction anymore of their parents.I can't see what I wrote completely so forgive the lack of editing.
I have to speak to someone who has gone through this.. I'm doing everything that a "victim" does.. I blame myself. His words echo in my head all day. He moved to this country 2.5 years ago to be with me. He's had a terrible time adjusting. For the first year he put his hands on me maybe 4 times. Once he pushed me down and beat the back of my legs until I had bruises. He claims he has never laid a hand on me.. he says that a wifebeater is someone who would put me in the hospital. HE has explosions about every few weeks. Usually in regards to me **ucking up... yes, I did go to my highschool reunion on the weekend of our wedding anniversary. But I heard how worthless I was and what a *uck up I am for a whole night until I apologized profusely. This weekend was literally the worse. We went on a trip and it just happened that a friend of mine and his father were in the same city we were. My husband thinks I planned this all along. I swear I did not but I also wasn't going to pass up the chance to see my friend after soo long. Things got bad on the drive up when he got a speeding ticket. I knew then that the weekend was over. The last night we were there I was up at the bar talking to my friend and his dad (whom we had joined for dinner). my husband wanted to go home. I wanted to stay a bit longer b/c I did not know when I would see them again. He got so angry and left and I chased after him called him and looked around the hotel for hours. At this point I got very scared and went back to the hotel room. He had alcohol in his system and he was very angry. I got scared what he might do to me. He banged on the door later and I let him in and the string of verbal abuse started. He also threw things around the room at my body. then he took all his stuff and left. In the am he picked me up to go home.. It was 3 hours of the most horrible things I've ever heard. He screamed he hates me and I ruined his life at the top of his lungs. He called me a whore and that I think I'm 20 and want to hang around men. He said he would go tell immigration to extend his green card if he divorces me b/c they will understand what I whore I am. He said I am the most horrible person he has ever met and he can do so much better than me. Then he pulled off the highway and ordered me to get out of the car in the middle of the highway. I begged him to let me stay. It was a bad area I had no way to get home. He let me stay. But would not let me stop at a restroom or get a drink of water. When we got home I went upstairs and took 10 valium to make it stop. I thought about my kids and tried to throw it all up.. but I was still shaking and worried. I told him what happened and he told me to figure out how to get to the hospital but don't bother him with my problems. He told me never to speak with his mom .. I wonder if that is bc he is hiding the real him from her. Is there anything I could've done to deserve this??? I should've left with him I know... I regret it.
You need to file for divorce if Christian counseling doesn't work we tried everything we're Christian's unfortunately your husband had done very deep seated anger issues he was probably abused as a child and imist likely observed his own mom as the abused by his father ....unfortunately children learn what they live and it did say that you had kids so do yourself and your children a favor try the counseling see if he will do that with you most abusive individuals do not feel that they need to counseling so I don't anticipate that he's going to agree to do this there is a lack of respect for you as a woman and this is a learned behavior you don't want your kids to learn this behavior and you don't deserve to be treated like this no person on the face of the earth deserves to be treated like a target that a monkey slings poop that that is wrong he is wrong you need to realize that you are worthy God sees you as a worthy individual and loves you very much and he will protect you and guide you pray to him he will get you out of that abusive relationship you need to move on if your husband does not want to see counseling and seek help that is your option is to file for divorce . No person deserves to be treated or should be treated as you are being treated right now and I think it's hard for all of us who have been abused to realize this to believe that oh it wasn't our fault somehow we always condemn ourselves and not the person who is doing the condemning The time is now if he will not seek counseling you must move on pray about it God will guide and protect you he loves you and you were wonderfully beautifully made
I'm reading all of this and I just have this lingering feeling in my gut. Im almost 50, been with my husband almost 30 years and I'm so lost. Today, he exploded on me over something so small in public in front of my child which isn't the first time he's done it but it hasn't happened in a while. I don't know if that's because I've been so afraid to speak up or say what I'm thinking...I have very bad nerves, my heart palpitates a lot, I'm tense, I can't sleep. I'm depressed almost all the time. I noticed when I finally went away on a weekend trip that he wasn't happy about but I was determined to go... I slept like a baby, I laughed, I felt free...then I came back home n it seemed like a dark cloud moved over me. I honestly thought my husband changed and this verbal abuse had ended. I feel so absolutely stupid for going back to him trying to make a good marriage. I want to tell him that he ruined my life and any hope of a nice time like today always ends in ruin because of his mean spirited, angry antics!!! I feel trapped on one hand and then on the other I feel like he just made a mistake like we all do and I'm being to unforgiving. Honestly, I want to smile. I want to breathe and enjoy life but I feel like I may never do it if I stay with my husband. I also don't want my children to mess up in school because of our mess and a separation or divorce would devastate them. I think I will reach out to a therapist tomorrow. Thank you for the article though. I saw so much of me in it and it's a wake up call.
