How to Walk Away From Verbal Abuse

March 10, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Walking away from verbal abuse temporarily helps ease the trauma of the abuse. Unfortunately, the abuser doesn't like it when you do not stand there and listen to the abusive rant, so walking away can seem like the absolutely worst option at the time of attack, yet walking away from verbal abuse is probably the best option, every time.

Before You Walk Away from Verbal Abuse, Prepare Yourself

Prerequisite to this experiment:

Make an extra house and car key. Always have them in your pocket or in a hidden space where you can subtly grab them. (As a commenter pointed out, you may not want to wear them around your neck as the chain could be used against you.)

Keep your purse by the door that is closest to where you park your car. If you do not have a car, place your purse by the door that most quickly gets you into view of your neighbors so you can walk to someone's house. If you don't have a car or neighbors, then keep your cell phone on you at all times and either "walk away" by going outside or by going into a room with a working window and locking the door. (Don't go to the bathroom or garage or any room that has usable weapons or multiple hard surfaces. Right now, the attack is verbal, but it could escalate to physical violence and you don't want to make hurting you easy for your abuser.)

Have your notebook in the place you plan to escape to. If you're going to a friend's, store it there. If you're going to your car, keep it hidden there. If you're escaping to your bedroom, ...

NOTE: You know your abuser. If you fear physical attack by trying the following tips, then you are in a very serious position. Carefully consider your own safety action plan. The Army has a good one; find a modified version of their safety plan at Verbal Abuse Journals.

The key to remembering to leave the fighting arena is pre-planning. You can somewhat figure out when an attack is going to occur if you read the signs in your abuser's behavior. Being able to do that will take a bit of observation, willing detachment, and note-taking.

Now It's Time to Walk Away from Verbal Abuse

1. Observe Your Body's Warning Signs

Pay attention to your body's anxiety signals as a forewarning. When you feel your heart beating and you're trying to pretend like everything is normal, that is your first sign that an attack is imminent. Make a mental note of the time, and remind yourself to look at the time again when your abuser begins the abuse session. (Make sure you write how long it took from "symptoms felt to abuse" in your notebook later.) Ultimately, the goal is to find something else to do in a different location when the symptoms begin, but you'll want to prove to yourself that you can predict the violence because you've probably been told that you can't trust yourself.

When your abuser begins the attack, what is their facial expression? What are they doing with their hands? Do they call to you to go to them, come to you, or just start making a fuss to which you respond in hopes of calming before it gets too bad? Write down as much information as you can about his behaviors and expressions. When you've seen enough, it is time to walk away.

You can simply walk away without saying anything, or you can state one of your boundaries that the abuser has busted through. Say it once, calmly, then begin initiating your escape plan.

Notice that no where in the observation portion do you listen to the nonsense.

2. Willing Detachment

At this point you may be calm or you may be crying. You may be feeling all sorts of things because even though you "weren't listening" you did hear. (How can we not?) Now is not the time to feel these emotions. You can feel them in a few minutes when you're at a safer place.

Note: If your escape place is your bedroom (with a working window and a lockable door), have an mp3 player or something in there to help you refocus from the abuser who may stand outside your door to continue his rant.

3. Note-Taking

When you are in your safe place, pull out your notebook and start writing down the facts. Recalling the facts will help you to further detach. Although writing them down may not make you feel better immediately, after doing it you will likely feel differently about what was said to you and how he acted. Over time, you will see that the "spontaneous" attacks seem more like "controlled terrorism" in which your abuser picks the time and place. What the abuser does is no accident, what s/he says is predictable, and the accusations s/he lays on you are nonsense.

When I was married, I was naively in denial that my husband would physically attack me (again). I would pull out my notebook and start writing in it during an attack in front of him. I don't recommend doing that. Your notebook should be sacred and private. If you've never hidden anything before, now is the time to get creative.

Your notebook serves two empowering purposes. One, it helps you to detach from the pain of a verbal assault soon after experiencing it. Two, it provides you a record of "what happened" no matter how long it is between attacks. There is a tendency to "think we're crazy" and deny to ourselves the hurtful instances we've experienced with our abusers. Your notebook will not allow you to fall prey to your own mind.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, March 10). How to Walk Away From Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

September, 21 2021 at 7:21 pm

If stonewalling, silent treatment and withholding affection are all forms of abuse, how do you know when "walking away" from verbal abuse is healthy or not? I'm tired of being accused of stonewalling or withholding when I refuse to stand there and listen to verbal abuse. Why is no one talking about the distinction?

October, 14 2022 at 4:56 am

Yes. I have the same problem. I at first try calmly talk but get yelled over saying "oh so it's my fault now" and then come the names and cursing. I tried yelling back after having him about an inch from my face and screaming at the top of his lungs. That made it a lot worse. Now I just don't talk and I get called autistic and abusive and accused of trying to make him more mad. There's no winning.

