Verbal abuse is a type of abuse that goes unrecognized in most cases because it is a subtle, invisible sort of abuse that leaves scars on the inside. Anyone can be a victim of verbal abuse, no matter what their age, color, or gender and anyone can become a verbal abuser as well. When we think of abuse, we tend to think of the man who slaps his wife around and leaves her with black eyes or the women at a shelter hiding from her murderous husband. We might even be grateful that we are with a man who does not hit us. But does he hit you with his words instead of his fists?
“Sticks and Stones can Break my Bones”
But words still can and do hurt you. You may never go to the hospital with your scars from verbal abuse, but the pain you are feeling is real and the damage that is done to you is real as well. Abusive words come in many forms, one of which is constant and malicious name calling. If you are called terrible things on a daily basis, a part of you will be beaten down by hearing them and you may even begin to internalize the sentiments. You might also realize that you are becoming more timid and less assertive or otherwise altering your behavior to try to get the abuser to stop.
You are a victim ofyour husband’s verbal abuse and that is how you are responding, trying to protect your self-esteem.
No one Listens to me
Another terrible fact of verbal abuse is that it often goes unrecognized. You might tell someone in order to seek help and instead of hearing the encouragement that you need, you hear that you are wrong. You might hear that you should be grateful that he is only calling you names, or thankful that he is a good provider. You might also hear that you should not place your hurt feelings above the integrity of your relationship. It is important to realize that this is about so much more than having your feelings hurt. Verbal abuse causes lasting psychological damage and is just as dangerous to you as physical abuse is, even if the danger is different.
Women who suffer from constant verbal abuse might find that they are incapable of dealing with critique or criticism from others anymore. They might quit their jobs to avoid the strain and find that they are living at the mercy of their abusive spouse with no means to escape the cycle of abuse. If you confide in someone and they tell you that you are just imagining things or that you are being too sensitive, find someone who knows how to help.
I’m Scared of Him
Verbal abuse does not just come in the form of name calling, although that is a big part of it.
In addition to being told that you are worthless or that you are pathetic (both of which you are not), you might hear him threaten you or your loved ones. The threat of violence is a crime just as the actual act of violence is and this mental terrorism is wrong and cruel. No one deserves to be threatened with physical harm or death. In addition to those threats, he might threaten to do something like kill himself or leave you alone, both of which are still verbal abuse and attempts to control you. He might also threaten to do harm to your children, your friends, or members of your family if you ever leave him or if you break another of his commandments. This behavior is dangerous and should be reported to the police. Take your children with you and make your escape. Call your friends and family to warn them if you are afraid for them and escape from the abusive situation before it is too late.
He doesn’t Mean it
Many men become abusive when they drink or are otherwise under the influence. If this is the case with your partner, you may think that if you can only get him sober, everything will be okay. You will also likely forgive his transgressions because he is sorry later and apologizes to you. This roller coaster of emotions that he is putting you on can be dangerous to your health and to your emotional well being.
If he cannot see how much harm this behavior is doing to you and to your psyche, then it is time for you to escape from the situation. Whether he means it or not, the fact remains that he does it and that is the fact that you have to get away from before the verbal abuse potentially turns into something more severe.
I Stay for the Children
If you have children with your abuser and this is the reason you are staying, then you are setting them up for a lifetime of abuse. Your children will learn that men call women names and make threats and that the women submit and allow the man to make threats. Your daughters may even seek out men like their father who will abuse them when they are older.
Just because your husband or partner does not actually abuse the children does not mean that even the youngest are unaware of what is going on around them. Children are not stupid, in fact they are incredibly astute by nature and they will see that you are suffering and that you allow yourself to be put in a situation where you will continue to suffer. Do whatever you have to in order to get your children away from your dangerous spouse and into a safe place environment.
Time to Move On
Once you have decided to leave your dangerous partner, make the transition quickly and immediately.
You do not want to let him know that you are going to leave him or he will have the opportunity to take his frustration and anger out on you, your children, or your family and friends. Your safety relies on being able to escape from him quickly and get to somewhere safe. Call your parents for their help and protection and call the police if you fear that he will find you or come after you.
Leaving your verbally abusive spouse does present a certain amount of danger, however, that danger is one that will pass as you heal. The danger of verbal abuse will only drag on and on if you stay with him and will end badly with him escalating to physical abuse or with you taking your own life in desperation to escape. Do not let your abuser win. Escape now while you have your chance and allow yourself to heal. Verbal abuse is not a lesser kind of abuse, it is just harder to recognize.
Are You in an Abusive Relationship?
How bad does it have to get before you say enough is enough? An abusive relationship saps your energy, strips away your dignity and can be physically dangerous to you and your family. If you’re not sure whether or not your relationship is abusive, answer the following questions honestly in this abusive relationship quiz.