I completely understand where you're coming from and I find all of this reading of others so refreshing because everybody's experience is exactly what I'm going through us while I'm concerned about my kids and how well they're going to do in school but I look at what's affecting them now and just seeing our dysfunction over the years my son had a really bad 10th grade year did not do while now he's trying to make up the difference in 11th grade my daughter looks absolutely miserable she's put on so much weight my kids just stay in the rooms and play their games and do their homework but then my husband stays home doesn't work won't work says he can't his resume looks bleak because he's been home all these years taking care of the kids he has been a bus driver and decided to quit that he worked another place decided to quit that he's abused you know marijuana and a drinker and I even fell into it a little bit and now I'm completely clean and feeling positive but the bad thing I chose a after our last fight of him calling me names a cunt slut whore bitch in front of my daughter I said that was it and I start to look for an apartment and I moved out my son is not happy my daughter isn't happy either but and I'm not really truly happy because they're not happy but I cannot allow them to see our dysfunction anymore in the house so I had to remove myself me being the breadwinner however I will have to pay alimony and child support which I'm not looking forward to but it's a small price to pay I guess for a little piece of my tranquility healing and feeling somewhat more positive maybe that I'm feeling like I have a little bit more control over things and I am not around somebody who's constantly negative or needy wanted me to find solutions for the problems can't do anything other One and then turns around and calls me all sorts of names it's a crazy cycle and somebody has to break it and I chose to be that one !!!!
I currently have bite marks on my arms. A bruise on my left shoulder. A fractured finger from being kicked. I also have words running around in my head about my children hating me. This was all from my abuser. A woman. She hits me then calls the police. The police believe her because she is a woman. I find the 'he' thing very hurtful. It should never be used and there are no English excuses to use it. Men are abused just as much as women. By using it you are conforming to a stereo typical perception.
You'll just have to change the "hes" to "shes" in your mind when you read then. After all, women have had to do it since the beginning of the English language as the accepted pronouns have always been he, his, mankind, etc. If I can read a pronoun and know it includes me as a female, then you're smart enough to read a pronoun and understand it refers to you as a male, too.
I need help...Someone to talk to, I'm currently a medical student so I can't afford a therapist. Is there anyone that know some online-therapy that is available and for free? Please, if anyone does let me know thanks.
The NDVH is a great free resource (http://thehotline.org) with volunteers who will talk to you anytime, 24/7. Verbal Abuse Journals offers free mentoring. Our mentors have left abusive relationships. They are not doctors or therapists (http://verbalabusejournals.com/mentoring-program-for-domestic-violence-survivors/emotiona…).
"You cannot change your abuser, you can only change yourself."
This is the last statement of your article. So I ask "now what?". We finally gain the realization that this is their problem and not ours. We have been singled out, castrated from the family, town and closest friends. We are in this all alone without anyone thinking that there is a problem with HIM. Left all alone, feeling completely victimized.
What are the steps to "change ourselves".