May, 5 2020 at 2:59 am

Hi there,
How do I know for sure my husband is abusive?
Yes, he has called me a bitch a few times, he confronts me in front of the children, he tells me all the things he doesn't like about me or my attitude when he has been drinking and yes, sometimes, and more frequently now, I feel scared, especially when he drinks too much.
This morning he told me I make him angry. He is an angry man, and I have to be careful what I say sometimes around him. I have to watch his mood. If I mention his anger he gets angrier. He knows that I won't answer back or get into an argument in front of the children so that is when he is most confrontational. But he is not like that all the time. He has days when he is just like when we first met, kind and generous. But alcohol brings the worse out of him. It never used to be like that but as I don't drink (I decided to stop drinking even a glass of wine thinking he might follow but that didn't work) I seem to notice his anger more.
Is all that abuse or is it a normal husband and wife relationship, I don't know anymore? All I know is that my heart is racing when I feel he is going to start having a go at me for something. I have recently taken up Reiki so that I can 'protect' myself from his bad vibes when he is in a mood.
I would walk away and leave in a heartbeat if the children were much older and if I had my own revenue. I have been finding peace in the thought that when my youngest is off at university I will leave but that is another 4 years away. I know it sounds terrible but I keep thinking maybe the man I married will come back.
I am well aware that by staying it is not healthy for the children either but I try my best to make sure they don't witness his verbal abuse towards me.
Reading back all this make him sound terrible and he is not like that every day. There is also a history of alcoholism in his family and everyone in his family is in denial about it. When I asked him why he drank so much all by himself he used to tell me it was because of me now he tells me because he likes it. I'm scared of the example he is setting the children.
The thing is that everybody who knows him thinks he is charming and funny and generous so I question myself sometimes, maybe it is me after all...

July, 19 2021 at 11:46 am

What you wrote is my situation to an EXACT T!!!! I mean down to even the Reiki! I also do it to protect myself and get myself out of the funk after his verbal attacks. If you ever would like to talk, let me know. Maybe we could be sounding boards for each other. Sending long distance Reiki to you today ✨🙌✨❤️

Amos Lee
September, 12 2021 at 12:37 am

Oh Mel, I feel for you, and I know this pain, confusion, and love well. The best thing I would recommend to you is to attend a few local al-Anon meetings, see if they’re for you. They have different types like for religious or for just daily group share. During covid the al-anon and AA groups were forcing into virtual so there are a lot of options out there for you. Just make sure you locate a meeting through an official local chapter. Best of luck to you!! Also the author, Melody Beattie, read her books and smartphone app on codependency. Be well and take care of you!

March, 18 2019 at 6:52 pm

No one would believe me that my husband is so mean to me at home. He is the perfect husband, praising me to all then at home telling me I am an idiot, dumb, complaining that the house is a mess (not really), saying he's and others we know are smarter and better than me. He said I am a disappointment, and regrets marrying me. He said others know I am not smart.
6 months after we were married, he said to me that he feels like my love for him is a convenient love, basically love him for what I can get out of him. He asked me "what are you good for?"
In the beginning I was too hurt to do much except try to explain defend myself and cry. And the name calling got worse, then the shoving.
Today he punched me in the arm but he said it was because I was moving sideways that he hit my arm and I was. Then he pushed me backward by walking forward and bumping me with his chest.
Then about a year or two ago, I called him a name (one that he used with me), and now when we argue it's insults going back and forth. I am not proud of myself and I didn't swear like that before- but he says claims that it was always there inside of me, to behave that way, and has nothing to do with his constant put downs or insults towards me.
I dont believe in divorce.... everyone loves him, think he's patient, kind smart, great, etc..... no one would believe me.
I would be so ashamed. Everyone would believe that him, that I am dumb, lazy, messy, etc..... cause he has a way of talking that easily manipulates people.
He is so careful not to let the mask slip in public.
Once he was angry at me and I was in a hallway while he was washing his hands speaking at me with an angry face, then someone walks by instantly he is smiling talking normally, then the pass on and he is again angry faced and terse with me .
I don't know what to do. He says I accomplished nothing in my life and he is right. No degrees, no savings nothing
I am stuck.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 7 2020 at 5:13 pm

I could have written this x

June, 8 2019 at 5:40 pm

Boy! Every one of these women’s stories resonates with me. I have been married for 30 years and I can’t remember any good times we ever had because all the bad supersede any that might have been. There were red flags before we married. He once shoved me so hard I went flying across a gravel driveway. Another time we were in his truck and I sneezed too loud I guess and he slapped me in the face so hard I was too shocked to even cry. He said i sneeze to get attention. I have chronic sinus problems and allergies. I get called stupid, low IQ everyday. Among many other names. I can’t ever do anything right. He reminds me of a whiny spoiled petulant child at times. I’m the owner of a very successful business for which I am the sole bread winner now. He quit his job he says because he worked long enough and got tired living out of a suitcase. He says he used to be the sole provider but I have always worked outside the home full time. I know this much, that people who verbally and physically abuse others are really the ones who lack self esteem and by putting others down it somehow elevates them. I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’m not happy and I feel and have gone through what every woman here has.
I hope all of us or some of us will eventually find true happiness.

November, 22 2020 at 7:19 am

Your story hots so close to home. I have been with my husband 20 years, in which time I have been called every name in the book, he has told me im worthless, retarded, a whore you name it he has said it. I have been told thay once I make as much as he does I will be his equal, lol.
Why do I take it,? I work two jobs and take classes online trying to get me teaching degree. I get no credit for that, I just get yelled at that I have never worked and hes tired of taking care of me, im only here because I can't make it on my own. He disappeared yesterday, yes I know where he went, but he didn't say walked out the door at 11:30 am and still hasn't been back. Yet he asked me if we are still having Thanksgiving, what? I find that I hate myself, I hate myself for staying, for listening to the bs that he was mad when he says those things and I shouldn't take it to heart, everybody says shit when they are mad. I must admit when he calls me names and belittles me it fills me with so much anger I fight back with my own hurtful words. I used to cry, I used to hide away in my room. I still cry, just not in front of him, he doesn't get to see that anymore. I feel so lost at times, lost to the person I was before. I just want to be happy, and I really don't know how to do that anymore.

