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 Victims hear horrible things from their abuser and they feel small, withdrawn, angry, helpless, sad, shame, and a hundred other horrible emotions - sometimes all at once.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.
Holly, K. (2012, April 29). Things Verbal Abusers Say and Do, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/04/things-verbal-abusers-say-and-do
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
After typing all this and reading it out loud, it all seems stupid and I feel like I'm going insane. I don't want to disappear under his thumb but I want to try to work this out. We have applied for marriage counseling but have been turned down because the counseling programs say that he needs counseling. He refuses to go because counselors who assess him (by himself) are stupid and don't know what they are talking about.
He told me this morning that I'm a gaslighting, narcissist because I refuse to talk to him (for the first time in all the years we have been together). I'm tired of my words being twisted and used against me in the heat of an argument (or to start one with me). The list is lengthy of all the abuse but it's never been name calling (to my face). Currently, I'm working towards getting out. I just need to know if what I'm experiencing is abuse or if it's all in my head. If it's all in my head, I'm going to check myself into a program, but if it's abuse then I can sign up for emergency counseling and housing for me and our 2 boys.
I appreciate you so deeply for sharing your heart here on the blog. It's so difficult to decide what's real and what's a trigger/false perception. It sounds like you know his behaviors are wrong and that you know seeking help is the next step. Since I am not a licensed professional, I cannot say what's abuse and what is not, but I would encourage you to keeping reading the blogs and articles on Healthy Place and work with a medical professional to decide your next steps. It sounds like you have experienced a significant amount of trauma, and no matter which path you choose, getting help of any kind is the first step to healing. Be kind to yourself throughout this process and remember that love does not have to be painful.
I wish you light and love--Jenn
When he gets mad he will call me a b****, tell me to shut the f*** up. If he doesnt have clean clothes to wear for work or of I do not buy food. I work full time and pay the bills ( I do not make alot) he makes more he pays the mortgage and his child support and his car payment. He makes me pay half for any appliances or anything for the house. He has called me a c***, he has told me to get the f*** out.... I am always scared of being yelled at early in the morning ( he leaves between 4 am -6am) so I always make sure he has work clothes in his basket. I cook all the meals clean up after all the meals do all the laundry all the cleaning (but I do not clean well enough for him) I also do most of the stuff with the kids, alot of the time if i take them swimming he wont come he will stay home alone. Is this abuse or just a sh***y husband?
It can be difficult to determine what's abuse and what's not. I always suggest reaching out to someone you trust and or a licensed therapist for support and guidance. An outside perspective is always helpful. However, name-calling is a verbally abusive trait, and if you fear saying or doing certain things to avoid conflict, it might be time for outside intervention. Counseling may be able to help both of you communicate in a healthy way. You don't have to go it alone, and you don't deserve to live in fear. Always remember that. I wish you the best and encourage you to read more articles on HealthyPlace. They may give you the insight or sign you're looking for.
Light and love-Jenn
He always call me as useless.
But I am a working women and earning more than him .He saying am not doing anything perfect in household. If I want anything from he always comes up with my past mistakes(as per his opinion) and say I cannot have rights to ask for it.
He take over me fully. He says my dressing sense is too bad and he only select the cloths for me. Whoever seeing from outside thinks my husband is so caring but originally am struggling a lot. Even the inners also he only select but doesn't think of its comfortable for me.
He is not allowing my parents to visit me or I have to visit them .Not allowing my child to speak with my parents.
He cut down all his friendships and mines. He is not allowing me to contact my relatives. I feel more lonely. His life is only me and Child (and his parents) and he wants the same to be for myself also.
Id like to chat. Im married to an abuser and need some help.
I feel strongly impelled to say that the photo at the top of this web page is inappropriate. I have had much exposure to the situations of other survivors, both as a volunteer and in other settings, and for many relationships any portrayal--such as the photo clearly implies--that "it takes two" is plain dead wrong. For so many of us, who are not codependent, who do and have set boundaries, who exercise careful self-discipline of all kinds along with courage up to 24 hrs a day in the balancing act of standing up for themselves in an abusive environment, it definitely does not take two. It only takes ONE. Any one of us could be the most perfect person ever to set foot on the face of this planet, ever to interact with the partner, family member, or spouse in question, ever to care about, love, and try as hard as any person ever did to make a relationship with that person work--and the abuse would still have occurred. Did any of you ever think of that?
If no, do so, please.
I will not detail more of what it takes day in and day out to live in and walk out of abuse as a survivor and not a victim, but so many of you know just what I mean. And that photo needs to be replaced. It is not descriptive of verbal abuse, except in that a verbal abuser can--yes--be from either gender. Please get rid of it. No photo is better than that one.
Look for a domestic violence shelter in your area. Verbal abuse is domestic abuse. Do you have family or friends who can help? If so, seek them out for support. Don't tell your abuser any of your plans. Are you employed? Your children are school-age so maybe you can work while they attend school.