Now, we have better understanding. We have created greater boundaries which creates greater stress. We begin to line up the future with a plan of action. But we are completely scared to leave. Left with little finances. Not knowing how to get on our feet without being in the street and starting over as though we where a teenager at almost the age of 60.
Tell me how?
It sounds like you've got it figured out that it's not you. :) And yes, there are things you can do to change yourself. You aren't really changing the core of you, but you do need to use some skills that you either haven't used in a while or don't have yet.
The first steps involve reaching out:
1. Now that you know where you stand with the "friends and family," you must reach out and develop relationships with organizations, the people in those organizations, and make new friends. The new friends aren't meant to be escape vehicles. They're meant to support you as you go through the changes.
The organizations are there to provide groups for you to attend. They're a way to stop feel less alone and more competent. The feeling that you're starting like a teenager is untrue - a product of the abuse that diminished your spirit and your hope. You're almost 60. You have valuable life experience that will aid you.
2. Visit your doctor and find out if you're depressed and/or anxious or have another mental illness that abuse could cause. A big one is PTSD. If you do have an illness, work with your doctor to treat it. You can feel better with treatment.
3. Get a therapist whether you have an illness or not. This is the one person who will be "yours" - you choose him or her, and you fire him or her if they don't help you. Tell the therapist right off the bat that you need help dealing with and leaving an abusive relationship. Often, therapists that practice cognitive behavioral therapy work well for abuse victims. (You see, abuse has a way of turning us inside out and around on ourselves. CBT has a way of helping you think clearer, behave and react differently to abuse.)
If you can't see a therapist, make a promise to yourself to call the NDVH (http://thehotline.org) one day each week. It isn't "therapy" but it is therapeutic to talk to someone who understands, a place where you can vent. And get your hands on a CBT workbook. You can find them on amazon.com easily.
The next changes involve the fear:
1. You are a planner, so you'll understand this well. Write down what you're afraid of encountering. For example, "What if I can't make it financially on my own?" This is a HUGE question. It is too big to answer all at once. So break it down. For example, "What if I can't find work? What if I can't pay the rent? What if my car needs repaired?"
You see where this is going, right? When you get to a smaller question, you can begin answering them. What if you can't find work? Answer this question by finding the job-finding agencies in your county/parish, discover what they have to offer. Can syou start looking now? Perhaps an organization offers courses for entering the workforce (how to prepare a resume, how to work an interview, etc.). Find out what is there.
After you answer all of the what-ifs as well as you can, you will feel more secure and less fearful. You will also discover answers to questions you haven't even considered yet.
2. Honor your fear. It is FINALLY going to do you some good. The problem is that over the years, you've learned to be fearless. You stay in loud arguments that would have any of the neighbors running from your home. You face off with a man who you know is stronger, physically. You've taken punishments as if you lived in a POW camp. And you're still here.
But now, you need to let the fear surround you. Stop letting these fearsome situations bounce off of you as if they are no big deal. Honor your fear of leaving by seeing how fearful you *should* be for yourself. There's a great book by Gavin DeBecker called "The Gift of Fear" that helped me understand this concept very well. When I realized that I was putting up with life-threatening behaviors (threats, threatening behavior, diminishment of my spirit, etc.), my home life became clear to me. I should be more afraid of HIM than of what lived outside my walls.
You know what? Email me. I'll set you up with a mentor. There's much more I could write... but I have to go on. My email address is verbalabusejournals at gmail dot com.
YOU CAN DO THIS. You can work your way into the truth. You can save yourself.