December, 29 2022 at 3:58 am

I’m in the same place as you dear, and just like the others I feel like I could’ve written the exact same… it’s making me wonder how these men say nearly the exact same things same responses and do nearly the same things… what in the world is behind their actions and mentality…

May, 3 2018 at 12:22 pm

I have endured verbal and sometimes physical abuse for 7 years now. With 2 small children it is difficult to decide what to do. Especially since I stay home with the kids. I have been able to keep my head up this entire time and heal myself but the recent episode left me feeling like the walking dead. The most horrible things were screamed at me for over two hours that left me numb with a panic attack. The next day I had to pretend everything was just fine because we had company and a couple events planned. It's hard to cover the puffy eyelids and splotchy face with makeup and pretend I'm not finally broken... Anyway, verbal abuse tends to hurt more than physical abuse. My abuser made sure to isolate me first so beware of people who do not like your friends and family. The abuse hurts more without a support group. I wish others luck in finding help in situations like this. I wish that I had left before I became more stuck. Maybe one day I will call a counselor. I don't know why my fingers freeze everytime I decide to schedule counseling. I keep telling myself that I'm not worth it and would waste everyone's time. This mindset definitely wasn't mine 7 years ago. Verbal abuse has the ability to kill your soul. Beware.

August, 30 2016 at 2:01 pm

i am 66 yrs old. i have lived with a man that drinks a case of beer every day. he has physically abused me i had him arrested. now he verbally abuses me i can do nothing right in his eyes. Three yrs. ago he divorced me when he found out he was getting his moms house when she died. i pay for half of all household bills. I live on disability due to a back injury. I want to leave but cant afford to live on my own. He knows that and makes my life hell. I have to stand up when he is home knowing it hurts my back. I no longer love him I feel so damn trapped.

I feel your pain
June, 25 2016 at 8:00 pm

I'm so impressed by the strength of the women writing on this blog. Both survivors and future survivors. Thanks a million for sharing your stories. Don't beat yourself up if you haven't left yet. You are strong. You are surviving each day and you will get out when the time is right. Pray for guidance. I have been in an abusive situation for 23 years. I had no idea what was wrong until 12 years ago when my sister talked to a friend of hers (a marriage therapist) about me and her friend told her "your sister is being verbally and emotionally abused." I had been physically abused too but was too shocked and ashamed to tell anyone. I had four young children at the time. I've been getting my own counseling for years now and my husband has come to counseling too but stil refuses to admit he's abusive. I can't believe the things I've been told about myself over the years by the man who is supposed to love and care for me more than anyone else. It crushes your whole soul. Counseling is happening again but still so painful to listen to him rant about me and make things up. I am trapped by the 75% of the time that he is good and fun and the fact that I know he will use my mistakes and eating disorder (I'm recovered now) against me. Also that I love him and I see his potential for good. I literally can't be mean to him. I can't say no. I can't leave or ask him to leave. Thinking about hurting him makes me sick. Yet he doesn't seem to mind when I'm hurting at all. In fact he blames me for talking to my friends about our marriage problem and says he can't trust me. That I'm not loyal to him. It's the most confusing thing ever and makes you feel crazy but I know it's him. But it makes you question everything. I used to want him dead. Now I want to die. I can't leave. I can't do this for another 23 years. He will be nice and wonderful for months but then out of the blue he will rip my heart out. I try to protect it but then feel bad for being a jerk and being aloof from him. I try to forgive him and fix my flaws but he still finds something to get mad about or tells me that I don't love him. That makes me insane. If he only knew how much I've suffered for him. My kids are older now and some want me to leave. They don't know how I lasted so long. I don't either. I won't hurt myself because I've already lost someone to suicide and will never do that to my loved ones but I do wish that god would just give me a fast acting disease so I can just be an angel in heaven and watch over my children. Sounds peaceful.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 31 2017 at 3:08 pm

This sounds a lot like my marriage of 20 years. I honestly thought that I wrote it, that’s how similar it is

June, 6 2016 at 7:21 am

I can't live anymore with his verbal abuse. Its worse than getting raped every day. I am threatened nonstop by him. I am garbage in His eyes. I want a divorce, but he says he has no money...I am physically beautiful, but physically sick due to a surgery.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
June, 7 2016 at 4:09 am

Abusers lie. Even if he has no money, divorce is still possible. Poor people divorce as often as wealthy people.

April, 19 2016 at 4:15 pm

Wow after having yet another verbally abusive episode with my partner of eleven years this woke me right up....I found another post I had written on this site two years ago....nothing's changed at all in fact I feel more helpless hopeless and stuck. Best part is I've managed to put an apartment together and refuse to comity to his oh move in with me and be a family will get married

March, 9 2016 at 7:26 am

Hi. Me and my husband have been together for 6 years, married 3.
He say the most foul things to me when he's mad over little things are accusing me of something like sleeping around. He says things like "i hope you catch something and die, or you disgust me looking like shit you stupid hoe, all you gonna ever be is a hoe thats all you good for" mind you i have not stepped out on my marriage, he has. i never ever talk to like crap. at first i thought this isnt half as bad as it could be until i started standing up for myself which lead us to actually fighting because he wants me to stand there and listen to him degrade me until i have nothing left of my self esteem. we have 3 little ones, 3 yr old twins and a 7 month old baby. he is the sole provider as far as income. i have no where else to go and im a stay at home. i tried to leave before which he guilt me into coming back for the kids. i want a divorce but i feel like i cant do anyting without a job. he wont let me us the car or anything bc he pays the bill but both our names are on it. i dont know what to do. i feel supper stuck and its depressing going through this. any advice would be appreciated.