Keep reading this site and others for information, support, and encouragement. (((Hugs)))
There are many people who care about you! :)
Call me as soon as you read this I'm a 37 year old going to be 38 this month female. I was engaged to a man. I saw all the signs but completely put them aside because I thought that I could fix them. Verbal abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse does not go away on its own. You are doing everything that you are supposed to and that you are trying your best to do. There is no way you should have to live with a schedule that someone else makes for you. Nobody else should be telling you when to give them oral that is beyond abuse. You're a beautiful human being that has children with this person and you know what? When you met this person you didn't know how you would wind up. It's not your fault. I keep getting caught in the same trap and thinking that it's going to change. It won't. It's different for you because you have children and you want to keep the family together I get it. But while keeping the family together you're slowly dying inside and outside. So what's more important? Keeping your own wits and Sanity and his self respect or keeping the family together and having this person step all over you and you walk on eggshells? In no way is this your fault but what I'm saying is they comes a fine line and when that's crossed imagine what the next step would be for the next action they take? There's no need to live the rest of your life in fear or to live on someone else's schedule that they make for you to give them oral or they'll be upset. Think about that. I know it's easier said than done and I know it's very hard. But just like myself there comes a time when we have to go and leave and get out of the situation simply because we don't deserve to live this way and it's as simple as that. We were not put on this Earth to be brought down low to anything else but what we were born here to be, wonderful women. I'm sure you have beautiful children and that is a good thing that came out of this. But that might be just about all that is good that came out of this. It's time to leave it's time to get out of the restraints and the ropes that are day in and day out tying you back. Think about it like this and this is how I think about it there's no reason you and I would be on this website if we weren't completely in pain over it and we knew something wasn't right. If you find yourself on a baking website for cupcakes what does that mean? It means you want to learn how to bake cupcakes right? Well you're on a verbal abuse website, what does that tell you right there simply that we're even on this site is the answer itself. Stop asking questions which I will do as well to the outside world for their opinion the opinion lies within you. You know what's right and wrong and obviously that's the reason why you're on this website because you know it's wrong. There's no clarification for this there's no putting this on the back burner. You obviously feel uncomfortable in the relationship you're in and yes it's scary to leave but think about the damage that could be caused if you stay. Just remember there are millions of people as you and I speak right now that are not happy in their relationships. We are not alone this is an everyday event for many people like us. And stupid us keep running back for more will that has to stop there must be an end to this when I noticed wow I'm on a website for verbal and mental abuse from a man, right there's my first answer and my first sign that there's a problem. There are many ways you can get out of this relationship without Danger call me I left you my number if you can call me and he's around I understand but I would like to speak to you as well because I'm going through the same thing except I'm not married I was engaged. And the two of us are on and off and I just hung out with him this weekend and the same verbal abuse and emotional abuse and yet I still feel like I'm the one that did something wrong I need to speak to other women that are going through what I'm going through because nobody else the regular person out there will understand. Call me fight me calling you or you calling me and I stalking it will help each other trust me you have to talk to someone that goes through what you do. Somewhere along the line we will come up with an answer if we stick together us women have to stick together when going through any situation like this. You can't run away from it it's not going anywhere but you can take charge and control of it in your own mind that way you don't live your life on eggshells and the first step is to reach out what you have done call me my number is above my name is Heather
Hmm...You're more than welcome to share the information you must have others clearly lack: which is, that you're welcome to add your stats on how many contributors here are men and how many are women--and how many didn't answer the questionnaire you must have sent around. I sure don't know. My boss is a married gay guy who is very proud of his husband, and more, most of us think he's one of the best bosses we ever had. You really think "husband", for example, means the speaker is a woman? More, without more clarity it's also hard to understand which commentaries you're including, just this page? and more questions of that sort. You've got to narrow your question down. I think it's clear you are a guy, one who's annoyed, but if I can't tell, and you don't say, you're guessing too. A the end of all that, you are asking a why question, and the only answer for that is: Why are you asking?
If someone is abusive , is it something that would most likely happen for years and years, or can it start suddenly, even after 20 years?
There is a situation where I know someone since basically the time I was born as the person has been friend with an older sibling since they were in preschool. I know him, his parents, his siblings, etc..
I realize of course it is difficult to know 100% what goes on behind closed doors, but when I have to choose whom to believe. I must believe the person with more credibility.
the person's spouse made claims that the husband was abusive to her, phycially and mentally. the person said stuff like "this will be hard to believe, I know it is hard to believe" however, t is also stated that the husband treats the couple's child very well, no abuse whatsoever and never has and cares for them.
they claimed the husband grabberd her. now sh ealso said she filed a claim, but the medical examiners showed zero proof of any bruises.
also says she is diminished etc.. the person says their own parents and siblings and everyone else takes his side, and not hers. well all people who know her very very well.