Hello ny name is Angie im 43 years okd and im going through to much and im not being underestood. I go through verbal abuse and i need help on how to get out of it. If anyone that can help me or if i can speak to anyone please email me i need to get help to get out of this world of junk
I am a verbal abuser. My marriage is in tatters. I've read the comments above, and the scenarios sound like me to a tee. To begin this conversation I'm not providing excuses but to tell the story there has to be a beginning. Through out my childhood my parents especially my mother called me a cocksucker, faggot, piece of shit, I hate your fucking guts, I wish you were dead to name a few. My father on the otherhand had an extreme temper, and painfully physical. I am not to those extremes with name calling but destroy my wife with sarcasm, petty jealousy, and non communication out of fear of my previous explosions. I find it impossible to be happy for someone else's success or relationships out of fear of losing. That is completely ridiculous; it's just ego, and some idiotic sense of pride. I do not want to be this way any more. I'm seeing a psychologist & pychiatrist which slows the incidents occurrences but really only stems the tide. No one deserves to deal with this type of abuse. Words as they say cut deeper than a knife. My entire life has been a battle between self worth, and loathing. Wake up, and make a change. Don't be a coward like me!
I don't think you're a coward, Kevin. You're getting help. You know where the behavior stems from. You can work on recognizing your triggers and develop alternate responses to them. Plus, you commented on this blog. You are not a coward.
Wonderful insightful information. Obviously you are a skilled professional. As a colleague, I wonder if you might consider your editorial comments "Both men and women can be abusers.........do not take any gender references..... In the context of abused males,
like myself, reading your helpful article. You may want to consider if your subconscious feelings might have influenced your (non)-decision to avoid having to make that comment by simply writing he(she) in the text. Whatever your motivation, I hope it is helpful to realize I, for one, did feel offended as a male, despite your disclaimer.
Jp, I'm sorry you were offended, but take into consideration this perspective:
I am a female who was abused by a male. When I write about my situation, I will use the pronouns as needed to be truthful. In general, because more women die at the hands of their partners than men do, I speak of male abusers, female victims. I cannot accommodate everyone's situations (gay, lesbian, heterosexual male, transgender relationships). It's a freaking pronoun nightmare. Hence, the disclaimer.
My subconscious is as clear as day. And if it weren't, does that make the article any less useful to you?
So, as I've asked men to do for a long time now: If you see the pronoun "she" just change it in your mind to say "he." After all, women have "understood" that the masculine form of words speak to and for us, too. I'm not offended by all the "he's" and "his's" I read every day, so I don't think it's too much to ask for you to infer a masculine pronoun.
You deserve a life of happiness. The situation you described sounds like a nightmare.
I was very recently in your shoes. Masters degree, very successful career. 29 years old and engaged to an abusive man. But I married him. I knew his anger, violence, his abuse. But I did it anyway because I believed he could change. I thought he just needed love, support, and stability. I thought I could give that to him.
I am in the middle of a divorce right now. Barely married a year, but there was nothing I could do. He wired that way, and it only got worse.
Save yourself. Be strong. Don't let the guilt cloud your judgement. There is a feeling in the gut, do you have that? Gnawing and ugh, just awful. Knowing you are in over your head. Knowing it's not the way you're supposed to be treated. Listen to it. Save yourself. And above all, don't waste the pretty.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Hello I took the courage to post my comment too after all the stories I have read which I can relate to. I am 29 and a lawyer, I am educated presentable and engaged to my verbally abusing fiancé for 1,5 months, to get married in 4 months. Signs were there all along , he was always an introvert, uptight, poker face person with no light moments. It felt wrong from the very beginning but the whole handsome successful serious and relationship material profile kept me going . I grew up in an unhealthy environment myself, witnessing my parents constant name calling and fighting from as far as I can remember . Maybe this has changed my perception of what is acceptable in a relationship.
The initial signs of verbal abuse did not take long to appear. Constant criticism, name calling , belittling , trying to make me feel worthless without him, constant accusations about my family, trying to make me feel helpless and dependent on him although I was earning as much as he did , wrongful accusations to the point I was thinking he was talking about someone else (bad with money, bad with housework, not caring about the house, not sharing common expenses which were completely untrue) . He also had a very weird relationship with his mother (he has had a hard childhood, being abandoned by his father with minimum contact and grew up as an only child by an insecure, psychotic mother who has never recovered from her divorce) with constant guilt being used by her towards him and us as a couple due to the fact that she lives alone in another town and we had to visit her every Saturday which used to cause me tremendous pressure and stress, not being able to decide for my own schedule on weekends.