December, 30 2015 at 2:53 pm

Hello. Christine I am in the same situation as you. I don't know what to do. I am from other country and I don't have money for buy my tickets. I am trying to get a job and see if I can go home. First he doesn't want I work now the he is having economic troubles he wants I get a Job I am looking but so far nothing yet. Now he call me useless all the time :(

November, 22 2015 at 6:44 pm

How do you leave an abusive relationship?
You walk out the door.
Having a safety plan is smart if you have time to gather important papers, photos, medications. Leave when he is not home. I left one day and left everything I own. I changed my phone number that night. Blocked him and all his family and our former mutual friends on FB. I told trusted family & friends to not respond if he contacted them.
I was verbally, emotionally and physically abused by him. He followed ALL patterns Kellie talks about here. There was the tension phase (my heart would race) I walked on eggshells to 'avoid causing him' to rage/blowup/yell. I know now that I had absolutely no control over his actions. I did not cause him to do anything although he had me believing I did.
Tension phase was followed by the actual abuse, blowup, verbal or physical. From standing directly over me yelling with his hand an inch away from my face, to the time he threw me on the floor and choked me. He got to the phone first after hearing me say something about calling the police and I was arrested. He used that over my head in multiple ways to keep control. It also kept me afraid to ever involve law enforcement again. He had a rug burn from tackling me, my state must arrest one party on a DV call and he had the visible injury. A rug burn. I'm an older woman and have never been assaulted--ever. He was unable emotionally to talk about our relationship like a mature adult. He'd say, "Oh stop your psychobabble". He'd make up things I supposedly said in my sleep and punish me for weeks saying it was an ex's name. He was insanely jealous & in rages call me a whore and say I sold myself. He used my family as a weapon, telling me he was threatened by them. What he was threatened by was my attention and natural love for my family, he was outright jealous of my son and our relationship. He worked very hard to tear it down.
Then the Honeymoon stage where he'd rarely attempt a feeble apology. He never apologized for assaulting me, it was my fault, I had made him angry, I had purposely done whatever it was to set him off. His honeymoon stages became fewer & weaker, the time in between that stage and the cycle back to the Tension phase was shorter each
Time. Pretty soon it was all tension. My heart used to race and my head was cloudy. I doubted myself.
One day after a blowup so loud in our quiet neighborhood, I knew that was it. I was recovering from surgery and physically was unable
To leave when I wanted to. I'd been ignoring my gut; my women's intuition. It was screaming!! I educated myself on abuse. I read Kellies site and saw myself. I knew my gut was right.
I called the National Domestic Violence Hotline and that gave me the power I needed to leave. You can call them as much as you want and they listen, no judgement. He had recently bought a gun without consulting me under the guise of protecting his home and his belongings from my own son. When the hotline heard hed physically abused me along with verbal/emotional Abuse and had brought a gun into the home, they suggested highly that I leave.
I woke up one day and knew this is the day. I was terrified he'd come home while I was putting a few clothes into my car. The night before he'd almost lost it because he spilled a bag of chips. His face was so red I thought he and his veins were going to explode. At that point I sat back and amidst the palpitations I Marveled inside at what a sick person he truly was.
I'd left probably 6 times in our 2 1/2 years together. I have severe spinal issues and it was very hard to sleep on friends/families couches. I always got tired and missed my own home, my own bed. Why did I always have to leave? I had to because I was keeping myself safe even without knowing it at the time--I couldn't stay in that environment being screamed at, accused of things I didn't do, told to Get Out Get Out. If I stayed he'd follow me around the house yelling, then he would withdraw affection not talking to me for days at a time. He'd post passive aggressive things on FB. "Did you ever mistake a life lesson for a soulmate?" Was one of them.
The day I drove away I thought I was going to pass out. I went to a trusted friends house. I was emotionally exhausted. Living under a constant state of adrenaline, ready to fight or take flight is exhausting. The next day-- after changing my number, my address and got a PO box, I filed a restraining order. I continued to call the hotline who connected me with shelters. Most were full but God told me I have a place for you. And did He ever. I've been surrounded by the strongest, most supportive women (and a few select men) who truly understand. This is not a step back, it's been a step towards a new life--and a life without him. I'm getting healthy. I can think clearly again, make good solid life decisions and trust myself again.
It's never too late to change your life. There are organizations that want to help. I encourage you call the national hotline and start there.
Leaving is scary. It's striking out away from everything familiar. My abuser had me believing I couldn't make it without him even though he was a tightwad. He'd buy food that I was expected to cook but use that in a way that he'd twist my thinking I wouldn't eat without him.
I've had 2 major surgeries in 7 months, one of them cancer surgery and treatment. I was worn down and needed help. Whenever I was down, he'd abuse me verbally/emotionally. To the outside he'd look like the savior. But they don't know what is saved for the times we'd be alone. He did like to make sure neighbors heard his tirades, part of the humiliation he loved to dole out to me.
I'm FREE!! I'm OUT!! I'm calm, confident and self-assured. I trust myself again. I love myself. Therapy is part of the shelter support system and I'd recommend that to all abuse survivors. I have PTSD from his abuse. A door slam shakes me up. But it's not him slamming it so I'm okay.
Thank you Kellie for allowing open communication about this hard subject!! It means the world to me to read your words and know that--IT WASNT MY FAULT!!!!!