I do also know this idiivdual has some sort of bipolar and other similar issues for a long time. I also know one time they did something such as leaving work early, driving for no apparent reason , to some other state, every one was worried, work didn't know anything, nobody did, she was found to be ok, they were all very worried about her. then after they decided to start medications . and she had been mostly fine for awhile although still did some weird things.
recently she started having some episodes again, and I was told they sent her to a place that deals with mental illness to help her get better. I don't think she wanted to go.
she accsued her huband, her parents, and of course all the doctors of conspirting against her.
now she doesn't want to go home acting like she is all scared. but I asked both for the aprens andt he husband, were they always like this? or did this start recently. she seemed to indicate recent.
none of that really adds up to me. I am thinking she is deluding herself into thinking something is happening that is not. but I think the fact they made her go get help, was the trigger for her being so accusatory and wants to take a stand.
so I am wondering, what are some thoughts on this?
Also something kinda ironic: you posted this the exact day i left that ex 😂
I'll be praying for you dear!
My boyfriend gets mad at me when I want to hang with my friends and family...almost to isolate me. He never wants to hang with his friends either. He always has to be around me which is great I love being with him but I believe time apart definitely helps a relationship so u can miss and appreciate the person u are with. He tells me things ...and then when I say what did u say he will deny ever saying anything. Like tonight he said he wanted to go to Sheetz bc they have the best subs ( but he always wants to go to Rutter's bc he says THEY have the best subs) so it confused me. So im on my way to Sheetz and he's like where are u going and I say Sheetz..he's like I never wanted to go there I told u I wanted Rutter's. I said NO u didn't so of course we argued about that. Why does he do things like this? To f**k with me?? I do not understand. Wev been together almost two years...he wasn't always like this. He started about a year in messing with my head and calling me crazy. He's always been kind of a jerk tho. Making fun of me and always thinking he's better than me. Makes me look stupid in public and is a [moderated] in front of other females which ticks me off. Like why does someone do this to someone they love! Or say they love at least. He has his good and bad Days tho. A couple days can pass with NO nonsense..so I just don't understand. Everyone now is telling me to leave bc it's getting worse it's just so hard to hard to except :(
I've started breaking our TV's and electronics and I've never been this way. He just really gets my blood boiling. He never does anything wrong. Barely ever apologizes to me. And always turns everything around on me. I'm just at my breaking point and feel so drained. I love him to death and wanna spend the rest of my life with him but now idk. His family and friends think I'm the bad guy and think that he never contacts them or hangs out with them bc of ME! And that's not the case I tell him to hang with his friends and he just don't. I'm just so sick of this like do I just have to accept the fact and eventually leave. I think I do have to but I just can't now. It's nice and not nice to know others go thru this. I feel for all of u ladies ....!!!
Do they get off in doing this?!
I don't know much about your situation, what you need, what your options are... it sounds like you *haven't* let him cut you off from friends and family and you have people in your life who know you deserve better, so you've got that. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, just... you aren't crazy. Trust yourself. It's way harder than anyone else understands, looking in-- AND you can do this.
Thank you for your comment. I think it's difficult to contain the anger and hurt we feel when someone abuses us, and I would never want to censor someone who was a victim. However, I think we have to be careful not to emulate the abuser's language in our own behavior, because isn't it always wrong to call someone pathetic or moronic? It's easy to pick up on and even copy the actions and words of someone who abuses us, so I don't think you're in the wrong per say. I just wonder if there's a better way for you to explain how you feel, such as getting to the root of WHY his behavior is hurtful.
Can you say instead, "Your behavior is inappropriate and you need to treat me with more respect?" or "When you say that, it makes me think you don't respect me."
I don't think there are any magic words that can change abusive behavior sadly, but I do think we have to be careful not to retaliate with yet more abuse. This creates a vicious cycle that's toxic for both parties. What do you think?
Thank you for your comment -- I am so glad you found us here at HealthyPlace. it's true that abuse from a family member can be especially hurtful and difficult to deal with, so you have my sympathy. I would suggest you try to move on from your "blow up" and forgive yourself for your entirely natural response to your family member's abuse. What this person is doing to you is dangerous, and he or she needs to be called out on it.
Next time you're together, sit this person down and explain that while you're sorry for the way you reacted, his or her behavior was absolutely unacceptable and you won't be standing for it any longer.
Yes, this person is family, but you still need to set boundaries -- especially when there are children involved. However painful it is, tell your abuser that unless he or she can change, you won't be able to spend time together anymore, that you're not willing to put yourself or your husband and children at risk. Suggest counseling, but don't take ownership of this person's problems: they're not yours to deal with.
If this person truly values your feelings, he or she will take action to try and repair the relationship by getting help. If not, there is nothing you can do but walk away and explain to the other members of your family that from now on, you and this abusive family member won't be able to attend the same events. It may be difficult, but any situation where you're in physical danger is not worth pursuing, family or not. Good luck.