Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do
What does verbal abuse sound like? The tone and content varies from abuser to abuser, but the words effect the victim in similar ways. Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions - sometimes all at once.
In the beginning of my abusive relationship, I felt anger and stood up for myself which led to loud, circular verbal altercations that had no solutions. Later, after coming to believe that he was my hero, my savior and provider, I felt stupid and wanted to fix myself so he would love me. Much later, I turned away and left the house for awhile which eventually led to increased physical violence and leaving forever.
Sometimes my abuser's words hurt when he jabs and attempts to provoke on the phone. Mostly, the memory, the countless memories of the abusive things he's said to me rear up and try to convince me that his remembered voice is my own.
This list is only a partial list of the things verbal abusers say. It's not limited to my own abusive relationship. It takes into account what others report hearing, too.
Things Verbal Abusers Say:
- "Why don't you get a job so you understand the real world? Oh, wait - I forgot - you can't get a job because you're a stupid sh!t.
- "Quit your whining and crying. You have no reason to cry or complain! Your life is perfect because I made it that way!"
- "Bitch" (and the countless other names I won't bother to list)
- "I should have left you at the club with all the other whores."
- "If you were more like my mother I could worship you."
- "I hate it when you act so pitiful. Stop the waterworks and talk like a human being."
- "I can't stand to look at you. You make me sick."
- "You're such a great actress! You know how to get what you want, don't you?"
- "I can't believe I have to come home to you every day. How did I get involved with such a train wreck?"
- "I must be the first a$$hole to love you. You don't know how to please a man!"
- "You're fat and miserable and you make me hate you."
- "You always look like God stomped on your face."
- "Why do you care what I want for dinner? My favorites taste like crap when you make them anyway."
- "You used to be as beautiful as my ex, but geesh - time hasn't been good to you, baby!"
- "Those children are mine, will always be mine, and if you leave you'll never see them again."
Things Verbal Abusers Do:
- Deny they said anything similar to the list above.
- Defend what they've said.
- Analyze what they've said out loud, explaining that the words they used do not have the definitions you seem to think they do.
- Block you in a room so you can't leave and thereby avoid what they're saying.
- Talk horribly to the television but are really speaking to you.
- Flip open their knife to open a piece of gum while looking at you under knitted brows.
- Leave to do something else at the last minute when you had plans together.
- Take you out for your best birthday ever and then wind up berating you on the way home for not appreciating their efforts enough.
- Tell your children you need more happy pills to be a good mom.
- Change the topic of the conversation so you bounce from one place to another, never getting to the core of the issue.
- Accuse you of being a whore or a dummy or a _________ so often that they no longer need to say the words but can offer up a "look" and you know what they're saying (then they may deny it).
Okay. I have to stop. My stomach is literally upset right now after digesting the utter contempt and hatred some people spew on a daily basis.
If you're still living in this nonsense, learn about detachment and how it can benefit you. Maybe in time you'll choose to leave your abuser, and maybe you'll choose to stay. No one here will judge you for staying (I've been there and it can feel hopeless!), but please work on ways to make yourself feel better in the process.
*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. (2012, April 29). Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/04/things-verbal-abusers-say-and-do
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
Robin, I would seek help for yourself. It isn't because you're overreacting or being a bitch, but because you are in an abusive relationship. A counselor could help you see the truth of what is going on, which will make you more intolerant of his behavior. My hope is that you leave now before wasting two decades with an abuser like I did.
Do you love him or the idea of him?
Before you quickly say "I love him!" keep in mind you came to a website about verbal abuse and typed a long story about how he's still essentially a controlling jerk from across the world. Believe me I understand, it's easier to stay in a relationship and "try to make it work" because there are still feelings there. You didn't get together if there weren't. The problem is the person you love should make you feel good about yourself, not call you names. And while everyone has their bad days, they should not be EVERY DAY. And to end a hateful text with "love you" is as classic a verbally abusive text as there ever was, giving you just enough bait to keep you hopeful.