November, 2 2015 at 5:32 pm

I'm in a horrible verbal abusive relationship. I know I need to get out because I am an amazing person. I have no vehicle, no job, no friends or relatives that I can go to. I am trapped!!! I hate it and I want out!!!

October, 26 2015 at 5:04 pm

I have been in my relationship for 5 years. I have a child from a previous relationship and a child with current boyfriend. We dated long distance for a year then I moved 3 hours away from my home to be with him.
As soon as I moved in with him, his true colors came out. He would tell me i live like a pig if o didn't keep the house to his standards. He would often drive to our home town without me just to get away from me. At this time I didn't know anyone in my new community. All my friends and family werw back home.
Now, 5 years later, I tells me I'm a bitch almost every week. Selfish bitch is his favorite line to use. It only occurs when I disagree witg him. He blames me for every thing. Tells me I need to work harder and to stop asking him to help me. ( I work 40 plus hours a week a still have 2 kids to care for).
My biggest issue is that I have very few friends
here. He reminds me of that often. Tells me i
have mental problems and if I ever plan on leaving him, he will take our child from me.
Says he has the resources to prove to a Judge that I am abusive and mentally unstable. He
has drained my soul. He has started to criticize the way we have sex. He says that HE should be all I need to climax. I shouldn't have to help myself. All of my brain tells me child custody is just a threat, but it still scares me enough to stay. I wish daily that he would die.
He make 3 times the amount of money I make. He tells me if I leave him, ill regret it. Tells me I can move back in with "mommy and daddy" (that's how he likes to put it). I never have money left over at the end of the month. He makes me split the bills right down the middle. Tonight he informed me that he is going to lease a vehicle so he can get better gas mileage to work AND keep his current truck. I told him I didn't think it was fair for him to have an extra couple of hundred a month and for me to not even have enough to by pants for work. That was a mistake. SELFISH BITCH! Always thinking about myself. "If you want more, you need to work harder, stop asking me to buy shit for you. You don't deserve shit"
How do I get out? I have 8 dollars in my account and can't save anything because it all goes to bills.

September, 29 2015 at 5:07 pm

Wow! So many brave amazing women out there!
I'm glad to say I'm one of them. I left. I walked away. From everything and everyone else pretty much. Moved out of state. I had a new four bedroom house with all new everything. All the clothes and shoes I ever wanted. But I was living a nightmare and didn't know it. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and realized that you were having a nightmare about something and you didn't know right away if it's real or not? That's what leaving this situation feels like.
Oh but wait you say to yourself -this isn't the right time! I need to wait for (enter multiple excuses here). And yes using your kids as a reason is STILL an excuse I'm sorry. I know because I did it!!! And don't even think about the money excuse. I have enough to get by on and trust me it's all you're going to need. Peace is priceless! And healing feels good. But believe me on this: You absolutely can NOT heal UNTIL you leave.
Listen to yourself. That voice in your head. Don't listen to your friends and family that tell you what a great guy he is. What the H#$/ do they know? Nothing! And don't you know it :). Ask for help? Sure. Take cash or checks and only listen to people who have been where you are. Been through what you're going through. Yes it's hard. But if I can do it SO CAN YOU. Yes you can. Stop thinking about him and what he is doing /not doing. What do you want? Are you afraid to be alone? Don't be. There are so many good shows on now (lol ) You will heal and then you'll be you again. If you are afraid buy a gun and a dog. The dog will be your new best friend and will listen to you. A gun just helps me sleep better at night. Follow the laws of your state please. I have no intention of ever using a weapon but if I have to I will. Not that he has a clue where I am. He's remarried with a new baby and I don't even care!!! I never thought I would feel like this. They have a way of hooking you and keeping you all tangled up in the net.
So yes! Walk away sugar! Just don't let him in on it. It's your secret. Study and learn how to leave the right way. Read these blogs and others. And if you're living in a nightmare you can wake up and know that you are safe. Every. Single. Day.
Things don't matter. People matter. You matter.
Set a date and stick to it and make a promise to yourself and your kids, pets, anyone who cares about you that you are never going back. Because he will never ever ever change. As in never ever-no chance -nope not in this lifetime. He will only lie to you and you'll lose faith in yourself.
Be brave. Be strong. And you'll be free.
He's broken. You can't fix him. No one can. Of course if it's a girl you're thinking about leaving -sorry -no fixing her either. This is your life! Yours! Do what you need to do for you! Best of luck! :))
Now go write down your plan to leave.
Because it's the right thing to do.
And you know it or you wouldn't be here reading this.
I'm ok! And you will be too.
Yes you will.

September, 28 2015 at 5:18 am

He controls everything. Everything! I cannot walk away during his attacks. I will be punished if I so much as look away (apparently I'm always rolling my eyes at him in ) or sigh (very disrespectful). My attitude must be very pleasing and agreeable. I cannot disagree or I will get up to 6 hours of abusive dissertations that I must listen to.
He is a true narcissist and he frightens me. I walk on eggshells every day.
I work 10-12 hours then come home to him and work at home until sometimes 1-2:30am.
He knows I'm exhausted yet purposely uses sleep deprivation as one of his tools with a smile on his face.
He used to fight MMA and was at one point a body builder and his size and strength are way beyond 95% of other men. As you can imaging he's extremely intimidating.
He used to beat me on the back side regularly with a belt until I'd lose my bladder screaming in pain. He slaps my face and or grabs my throat.
He has lately decreased the physical corrections and has increased his verbal abuse and now threatens violence if I anger him.
I have never known hate until I met him. I never knew regret until I met him.
I am done beyond done. I am planning my escape and will have to put up with him for a while longer. Nothing can change my mind now. I must trust in the journey.