Our relationship was always hard to cope with, constant efforts, fighting to the point where I was embarrassed from neighbors to see me afterwards , it was generally hard. Walking on eggshells was my life , and imagine I was a strong , self sustained and educated woman . I can't understand why did I ever put up with this . Being with him was simply hard .
My abuser had the image of mr perfect to our close environment. Loving , caring , always helping with the housework, being relationship material. Even in private he was very loving with me when he wanted . I was even told by many female friends that they would wish for their husband to be more like mine. He would simply be another person in public . When I finally broke my silence and confided the details to friends and family they thought I was referring to someone else. Another thing that made me dispute my judgment even more .
We got engaged last year and he forbid me to discuss anything about the wedding till when he said so. Two months later he hurt me with his words saying he despised me , I made him sick etc until one day we had an argument about something stupid and he asked for the ring back and kicked me out of the house . Living with him under the same roof was a constant struggle : not only did I have to put up with his bad character , I was kicked out of the house millions of times until my insecurities took a toll on me. I left him on that day and he begged me to go back . I did go then (I was only engaged for 2 months) but was emotionally numb, full of hate and disappointment, unable to try for this relationship. Still I couldn't go. This feeling never went away .
A few months earlier , I decided to change into a new job. The impact on my psychology was rather bad as I am terrible with change and I was slightly depressed for a few months . He decided he could not stand me , he threatened to leave me and he could not be around me because of all the stress I created . He decided to sleep on the couch for 2 months as he couldn't be anywhere near me. Let alone the constant name calling on how unworthy I was for feeling this way , how I messed up his life and our lives by being depressed about my work and how he could not tolerate me. We finally had a huge fight for an irrelevant reason where he threw all of my belongings in the corridor and started screaming at me to get out, threw me a whole bottle of water in my face , tried to lock me in the room and was pushing me hard against the wall ( I am very petite and he is a very big guy- that didn't stop him from laying his hands on me) . I didn't leave but couldn't live with myself after all this . Not only did he give me zero support when I needed him but he also made things harder for me . His ability to make a person feel better is simply non existent. A few days later he demonstrated similar behaviors when I Complained because he was very rude on me on the phone (told me to 'kick my brain off' because I was busy while talking to him and he lost patience) so he told me to go to the room as he couldn't stand me and that he would make me sleep on the couch . I decided to leave him once again. I was feeling very wrong to have someone treat me this way. I came to my parents house for a few days and he begged me to go back . I did go back just to find out his only intention was to threaten me to quit my job or else he would abandon me. He even had his bags packed when I went to 'discuss'. I absolutely denied , he implied that the root to all of our problems was my job and that he couldn't be with me while I was there. He said he would support me but I simply said no (been working since 21 , fully self sustained and I was not willing to be financially dependent from a guy who said I was not contributing when I was paying half the rent and expenses plus a guy that kicked me out practically every month). He threatened and insisted for 5 long hours where he got me to a point where I couldn't wait for him to leave . He did leave but that of course wasn't the end to my problems . Constant texting , psychological pressure while I was at work and many more , got me to a point where I could not operate and I was told off by my superior for not meeting up his expectations at work. I took him back and I still don't know why. He clearly can't change and I clearly can't try. Of course , we had another fight after that because of the fact that he decided he doesn't like my parents as they turned their back against me when I was having job troubles . That isn't true . I felt I couldn't take any longer . Out final fight was all I could take and all to make me realize he could never change . We were having all this trouble due to his behavior (I do take responsibility for my reactions for work) and he still insisted on creating more problems when he promised he would change . He even said he was willing to try counselling (promised the same last year but didn't go) but I really don't thing he is a position to understand what he is doing wrong let alone fix it . I am also powerless to try . I am drained . I do have feelings but he killed most of them. I am now at my parents once again and I told him I am calling the wedding off and want us to separate. He doesn't accept it; he says all is my fault for not trying to leave things behind me since last year. Truth is I was so angry and hurt I couldn't. He thinks this is no excuse. I am in a dead end . I have his deadlines to cope with (have to give a final answer by tomorrow) plus the wedding stress (meaning call it off) and I cannot even trust myself anymore that I can make the right decision. I feel that I have lost faith in myself so much that I can't even decide what's best for me. Guilt is also an issue for not trying since last year . I do know I deserve better . I earn a very good salary, I am pretty, young educated and a good person and I really can't figure out what is wrong with me and why can't I just stop this sick and toxic relationship. A part of me blames myself for not trying and another part simply screams get away, it will get worse. Help!!!!!