You said you hoped someone read your story. I read it. I empathized with it. I hope you find the strength in yourself to see your worth and give yourself to someone who deserves it. It's clearly not him. From how you've written about him he comes across as a hothead who joined the armed forces because he loves to play soldier and talk big. When you leave him, (you will, right?) you will see just how ridiculously off the wall he'll get. He'll call you names. He'll say you're worthless. He'll scream and cry like the little toddler playing soldier that he is. He may eventually even say he'll change. Do not buy into this. He's made zero effort to change. There's a part of him you like. Fine. Go find someone who's got a whole person to like. Or don't. Better yet, just be with yourself. Work on yourself. Consider today a clean slate. He does not exist. You are Michelle the Awesome. Michelle the Strong. Michelle the Independent.
You do not want to raise children with a person who disrespects the one he loves like this. He should be missing you not dissing you. Boy's gotta grow up, but not with you. Easier said than done I know but now's the time. No one will fault you for staying, and frankly it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Take a look at yourself and ask "am I the person I want to be? And will I be that person with him?"
Good luck Michelle. Please know at least one person is pulling for you.
They got in the car and did not say a word so I asked him why he couldn't say hi which is something I frequently say to people he blew up on me he had a pocket knife in his hand at the Graham had given him and all the groomsmen from the wedding he pulled out the pocketknife and had opened up right and was yelling at me telling me I was worthless, I was lazy, I was a bitch all while I was driving his car home they got in the car and did not say a word so I asked him why he couldn't say hi which is something I frequently say to people he blew up on me he had a pocket knife in his hand at the Graham had given him and all the groomsmen from the wedding he pulled out the pocketknife and had opened up right and was yelling at me telling me I was worthless, I was lazy, I was a bitch . I was so hurt by this because I had just lost my car and then basically lost my boyfriend. I have completely made my life about him and his child that he had before I was in the picture and the fact that I couldn't even get him to be there for me for the second time was too much. The last time I got a car repossessed for financial reasons . He refused to help me and left me in I was so hurt by this because I had just lost my car and then basically lost my boyfriend. I have completely made my life about him and his child that he had before I was in the picture and the fact that I couldn't even get him to be there for me for the second time was too much. The last time I got a the house with no food, or anything and would come home from work get dressed and go hang out with his friends . I had no ride anywhere and no food to eat or money and had to call other people to help me because he refused to even look my direction that was only a couple months ago now this time my car gets stolen and he has decided to avoid me at all cost and anything I say he tells me I am stupid and gets upset and leave the house . And he is happy he tells me he will support and take care of us because he makes well then enough and when he's mad he will literally starve me to death and leave me to dry .things are good they're great and when they're bad I feel like dying like I should just jump off a bridge because I have done nothing with my life but have relationships. But after this weekend and reading these post I have decided that I need to just deal with my broken heart and move forward and out of this relationship. The suicide hotline yesterday gave me some numbers to call for shelter and help . I am calling them now . I know I'm not alone and that the way he acts is not right . Things are good they're great and when they're bad I feel like dying like I should just jump off a bridge because I have done nothing with my life but have relationships. But after this weekend and reading these post I have decided that I need to just deal with my broken heart and move forward and out of this relationship. The suicide hotline yesterday gave me some numbers to He also likes to try to tell me to move out of the house whenever he gets mad which finding out recently that I have to pression is a lot for me and it does make me feel very anxious and nervous and have anxiety attacks and he knows this yet he still does not seem to care and tells me that my feelings are just that feelings and it's not a big deal. I do not know how I got into this verbally abusive relationship . But I am going to miss the good times but I guess t he also likes to try to tell me to move out of the house whenever he gets mad which finding out recently that I have to pression is a lot for me and it does make me feel very anxious and nervous and have anxiety attacks and he knows this yet he still does not seem to care and tells me that my feelings are just that feelings and it's not a big deal hey are gone already . I cry every day and am sad all the time and to top it off I have no children and I figured that the fact that I was willing to except that he has a child and to help out with this kid that that would make him love me I am seeing now but that's not making him do anything but hate me and not appreciate me because when he is mad the first thing he says is I don't do anything for his son . I am so sad and just need to figure it out .
From wikipedia (which happens to be correct in this case):
<blockquote>In psychology, confabulation is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive. Confabulation is distinguished from lying as there is no intent to deceive and the person is unaware the information is false. Although individuals can present blatantly false information, confabulation can also seem to be coherent, internally consistent, and relatively normal. Individuals who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from "subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications", and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence. Most known cases of confabulation are symptomatic of brain damage or dementias, such as aneurysm, Alzheimer's disease, or Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (a common manifestation of thiamine deficiency caused by alcoholism).</blockquote>
I always thought my ex-husband could pass a lie detector test when questioned about his "stories." Sounds like yours has a similar trait. I'm not saying either one of them has confabulated, but it sure feels like it.