July, 14 2015 at 6:53 pm

I did not know my husband very well before we got married. There were prophecies that I was to marry this evangelist. A week after we were married, I realized he was a black out alcoholic. I refused to live with him while he was actively drinking. He stopped drinking about 18 months ago. At first i thought the outbursts were from untreated alcoholism, but I now realize he displays premeditated abusive behavior. I have several chronic painful diseases that can leave me immobile. It is then he chooses to rage and verbally batter for hours. If I put earbuds on he will get right in my face and yell louder and starts throwing things. He knows if he tries this on the phone i will hang up or if I am well enough I will leave. I am not easily able to move out, I am trying to build up my business, so financially I can qualify for my own apartment and divorce him. The nature of my illness, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, chronic fatigue, etc, does not allow me to pursue fulltime employment. We are moving to a less expensive, smaller town where I plan to attend an active church about a mile away for support. I feel somewhat stupid to get myself involved in another abusive relationship. I was involved in one before, had several years of counseling and ended that relationship. I now recognize the signs, I deserve to be treated with respect and am working on an exit plan.
I need ideas of how to detach from him when I have acute flareups. I can only think of trying to not let him know I am acute, but sometimes I am doubled over in pain or have muscle cramps so bad, I can't walk. I do not engage, I do not explain. Trying to switch the channel, or using the broken record technique are ineffective. It is important that I detach as early as possible, as after about an hour of his crazy making, blaming and accusations my PTSD from my earlier relationship gets activated and I start to shake uncontrollably. Any ideas? Thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 27 2015 at 8:53 am

As part of your safety plan, you could ask a friend to let you come over when needed. Try to get over there at the first signs of a flare-up. If you can't get there on your own, have a code phrase that you can say into the phone quickly. Something like, "It's that time."
Detaching when he's in your face is almost impossible. Getting the heck away from him physically is easier than getting away mentally. It sounds like you're at the point where you need to go.

July, 10 2015 at 3:49 am

I just realized that my husband may be verbally abusive. I don't know why I never realized it before. It is so hard for me to accept because I love him so much and i feel like our relationship is good 75% of the time. But then he gets moody and takes it out on me and sometimes our kids. Sometimes it is jusy by treating me like I'm stupid, or actually calling me stupid and telling me it is my fault that he acts this way. The worst part is when he ignores me. I try to reach out to him and tell him how I feel but he will shut me down. After a few days he will just act like nothing happened, and sometimes apologize. I feel like I am overreacting because I know I am not perfect and I get stressed and make mistakes, but I know I deserve to be treated with respect. I always stick up for myself and tell him to stop. I remove myself from the situation, i tell him it is not okay. But after a day or two i feel better and I forgive him. He is an amazing person in so many ways. Recently he agreed to get marriage counseling. Is it possible for us to work things out of he is willing to work on it or is my marriage a lost cause. I love him and don't want to leave him but I dont want to go on feeling all alone whenever something goes wrong! PLEASE HELP i really need advice!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 10 2015 at 6:12 am

No one can see the future, so I don't know if marriage counseling will help in your case. If you go to marriage counseling, let the therapist know right away that you're there because of the verbal and emotional abuse. Don't let your husband hijack the session with a symptom of the problem. For example, during a first visit for marriage counseling, my ex complained about the cats. Really? We were there because he abused me. But I didn't speak up until the next session.
However, IMO, you need individual counseling too. You need someone who can help you keep your head clear, and a therapist you see by yourself is YOUR advocate. Someone who can help you pay attention to what he does instead of what he says.
I do not recommend seeing the same counselor for both individual and marital counseling. I've heard too many people complain that what was talked about in their individual counseling session came out in the marital counseling.
If your husband backs out of counseling, that is a sure sign you should go anyway.

just woke up
July, 4 2015 at 1:55 pm

i have just woke up these past few days and realised I am at the hands of a verbal abuser. While reading posts here I can equal all of them. I'm at my total wits end and cannot take this anxiety any longer I am still trying to get my head around the fact that I am not to blame but how do I get myself well again! How can I be the strong person I once was?? I really need some help!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 7 2015 at 10:29 am

First, welcome to awareness <3 It feels great to finally know what is happening in your relationship. But then, suddenly there are all the questions. Take a deep breath. You are going to be okay.
Keep educating yourself about domestic violence and abuse. You will come to understand a lot more than you do already.
You can get yourself well again the same way any other person overcomes anxiety and depression. So try some of the suggestions you find online. Living with your abuser as you deal with all of this will make healing tougher. Every day, the abuse pulls you down, so it's hard to get ahead of it. Do good things for you anyway.
Make an appointment with your doctor to check for depression/anxiety.
Start putting a support system in place (call a hotline and reach out for help from local support groups and services, tell your family and friends the truth). And remember, don't trust "his" friends and be cautious about his family - even the best in-laws tend to stick with their blood in cases like this.
Those two things will put you on the right path. Remember to just breathe and let things soak in.