Hi I need help my partner wants sex 3,4 times wkly ,12yr relationship,, I am not able being gang raped wen I was 15 he continues to mention it. I got well over it not going to let it ruin me my life is a one to live I'm proud the way I handled it thwr in prison now . But I should have said nothing about it to him as I'm reliving it now cause I don't have sex due to his attitude counting the days when we last had sex. After a week he has a very good way of letting me know he wants sex I don't love him any more what do I do plz there's so much more he ruined me help
Claire, there are two websites you can call for help. The NDVH at http://thehotline.org is for domestic violence help. The other is RAINN at https://rainn.org/index.php and it is for help dealing with rape, sexual abuse, etc. Both websites have call lines and chat.
He hasn't ruined you. You reached out for help.
I am a man. My wife does not work. When she decides I have made a bad decision she rants anywhere from 30mins. to over 2 hours. There are many more issues. One being she takes money out of our accounts and secretly sends them to her son. The last time was in August when I found another bank receipt where she sent cash to her son. While I am holding and reading it she sees me and snatches it out of my hand and eats it. She has run my son off just after he graduated from HS. Now after almost 4 years she is trying to get me to employ her son (knows nothing about my business and wants to be my CFO. I don't have a CFO. My company is small and I handle all finances.) He was out of a job after being fired and didn't look for work for over 5 months. My wife and he asked if he could live here for a few months (3 or more) after getting a contract sale on our condo. I have sent him money on occasions not knowing my wife has been too. Once in our new home she is trying to get me to leave saying it is her home but she has no recourses to pay for this home. I suppose she wants me to pay too. I have an office in the house but she makes so much noise when I am there I am unable to work. She also wakes me after I co to bed most nights. She goes to be anywhere from midnight to 4 am. I sometimes cannot get back to sleep because I am so startled. We have no sex life. I am ok with that but she throws that in my face from time to time. But what man wants to make love to a person so abusive? Are there laws in NC that protect me? How can I get her out of the home when she is ranting instead of me having to leave?
I went through leaving my ex in NC, too. No, there's no way to get her out of the home when she is ranting because you can't control what someone else is doing. You can only control what you do.
Yes, technically, there are laws in NC that protect you from physical violence (but not verbal/emotional abuse). I am uncertain how well the law will protect you from physical abuse because I don't know how your local police and any judge assigned to you would react to domestic violence calls, never mind that you are a male complainant.
The last time my ex put his hands on me, I called the sheriff but they couldn't make him leave the home because my bruises hadn't developed yet. (No proof.) However, the next morning, after my bruises showed, I was able to get an ex-parte order which removed him from the home.
An ex-parte order works exactly like a restraining order with the added benefit of forcing the spouse to leave the home so you can go back there until things are "sorted out" in court.
I have absolutely no idea how to advise you. I truly believe you should secretly speak to an attorney and find out what your options are. Also, check with your local department of social services. They will have a domestic violence counselor who can perhaps help you navigate the system.