Not paying you much attention is a form of abuse called withdrawal. It sometimes is the "calm before the storm." Sometimes it is better to love someone from a distance.
I was beaten and my body harmed by repeated beatings starting nine years ago. He doesn't hit me hard anymore, just punches, slaps a bit, spits on me, makes motions to hit me and if I flinch he laughs and chides me, treats me as a servant even down to cleaning floors after spilling coffee along them, flushing toilets after he leaves #2's, closing doors in the cold of winter/heat of summer (if I did something like that I would be screamed at and if I don't catch it before he comes back I get screamed at for not closing), calling my family and friends and yelling at them (I really don't have friends anymore), calling the places I've worked or telling people things about me where I work (we live in a small town where he grew up), he is friends with most police, the sheriff, and the police chief, he was even able to find out what was in my hospital record when he beat me bad a few years back because his son worked at the small hospital here and made copies of my record and many more things.
Today after being called the 'c' word, a whore, a fat pig, psychotic; I finally said that he was behaving like a sociopath. I had thought that in the past, but had never said it.
I have no money left, I'm 63 years old, I can't find a job as I have had so many injuries throughout life that I can't stand for very long and I'm in a lot of pain. I am trying to get myself though the next couple years as there is no health insurance as I can't pay for it.
I live off what I make selling books on the internet. Every penny goes to pay for my internet service so I can sell, car insurance, utilities, groceries for the house, rent to him for the room I stay in and Vonage for my phone. I do all the housework, all the yard and property work, I pay for my own way even though I have little anymore and he owns his house free and clear from when his wife died.
I do not have the money to live elsewhere as this is a small town in the oil field areas so rent is high. There is a women's shelter with limited stay, a fee, but it is for people who have addiction issues. There are few options for me, especially since I can't find a job and can't handle being on my feet for even a short period of time.
I grew up in a home where I was verbally, physically and sexually abused. I just want people to know that childhood abuse has lasting consequences. I know people say to just get over this and I have tried over and over. Basically, I am a throwaway human being that as my family had mentioned should have never been born.
I married a man that I thought was a nice man and he said that I turned him into a drinker (even though his mother and father as well as brother were drinkers). I was battered my him and when we divorced he won custody of our son because he was fit and I was not (I had filed for divorce because I was being battered too much). His neighbor did the psychologicals on us and no one would believe I was being battered, even though I had ended up in the hospital with broken bones, my breasts scalded with a pot of hot coffee, concussions. His uncle whom was a judge helped him and I never saw our son again.
I have talked to our son after I found them a few years ago. Our son has addiction issues, has stabbed a woman and is very abusive toward me over the phone calling me the same name's his Dad did.
I know by saying that my current SO was acting as a sociopath is abusive and should not have done something like that. Because I had made a sound of pain when I bent over to clean up after him, he became very angry today. I really am in pain. He said it was mocking him and that I am jealous as he has family that loves him and I don't have family that loves me. He said people flinch when they see me because I'm a fat, stupid, ugly pig and that no one likes me.
I am not going to do myself in, but I am hoping I pass away soon as I am a failure as a human being and as I'm told I am taking up space in this world.
I understand what people are saying in this article and responses and I just want people to know that when abuse toward a person is embedded, (it is hard to impossible if they can) to get out of it.
I hope this makes people think the next time something mean and degrading comes out of their mouth toward their children or others. It has lasting consequences and weak people like me have never been able to replace what has happened to be able to get out.
I don't know why I have sought people who are like how I was raised and I know there is only one responsible person and that is me...my job was to replace unhealthy behaviors of seeking people like this whom I thought were nice and replace with healthy behaviors.
Sometimes there is no place to go even though people say 'just leave'.