s rodriguez
April, 2 2015 at 11:43 am

Sometimes I think I am the only person in America with such a monster for a husband, but reading this blog makes me realize there are a lot of other women in my shoes. After 29 years of taking this maniac's verbal beatdowns on a regular basis, I have finally starting facing exactly what it is. He is not my husband, he is my assailant. His confrontations are attacks. I have not been merely degraded and diminished, I have been assaulted. This man killed the marriage and taught me to hate. I never knew hate in my entire life. Even throughout most of this marriage, I didn't hate him. But that changed 2 years ago when he decided I no longer existed, and he would only speak to me when he was in the mood for another beatdown. At the beginning of this alienation, I was in shock. I went through all the stages of grief, one by one. In the end was acceptance. I accepted the marriage was dead. And now, instead of always giving him the benefit of the doubt and forgiving his attacks, I have developed a hatred for him - it's the same intensity of hatred I now realize he always had for me. I now realize this marriage was a fraud from day 1. But I stay in it because I know if I leave, he will retaliate in the most vicious way he can think of. My life would probably end. So I stay, and I pray that I will outlive him and I will be able to shout out "free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"

March, 3 2015 at 10:56 am

ive been married for 2 years now and I came into the marriage with a daughter who considers my husband as daddy and he sits there and calls me a cunt right in front of her and I told him that I hate that name because when I was raped by my mothers boyfriend that's what he called me and I told my husband that and he still calls me it. I just don't know what to do anymore im so sick of him treating me like this and doing it infront of my daughter its horrible someone please help I don't what to do anymore

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 7 2015 at 8:18 am

Your daughter is two. She can learn all about a better daddy in the future after you leave this one. Don't stay for her. You have to get the hell out of there for you.
Do you want him to call your daughter a cunt? To sit her on his knee and systematically destroy HER dreams? Right now he's using her to destroy you, but it is only a matter of time before your daughter is his target too.
Call a hotline and find resources in your area that can help you leave.

January, 19 2015 at 8:14 am

I've been dealing with my verbally abusive boyfriend for almost a year. About 2 months into us dating we were out together and he asked me a question and I jokingly replied and he immediately called me a bitch, and told me to get up and that we were leaving and he was taking me home. I told him I wasn't going anywhere with him and that I would take a cab home. He started making a scene so I left with him and because he also had forgot something at my house. So as we walked down the street he was in front of me calling me every name in the book, a loser, a bitch a piece of shit. I did not say a word. I got in the truck and didn't say a word all the way home. We did not speak for a couple of week and then when we did he managed to turn it on me. He has also gotten right in my face on a couple of occasion in public and screamed at me. Every month he fights with me about my pas, calls me names, antagonizes me etc. to the point where we have these huge blowouts and don't speak for days, sometimes a week. Most of the time I go to him. Yesterday he called me the C word because I told him to get off me because he was sitting on me and tickling me and I've had some back problems for a few days and didn't want him to tweak something. He then told me he called me that because I have PMS which I do not. He makes excuses every time. I always go back because when it's good, it's good. He's really sweet and nice. I am at my end today. I didn't do anything to him to have him call me a C yesterday which he called me several times and then I just left. I went to get my stuff this morning that I needed and he told me he didn't care and that he called me that because I was acting like one because I have pms. He again called me the c word again. I physically attacked him after he told me he called me that because I had pms. I have tried and tried and believed him over and over and I am so frustrated. I need to stay away from him but once a week or so goes by I start missing the good him and it's a cycle all over again. I don't want to be treated like this by the person who says he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. It's devastating every time it happens.

January, 18 2015 at 3:07 am

I used to be an independent, happy, outgoing person. But now I feel like I lost myself. My husband has used many many derogatory words to me for 4 years since we started living together on our own. Stupid, weak, lazy are the "regulars". Mostly he gets mad because I have been taking care of our children and have not been bringing in money. I have been working on getting back to my profession but it hasn't been easy (I am an immigrant). At the beginning, I would fight back and talk back to him. But realizing that I can never win, I started to just keep quiet hoping that if I don't talk back, he would not go on longer. For the years that I did not work to take care of my little girl (I have 2 other kids), he would talk down to me saying things like, how can you not find a job?, it's because you are not strong enough/ too weak/ too dependent/ stupid etc... I didn't fight back anymore, took his words like truth, feeling like it really was my fault and that I really was too weak or stupid. Later last year, I do not know how it happened, I came upon a realization that I do not need to take this. Now I want out, but I do not know how especially with my children. Although I have the means, I do not know if it's legal. This page is very empowering and I was crying the whole time I was reading it. I am feeling that the fear that he has instilled in me is slowly melting away and in time, I will be able to just get up and walk away.

September, 8 2014 at 7:23 am

Kellie I read an article of your months ago that helped me take my first steps, the first steps to become a longer a victim. I have been in a physically and verbally abusive marriage for 10 years. I finally had the courage to back my life, my children's lives. It wasn't easy, 30 days into it I still have bad days but I know my worst days alone will never be as bad as the pain, loneliness, self-doubt, anger and regret I lived with for so many years. I feel like I have come out of a fog.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
September, 15 2014 at 3:31 pm

I am so happy for you! Remember to set and keep boundaries, keep notes about his strange or bothersome behaviors, and pay special attention to your personal safety. When we leave or become survivors instead of victims, the abuse increases because of the changes we make in ourselves.
Congratulations, take care of you, and enjoy the life of freedom!

September, 6 2014 at 3:29 pm

My husband just told me I make him sick , I've cried all night I love him, my son heard us crying b3gged us to stop . I'm tired of feeling like a dog and not loved , he is always on phone texting someone never talking to me or our sin, he never plays with our son. What should I do?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
September, 7 2014 at 1:09 pm

Continue educating yourself about abuse and begin talking to domestic violence hotline workers and local programs that can help you with group therapies and support. The title of this blog is Walk Away From Verbal Abuse. Walking away may be exactly what you decide to do in the future. It's what I wish I had done when my children were small.