Hello I was looking for some info I noticed my husband is yelling at me when he haven't his way to do what he wants. He does yells very hard to the point I feel as he wants to hit me or something I'm very concern. I look up to his face is a different person I'm not too sure is crazy? I question myself is the person I sup post to admire and respect? he starting saying bad words which he knows I do not use and I do not like. But I start wondering is acceptable to be yell out? I do not have any family here I am us citizen yes. I'm hard worker person, (but I do not have a job at this time) I'm a great student (I'm re assuring my accounting knowledge) but I starting having bad dreams I think I'm afraid of him. What I should do? I starting crying and feeling lonely I want to leave but I ask my self ...where to go? I do not have money. I think he feels I'm hopeless or with not family around. Can I have your advise? I appreciate that very much.
Sea, it sounds like you're fairly isolated. Leaving him will require a good bit of change for you, but it is not impossible to go. I can't give you a step-by-step example, but I can advise 2 things:
1. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (they have translators if you need one). The NDVH, at http://thehotline.org, can listen and advise you where to find help locally.
2. Download this safety plan and use it: http://verbalabusejournals.com/pdf/comprehensive-safety-plan-print.pdf It can help you stay safer at home until you find a way out.
Keep all of what you do a secret from him AND his friends.
Some other options include finding a job so you can move out (he will yell, but you need the money). Could you ask family to send you money? If so, try to have it sent to you Western Union or to a PO box (you'll have to rent one and keep it secret). Deposit the money in your own checking account -definitely not a joint account and not one in his name only. Also, check at your university. There should be a counselor who can advise you. Perhaps there is a dormitory where you could stay or perhaps you could work for the college. I had a job as a note taker at one community college and they also hired translators.
You can sign up for an email mentor (someone who has left an abusive relationship) here: http://verbalabusejournals.com/mentoring-program-for-domestic-violence-survivors/
I sincerely hope you do these things and follow the advice from the NDVH. It won't be easy, but nothing worth the effort is ever easy. Stay as safe as possible and remember to keep your research and planning a secret from him.
Growing up being verbally and emotionally abused led me to make a lot of poor choices in men. A lot of people don't take it seriously. I still struggle at 39 sometimes to deal with issues that feel like confrontation because I have two extremes - crazy mad or I just don't say anything at all. I CAN say that there are a number of books that helped me, but these are the three I would highly recommend to all of you:
Codependent No More - Melody Beattie
The Language of Letting Go - Melody Beattie
Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no - Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend
My good friend pointed me to this post. I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for 28 years now. I have 4 kids, so it's always been hard to leave as I know that i would feel pretty empty without seeing them every day. I feel as though I've done all I can to keep my wife happy, but she never seems to be happy and always seems to be angry at me. On our 25th anniversary I wished her a happy anniversary and wanted to go out to dinner to celebrate. Her answer was "I have nothing to celebrate." Pretty much broke my heart. I started saving for my own house after that (I have a side business on the internet). I almost bought one, but she broke me down and said how much she loved me and all this stuff so i told the realtor i wasn't going to buy it, even though I'd put $1000 down on it. A month later she flipped out on me again for giving my sister $50 for her 60th birthday. I decided to look for a house again. This time I went thru with it and bought one in a neighboring town. I figured I'd fix it up and see how she was treating me in the meantime. When she knew I had a house to go to she did do a 180. Started treating me much nicer, but the whole time it was "you need to sell that house." I still haven't sold it (2 years later) for fear of if i did, things would go back to the way they were. They still are like that at times when she flips out at me for seemingly minor things (like not doing my dishes when I had to leave early in the morning as I didn't want to wake the kids). Still the pressure is always on for me to sell the house. I don't really want to and have been making excuses like the market isn't good right now (true). Two of my kids have moved out now so it might be easier to make a move if I decide to. I really struggle with this because she can be as nice and loving for a few weeks, but then get upset at me again and I get pretty depressed. My friend thinks I should not sell the house under any circumstances and I think maybe she's right. I just struggle with going thru with actually moving. Maybe I'm afraid I'll be lonely or regret it, and I certainly don't want to hurt my kids. It's incredibly hard even though I have a place to go. I have been to a marriage counselor but she refuses to go.