I've been with my abuser for 15 years. I've been hit, spit on, called every name in the book, manipulated into his "game" and made to feel less than a person, and made to feel like I'm the one who is crazy and wrong. I don't look in the mirror, I don't do anything for myself lest I be called selfish, I don't take care of myself like I used to because I will be yelled at, belittled, and manipulated if I do. I have naturally curly hair, and if any of you have it, you know what a pain it is in humidity.. I straightened my hair today, and he called me a hooker and told me that I was to never wear my hair like that when I am with him. So he's the body builder and of course can look perfect.... fair, right? He tells me he wants me to find someone else, he calls me stupid and that I don't know anything. I wanted to go go church, and he told me he was going to the races (where all the women wear nothing). He uses it against me to control what I do. He also uses gas-lighting to make me feel crazy. (if you don't know what that is, do a search on it, it may make you feel much better!)
Part of me wants to have this over... and hopefully get back the 15 years I lost. I have no friends, I have no family (other than his, of course), and if I do something he doesn't like, I'm manipulated into what he wants. But, like everyone else... I love him. I really do. I see his sickness, but I hope for him to get help. The only person I have in my life that I can talk to is God. He hears me and I feel better. Perhaps it is my choice to get out of this... and if that is the case, then I will know the right time, and then God will give me the strength to do so. I as am without answers as anyone else is who is "in" it.. I do read Isaiah 41:8-21... and it helps me feel better and not so alone.
The hurt is intense, and I wonder if I will ever be normal again. I used to love people, be outgoing, loved life. Now I am reclusive, scared to talk to anyone (or I get in trouble), and I hate my existence. I will keep pressing on until I find the answers... but I've come to find out that maybe the answers are not what I want to hear... then I have a choice to make.
My heart breaks with all of those who have written before me... and I don't feel so crazy and that "it's just me". Thank you for being honest and open. Be careful... it isn't easy and it isn't safe. Just try to use the best judgement you can, fight through the fear and the self-doubt, and do the best you can. We ARE smart, we ARE brave... we just have a beast that is winning right now. But we can survive it... keep seeking the help and affirmation. We'll eventually find the courage and hope to do what we need to do and what is best for us and most importantly, for our kids.
Sometimes we make promises that we don't have to keep. When a person behaves the way your online friend behaves, there is no reason to stay faithful or remain in love with them. He obviously doesn't love you (not REAL love) if he can call you all those names and emotionally abuse you daily.
Download the safety plan. It will help put you in a stronger frame of mind. No one deserves the treatment he dishes out to you. I'm sorry for your circumstances, but circumstances change. Keep changing.
Look, 4 years is a good bit of time to be in a relationship. I can understand not wanting to waste that time, to try to press on and see if she turns back into the sweet sexy thing you thought you were with. It isn't worth it. Cut your losses and get out. You're 21. That's about the age I married my abuser. Spent 17 years in the hell you're experiencing now. She is not worth your life.
Make a plan to leave, then stay gone. It will be hard. She may even give you a glimpse of sweet and sexy to entice you back. Don't be fooled.
to to that page
scroll to the bottom
download the safety plan and fill it out
My husband rants and my crying from it is a viscous circle. ..so I fake that I'm ok and cry in silent. When he is yelling at night and my precious children are sleeping, I can't beg him to stop, he only says I'm using them as shields and keeps going. ..sometimes throwing things and swinging his arms at me. I will get out! And I pray for you to do the same!
I think we women feel like we have to accept some meanness when we aren't perfect or half way perfect but God wants good things for us and not to be kicked around. Prayers for you
Please, somebody, tell me there's someone out there who won't call me names and make me cry. Who won't yell even more when I do start to cry.
Somebody tell me it gets better, because I don't believe it.
I am that person that verbally abuses my partner with the nastiest words that come to my mind. I never stop to think before I speak. When I am in rage I am very ugly and say really hurtful things. My boyfriend has told me over and over again to seek help and I always agree that I do need help. I know that I have anger and resentment problems I just don't know how to deal with those issues when I'm upset. I need some advise. I am so tired of hurting him he does not deserve any of this. He has put up with me and so much. I need to find a way to help myself so I can show him respect. I adore this wonderful man of mine, but my behavior and wrong doings have pushed him away so far this time that I feel like I've lost him. I am finally willing to accept the challenge I've been fighting because I'm scared to see the truth. Can someone out there share some information with me. I am desperate to change for once and for all! The people around me do not deserve this mad crazy person that Ive been for so long.
Also, it seems like you have a pretty good grasp on WHY you abuse. Look for a cognitive-behavioral therapist to help you stop abusing.
