Verbal abuse (also known as reviling) is described as a negative defining statement told to the person or about the person or by withholding any response thus defining the target as non-existent. If the abuser doesn’t immediately apologize and indulge in a defining statement, the relationship may be a verbally abusive one. In schools a young person may indulge in verbal abuse — bullying (which often has a physical component) to gain status as superior to the person targeted and to bond with others against the target. Generally the bully knows no other way to connect emotionally, i.e. , be bonded with others. In couple relationships the verbal abuser responds to the partner’s “separateness,” i. e. , independent thoughts, views, desires, feelings, expressions (even of happiness) as an irritant or even an attack. While some people believe the abuser has low self-esteem and so attempts to place their victim in a similar position, i. e. , to believe negative things about himself or herself this is not usually the case in couple relationships. A man may, for example, disparage a woman partner simply because she has qualities that were disparaged in him, i.e. , emotional intelligence, warmth, receptivity and so forth. A person of any gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, age, or size may experience verbal abuse. Typically, in couple or family relationships verbal abuse increases in intensity and frequency over time. After exposure to verbal abuse, victims may fall into clinical depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. The person targeted by verbal abuse over time may succumb to any stress related illness. Verbal abuse creates emotional pain and mental anguish in its target.
Despite being the most common form of abuse, verbal abuse is generally not taken as seriously as other types, because there is no visible proof and the abuser may have a “perfect” persona around others. In reality, however, verbal abuse can be more detrimental to a person’s health than physical abuse. If a person is verbally abused from childhood on, he or she may develop psychological disorders that plague them into and through adulthood. Verbal abuse includes the following: countering withholding discounting abuse disguised as a joke blocking and diverting
accusing and blaming judging and criticizing trivializing undermining threatening name calling chronic forgetting ordering denial of anger or abuse abusive anger Verbal abuse creates emotional pain and mental anguish. It is a lie told to you or about you. Generally, verbal abuse defines people telling them what they are, what they think, their motives, and so forth. The best way to deal with a verbally abusive relationship, whether you are the target of verbal abuse or the perpetrator, is to find out everything you can about verbally abusive relationships and their dynamics.
Usually one person is blaming, accusing, even name calling, and the other is defending and explaining. Most people targeted by verbal abuse explain why what they’ve just heard is not true or not okay. They explain themselves because they believe the perpetrator is rational and can hear them and the relationship will then get better. Then they usually hear more verbal abuse, for instance, “You’re too sensitive. ” At that point they don’t usually realize that they have just been defined, and, therefore, verbally abused again.
Since the target of verbal abuse is often blamed, ignored, or yelled at, s/he may have difficulty recognizing just what is going on in the relationship. What is Emotional/Verbal Abuse? Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking. There are many behaviors that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse: Calling you names and putting you down. Yelling and screaming at you. Intentionally embarrassing you in public.
Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family. Telling you what to do and wear. Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate or humiliate you. Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior. Stalking you. Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them. Threatening to harm you, your pet or people you care about. Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity. Threatening to expose your secrets such as your sexual orientation or immigration status. Starting rumors about you.
Threatening to have your children taken away. Is Emotional Abuse Really Abuse? A relationship can be unhealthy or abusive even without physical violence. Verbal abuse may not cause physical damage, but it does cause emotional pain and scarring. It can also lead to physical violence if the relationship continues on the unhealthy path its on. Sometimes verbal abuse is so bad that you actually start believing what your partner says. You begin to think you’re stupid, ugly or fat. You agree that nobody else would ever want to be in a relationship with you.
Constantly being criticized and told you aren’t good enough causes you to lose confidence and lowers your self esteem. As a result, you may start to blame yourself for your partner’s abusive behavior. Remember — emotional abuse is never your fault. In fact, your partner may just be trying to control or manipulate you into staying in the relationship. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher, about the situation and make a safety plan. You can also chat with a peer advocate for more help when dealing with verbal abuse.