July, 9 2014 at 10:19 pm

Hi.I'm eighteen years old and I have been dealing with verbal abuse for seven years. My grandmother and her oldest daughter is always saying that I will never make it to the military,or that I need to get a job with my lazy ass,or you are not going to make it in the real world,or you not going to make it to college&you not ready for college.They also try to compare there life to mine.This is what the oldest daughter said:I had a car when I was sixteen.I don't have my drivers license because they are not trying to help me,if money was involved they will be your best friend.I'm going to my aunties house because she is in the army reserves. she is going to help me with my ASVAB and my CNA certification.without her I will be in the same situation.:(

June, 11 2014 at 3:07 pm

I have been separated for eight months now after 38 years of marriage. Its very freeing and my older sons are totally supportive of me. My husbNd has been trying for months with his other self to woo me back. I don't think I mentioned I've done this twice before. I have read every book and hundreds of articles. Gone to therapy and been told by the therapists to keep moving forward. I am intelligent, work in a job I love etch. And yet I struggle when he plays the hurt emotional card. My mind knows he's verbally abused me and emotionally. I need help to get over this hurdle. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.
Thank you for the postings they are very helpful.

June, 7 2014 at 3:09 pm

Thank you for posting this stuff.Well the last time I tried to leave I took my daughter, put down a damage deposit if$1000, then my sister talked me out of it suggesting I would not have my boys on side, that they would not visit. I gave the landlord 6 weeks notice I had changed my mind and have not heard from him since. The only good thing is he's not my landlord anymore. My son sleeps in the kitchen because he does not want to sleep in the garage room
My husband started for him, my husband us mad about this and finds every excuse in the book not to do something to help him settle into something better. He won't let me do anything permanent. I called him on it last night and he ranted at me finishing with the question" do you have Alzheimer's or something?" Today he's mad at me, as if I said the nasty words. ( men - some men (?) creep (s) )
My parents were dedicated to one another

June, 2 2014 at 1:30 pm

My abuser makes a game of throwing me out and taking me back.He has done this dozens of times in our seven years together. I am depressive and each time,I end up nearly hospitalized,but he acts like nothing ever happened. So one time after this over and over, i took him at his word and slept with someone once while we were apart. Now I am easy,slut,whore every day since. I can't visit mymom he says i have guys coming there to get me. He says he will neber trust me I am a liar. It was a one time thing. I don't use my car or leabe my home my mom picks me up. He uses my car daily for work and never fuels it up so i camt

May, 9 2014 at 4:43 am

I have finally had it! I am finally done and ready to leave my verbally abusive husband of 5 going on 6 years. He calls me any and every name he can think of...b%$&@#, hoe, dummy, stupid, he says he wishes he never married me, he talks badly about my family, on and on it goes. When I try to leave the house to get away from him he gets in my way and more than a few times he has locked me in the house, thrown my things around, broken my things, pushed me into glass twice and I still have the scars to show it. One time it even got to a point where I had to jump out the window to get away from him(thank God we lived on the 1st floor)and I got a ride to my parent's house from my friend who lived upstairs and heard the screaming. One time I called the police and left him, but like a love sick fool I listened to his sweet words and came back to him both times. You would think I learned my lesson from the first episode, but I guess I wasn't ready to believe that this man who says he wants me to be the mother of his children could really be that much of a monster. Of course things are nice and loving at first, but then things are back to the same old thing and he is again verbally abusive. After he calms down from his rants he always tries to excuse his behavior and basically blames me for the reason he blows up but tells me he loves me and needs me. Two years ago, I had a miscarriage and since then I have been having fertility problems, so I can't easily get pregnant and of course its my fault. So now when he gets in his rant he threatens that he will have kids with someone else and show them off to me. I don't know why one minute he loves me and the next he says I disgust him. My health...mental and physical is in danger at this point. I've got to get out of here!!!

April, 19 2014 at 7:30 am

Trying to just walk away from ten years with verbally abusive partner, degrades me for existing ignores that I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Yells and screams put downs daily, stupid, lazy, bad mom, dumb lazy bitch on and on and then says he loves me and we need a future plan. He has been in my ten year olds life for seven years and she sees his cruelty at me but he showers her I need the esteem to just walk.

January, 8 2014 at 5:29 am

I want to walk away from my abusive relationship but I cant im scare of him so much. Someone can help me or give me advice how to stop my relationship.I've been trying my own but become hard for me. I have to deal with him callin me a whore ,trash,that im worthless,he regret meeting me,that im a cheater when I really always at my house takin care our son when he always with hes friends.any advice please

September, 9 2013 at 6:30 pm

This battle is not yours.Its the lords.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 20 2022 at 10:55 pm

I am embarassed even to share this with you because i lnow the reality of it. He calls me horrible names in public on my doorstep. When we are together he plays on his phone always distracting his attention. cant look me in the eye or say anything nice.
Never wants to touch me. Walks out comes bk never with a sorry. never calls or siggests time alone.only complains when we are alone its all my fault. i am to blame shows his friends that he can be nice telling them about the dinners we had. To him when i feel ugly he finds that beautiful. I am a beautiful woman always took care and presented myself well now i walk around scraggy but he says that is beautiful. only happy when his with the guys and finds it a torture to be alone at home and ignores me all the time.I cant connect if itry to communicate he diverts my attention to hate contributing negative flaws unnecessary to the cause. He says he hurts me cos i need to learn. as he drives off and leaves me all alone

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