For whatever reason, after the wedding, things flipped. He says I'm the reason for his drinking, and it got way worse, as did the anger. The last 2 months, his coiled up fists and mumbling under his breath turned into vocal attacks - started with "you're such a nag" and grew into "you b***h, go f**k yourself". This week, actually, the last 48 hours, I made a list of the hurtful things he says to me, partly to show our counselor on Friday and partly to remind him when he doesn't remember or tries to deny what he said.
Sunday (excerpts, not all are listed) - I hate you...and you wonder why you can never keep a man...if I'm dead in the morning, it's your fault...you're a horrible f***king person...
Monday - you are so obnoxious...go away, because that's what I wish you would f***king do...you're going to be the death of me...
Today - you're the bane of my existence...you're a liar...go ahead, call your mommy up like the 5 yr old little girl that you are...you're a horrible, horrible person...you vicious b***h... And the best one of all? "I'm going to go home and shoot myself in the face and make you watch".
This is such a heart-breaking situation for me. I, of course, am hurt by all the nasty things he says, especially as each day gets worse, but I know he doesn't mean them. He is lashing out and clearly hurt by a lot of things, but we cannot communicate. He is drinking to soothe his pain, and he knows it. I can't get him to get help. I found a gentleman who went through the same trauma he did in war, but he won't talk to him. He has phone numbers for the doc's office, but he won't call. I have set up interviews and sent out resumes for him, but he doesn't go on his own. I am busting my ass 6 days a week to take care of all our bills and our responsibilities, and the verbal abuse is the thanks I get.
I just needed to vent. Feeling so completely lost and helpless. I hope I'm not alone.
The unfortunate truth is that the "2nd Person" is the real person. You fell in love with this 2nd Person's mask - his false front - his trap.
You are reacting in a typical fashion too. You are making excuses for him, trying to get him the help he does not want, and frankly, probably does not need. PTSD can cause people to act the fool, but you are not witnessing PTSD alone (if he has PTSD at all). Your new husband is showing you his true face. I know it is hard to believe, but I've been around the block a few times and I know that "this" will not get better.
Visit http://thehotline.org and call the hotline. They'll tell you the truth too.
I feel for you. I hope you cut your losses and get out now.
Finally things took a turn for the worse when i went over to visit him. We went on a vacation together and he gave me grief for not sleeping with him, telling me that he still felt alone though i was there with him, that i wasn't showing him affection bla bla bla. I felt horrible! One day he gave me the cold treatment for the entire day and barely spoke to me. I tried to pacify him and convince him that i loved him but for him, love meant having sex with him. This wasn't the worst part of the relationship though. It was when the words turned to me behaving like a bitch,telling me to go to hell,saying God forbid that he would ever marry someone like me, using the f-word to my face, saying women annoy the hell out of him etc that i knew i had to end the relationship.
Here i was this confident, professional woman who no longer recognised herself. I used to ask myself how i could have ended up in that relationship. I was a mess by the time i could muster up the courage to end the relationship. I knew i needed to get away from it and rediscover myself but also he needed help and it was not mine to give. The thing is, most of us women erroneously believe that we can change the abuser and we convince ourselves that they need us, that we love them, that they're good and perhaps if we can just show them that what they're saying or doing is wrong then they'll change. Sadly this is all part of the manipulation of abusers that messes with our psyche. Most abusers won't change until they can recognise that their behavior is fundamentally wrong. one can only change a ring one recognises and sadly many don't because it is ingrained in them and forms part of their character. I felt guilty for a long time for walking away and i kept thinking maybe it wasn't all that bad and i was overreacting but what helped me realise it was bad was that i couldn't recognise myself anymore. A good relationship will enrich and not diminish you. So ask yourself this question putting emotions aside - do you feel enriched by your partner in every way or do you feel bad about yourself?
If you're reading this and suspect you're in an abusive relationship, chances are you most likely are. Your spirit is telling you what your mind refuses to accept. You may think it's impossible to walk away for whatever reason, but know that by staying on in the relationship, you will continue to be chipped away bit by bit like a block and you're not helping the abuser who also needs professional help. If he's willing to seek counsel and you're not willing to walk away, then get help. But if he's not, know that you will be OK even if you leave him. It may be horrible initially but day by day you will find strength to move on through the love and support of friends, loved one and your faith if you have one. I'm speaking from experience and I hope that my story can encourage someone reading this.