Bill, marriage counseling isn't your best choice right now. I hope you find a counselor you like and see him/her on a regular basis. Counseling has a way of sorting these things out and helping you to see that your needs are important. Counseling will help you with the depression, too.
I agree with your friend. Hold on to the house at least until after a year of counseling and see where you stand at that time.
Remember the abuse is not your fault. Even the "good" times leave you walking on eggshells hoping she won't do it again. There's no time to relax or set your thoughts straight living that way.
Thoughts and prayers with you.
I have a rare muscle and nerve disease,terrible pain involving sciatic nerve,right knee keeps fluid filled very large cyst behind knee.I love life,adventure, making love.My husband passed away looking into my eyes in 2007,after a brief illness.I met,fell in love with and married my husband 4 years ago.He took another position at the same company he has worked for years.He now calls me a bitch ,tells me I am disgusting, embarrassment, has thrown end tables,bread at me,he is 6ft-286 ponds.I am 5'3,weigh aot 134lbs.the verbal abuse is very bad.He claims I know how to push his buttons,and I do it on purpose, turning it into being my fault,then he tells me its the job,finances,etc...I cannot make it on my own financially.I have always been an outgoing,smiling person,respected in my hometown.Its getting worse!! HELP,WHAT CAN I DO?
Reach out to friends and family. Let them know what's going on. The financial outlook is usually dire, just like yours, but doors may open up for you if you start talking to people about your situation.
What about disability? Have you applied?
After 36 years in a verbally and earlier and light physical abuse relationship, I am aiming for retirement. My goal is now to be civil, just do what I have always done, dinner, laundry, but now I am just civil. I live in the other bedroom and treat my spouse as a room mate. I couldn't be happier. He however is getting more and more upset I can tell. Oh well. I am non confrontational at this point. What will the end be? We shall see. But that is my exiting strategy. I am exiting. With rational planning. I will not be a target any longer or even engage in possible arguments. I will let you know how the next 6 months go.
I was in this relationship for 10 years. I am a very quiet,jolly person and pretty much just work, shop and stayed home most of the time till i met this look wonderful, angelic face, soft spoken, smart, quiet , polite and caring man. He right away felt in love with me, care about me . Too good to be true.
In a very short time we enjoyed each other compony till we decided to live together. For the first month i noticed the shifting of mood from high to low . In my assessment from the beginning there is something not right but i ignored. One time he admitted to me that his taking certain medication for depression which i figured from the beginning because of mood swings. For the first 3 months together he could become very angry to one minute very sweet and apologizing of his behaviour. His been depressed since he was young. He came from an alcoholic, family. The father is a gambler, womanizer, alcoholics and so parents got divorce when he was 13 years old. For all those years i noticed that i become sad from time to time. Im afraid to confront him when times that he rage on me for what reason i don't even know. He say things, pointing fingers on my face , slamming doors and throwing things. Thought is just some kind of side effects from different medication his taking so i decided to help him out instead of aggravate him. On and on and on for many years he behave the same. He will say something when he doesn't get his way that he actually not attracted to me then after that apologizing and he would say he loves me that he would never be where his at if not because of me.
I continue to just calm down and support him and i didn't know that I'm abused this way verbally, emotionally and psychologically.after the separation he still try to control me , still want to plan for my life and choose a lawyer for me to work on my legal matters. I became so depressed couldn't go back to work after separation for almost 2 years. He accused me of being greedy , manipulative and so on but i just realized that that wasn't me but actually describing himself.He also has a narcissistic traits big time. By the way i am a registered nurse specializing Nephrology and he is a doctor in internal medicine. I help him pretty much in acquiring his medical licence here for 8 long years and . He planned to leave me after he got his licence because i became useless of him. Thats one of the narcissistic traits. Im in the process of starting a court application and one of this day will be seeing in court. Im glad to find this blog its very helpful..