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Verbal Abuse Turns Love Into a Tool of Abuse

July 7, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Verbal abuse warps love, turning it into tool the abuser uses to make the victim believe he or she is loved. When love only flows one way, can it be true love?Verbal abuse is used to diminish the victim's power. It is used to paralyze the mind and maim the heart, leaving the victim to feel so small and worthless that they become dependent on only the abuser. Only the abuser's opinion matters because s/he holds the key to the victim's happiness and pain. Pleasing the abuser (avoiding pain) is priority number one.

But abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum. The victim must feel as if they're doing more than avoiding pain to stay in and make sense of the abusive relationship. The victim must feel a higher purpose is at work to rationalize his or her participation in a relationship that causes them fear and sadness.

Verbal Abuse Turns Love Into a Ruse

Love excuses sins, doesn't it? If you really love someone, you love them no matter what they do to you or anyone else.

Perhaps victims feel they must love their abuser (father, wife, sibling) or feel forced to love them (step-parent or step-sibling) by someone or some situation they do care about.

Love is misused and backwardly defined in abusive relationships. Abusers know their victim loves them, so it is unlikely that the victim will abandon them. Love ensures that the abuser won't lose their punching bag, so the abuser tosses the word 'love' about as if it were important, as if the abuser understands what it means to love another person.

Alas, abusers only love themselves. Why else would they tolerate the look of pain on their victim's (loved one's) face in order to win an argument or secure themselves a position of power?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . ."

The abuser expects the victim to exhibit that type of biblical love. On that point, abuser and victim agree. The victim expects it of herself, too. But she does not expect it of the abuser...at least not today. She expects it to appear in the abuser tomorrow.

Verbal Abuse Forces Love to be Illusion

Whenever a person feels forced to love someone (parent-child relationship or promise such as marriage), the person will fabricate a reason to feel love rather than deny its existence. Love is a beautiful feeling when it is true. I don't know of one person who doesn't want to feel love. Even the possibility of creating love causes us to endure hardships we would never tolerate if the promise of love weren't there.

The abuser, who loves only them-self, will inflict pain on others in order to keep their self-love strong. The victim, who loves more than them-self, will accept the pain in order to keep the illusion of love strong.

The only true love in the abusive relationship is the love the abuser feels for them-self. All else is imagination.

Verbal Abuse Turns Love into a Weapon

The abuser uses verbal abuse to increase the victim's illusion of love. Have you noticed how kind an abuser can be right after she pushes her victim to the verge of leaving? Have you seen your abuser's angry red face grow calm as soon as you lost your temper?

When an abuser senses she's pushed her victim too hard, she quickly pulls back and can become quite loving. This abrupt turnabout in behavior causes the victim to doubt their previous feelings. The loving victim "can't be mad", "must forgive and forget", and "move beyond" the recent past. That's what Love would do. Doing the "right" thing causes the victim to believe they overreacted to their abuser's behaviors.

Victims wonder, "How could someone so sweet be abusive? I must be imagining things..." Yes, victim, you are imagining things. You are imagining that love exists in your relationship.

You are imagining that your sweetie is not abusive. Your abuser is biding their time until it's safe to take the love-mask off again.

Love, to the abuser, is a weapon to be used on you to get what they want. They want you to love them unconditionally so you will stick around and be their willing punching bag. That helps your abuser feel better about them-self.

That way, the abuse is as much your fault as his, and he can rationalize that he's done nothing wrong because, after all, you are still there, loving him.

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims. Don't take my pronoun choice as a belief that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, July 7). Verbal Abuse Turns Love Into a Tool of Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/07/verbal-abuse-and-love



Author: Kellie Jo Holly

Anon2
June, 13 2015 at 2:26 am

Wow. You are so right! I just realized my husband never loved me. It makes so much sense.
During marital counseling he never wanted to work towards improving the marriage. He just wanted to win the argument and win the favor of the counselor so he could feel good about himself.
7 years of anger almost every night. He saw the hurt in my eyes and didn't love me. He persisted to make himself feel powerful, to prop up his ego. All the ruined holidays and weekends. My poor kids.
I can think of so many examples. I want even more now to get out. Now he says he wants a divorce because he doesn't feel liked by me. I stopped reacting/propping his ego up and he has no use for me. 22 yrs wasted loving him. Thanks so much for your words Kellie Jo!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Joe
November, 18 2019 at 5:16 pm

If lays a hand on me he is going to jail. Then he will be fired from work. And he knows it. So the verbal abuse is smoke and mirrors. It is best to ignore him.

Anon
June, 10 2012 at 9:53 am

Nail-On-The Head, Narcissists want/NEED unconditional love/praise, what they show is fake/illusion/superficial "love". The spouse has to believe and accept the illusion of his love for the "relationship" to work and offer all they have in return with gratitude.
Whenever a person feels forced to love someone (parent-child relationship or promise such as marriage), the person will fabricate a reason to feel love rather than deny its existence. Love is a beautiful feeling when it is true. I don’t know of one person who doesn’t want to feel love. Even the possibility of creating love causes us to endure hardships we would never tolerate if the promise of love weren’t there.
The abuser, who loves only them-self, will inflict pain on others in order to keep their self-love strong. The victim, who loves more than them-self, will accept the pain in order to keep the illusion of love strong.
The only true love in the abusive relationship is the love the abuser feels for them-self. All else is imagination.

Depression Treatment Center
July, 7 2011 at 12:53 pm

Very well said. The idea of love is the justification for many abusive and ugly behaviors on the part of the abuser. It is also, however, a justification, as you mentioned, for participating in one's own abuse. It would seem to be the glue that holds seriously dysfuctional relationships together. It takes time and distance to see such relationships clearly and sometimes, sadly, it takes real harm being done to find the courage to break free. good article!

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