Signs of Verbal Abuse in Relationships

Signs of Verbal Abuse in Relationships are very common and they can often be the first to go unnoticed. This is why it is important to be aware and know what to look for so that you can seek out help from professionals who are able to help you. Verbal abuse is often one of the most difficult areas of a relationship to spot but there are signs to watch for that may help you figure out whether or not your partner is guilty of verbal abuse. Some of the signs are similar to signs of verbal abuse, but they are often more subtle. Here is a look at a few of them.


-The partner will often talk incessantly about themselves and how they don’t really matter. The subject will come up and they will speak about all of the great things they have done or will complain about the things that are imperfect about their relationship. It’s not uncommon for the partner to talk about nothing but their own shortcomings, especially if they don’t feel like they are worth anyone’s time. If you notice your partner doing this, then it is definitely a sign of someone who is trying to bring your relationship down.


-Words will be said that are hurtful and demeaning to your partner. You may find your partner talking about other partners, how they are not good enough for them or the things they wish they could do. There may also be accusations made about other people in the lives of your partners. The subject will often complain about the way they look or about their looks in general. No matter what the subject is, it will always be a reflection on you.


-You will find that your partner will avoid intimacy as much as possible. They will retreat away from the relationship and will only hold hands or make love in very indirect ways. They may even try to avoid being around you as much as possible. This is a sign of verbal abuse, but is also something that can be caused by anxiety.


-You will find that your partner will have very distorted perceptions of how others see them. They may think that they are being judged harshly or that someone is constantly criticizing them. They will also have very negative opinions of themselves and what other people think of them.


-You will find that your partner will avoid intimacy in any situation. This could mean that they avoid any form of physical contact with you. It could mean that they simply ignore you when you attempt to make contact. This could be a sign of abuse, but it is also a way to protect themselves. They may feel uncomfortable telling you exactly how they feel. However, these are all signs of verbal abuse in relationships and should never be ignored.


-You may find that your partner suddenly pulls away from activities that they used to enjoy doing together. They may try to steer you away from the group of friends that they used to hang out with or they may complain about you to their friends about you not spending time with them. These are all signs of abuse and should never be overlooked. If your partner continually tries to change the nature of the relationship this is a sign of abusive relationships.


If you find that you are a victim of this type of abuse, then you need to get help. There are many support groups for those who have experienced abusive relationships. You can also do some research on your own about abusive relationships and the signs of verbal abuse in relationships that you should be on the lookout for. Remember that there are always ways to work through problems together as a couple. If you are struggling with an abusive relationship, then consider talking to a therapist for a couple’s counseling session.

What is Verbal Abuse?

“Verbal abuse” is a common term used in various fields of study with particular reference to the social sciences, and it refers to behavior that is generally unwelcome to both the aggressor and the victim. In essence, abuse occurs when one person (the aggressor) verbally demeans another and uses abusive language (refer to the following example: “you don’t listen to me,” and “you talk too much.”) This type of verbal abuse can be damaging for both the aggressor and the victim, and it can lead to destructive behaviors.

It’s important for you and your partner to be aware of this form of verbal abuse in your relationship to help you protect yourself and your partner from its serious consequences.

The most common verbal abuse scenarios involve “blaming” or “criticism” of a partner, or criticism of the partner’s relationships. Blaming is usually associated with the use of words such as “stupid,” “useless,” “selfish,” and “selfish-minded,” and this type of verbal abuse is typically viewed by many people as an attempt to dominate the other person by taking the dominant position in a conversation.

If the other person is able to take the position of victim, there is no mutual agreement. Rather, the criticism continues until the person on the receiving end is unable to withstand it. In this scenario, the victim, who has given up on the aggression or power, must then give up.

Signs of Verbal Abuse in Relationships

Verbal abuse, in particular, verbal threats and verbal insults, can turn into negative interactions that can affect a relationship.

Verbal abuse is especially unsettling when it’s followed by a nonverbal, physical response: a push, a shove, a punch, a slap on the hand, a shake of the head, a punch in the gut. The threat to hurt someone physically is the most common physical act of abuse. Verbal abuse is, ironically, the most common form of psychological/verbal abuse, because it’s the easiest to inflict on someone.

People who suffer from physical abuse tend to experience emotional abuse as well for various reasons including feeling helpless in a relationship.

Some people are more inclined to engage in verbal abuse while others are more likely to be abusive in other ways.

Common Signs of Verbal Abuse

1. When someone mentions something that you agree with, and then you hear it spoken negatively in a derogatory manner by your partner, that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.

2. When someone makes an offhand joke, and you feel that the punch line of their remarks is intentionally mean, then that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.

3. When someone makes an offhand joke, and you wish to say something, and you feel that your partner makes snide remarks in response to what you had intended to say, that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.

4. When someone makes an offhand remark and you feel that your partner is deliberately disregarding your efforts to communicate and talk about important issues in your relationship, that’s not a sign of a healthy relationship.

Getting Control in Verbally Abusive Relationships

If you want to stop verbal abuse, try one of these five ways. You have the ability to control your reactions and stop verbal abuse in your marriage or other relationships.

1. The three Emotional States:

The activation event, the victim’s beliefs about the activation event, and the victim’s resulting feelings or behaviors. Often, people move directly from an event to feelings/behaviors without taking into account their beliefs about the event.

As the victims change their beliefs about an abusive incident (There he goes again, trying to control me) their emotions and behaviors also change.

2. Be aware of the difference between healthy negative emotions and unhealthy emotions.

Going back to the first point, victims who create beliefs that cause unhealthy negative emotions will experience emotions such as anger, self-loathing, and fear.

But victims whose beliefs create healthy negative emotions experience emotions such as frustration and sadness. Healthy negative emotions are appropriate (no one is happy with the abuse), but unhealthy emotions lead the victim to reverse their behavior and feel horribly stuck in the situation.

3. Set personal boundaries:

Set limits on behaviors you would not accept from other people and apply them. Personal boundaries are blurred during the relationship with verbal abuse when the abusive partner accesses the victim’s safe zones.

The creation of personal boundaries often reminds victims of the need to seek out cases of abuse, recognize them, and protect themselves against further emotional or mental harm.

4. Seek support from your inner circle:

People who open up and tell other people about the violence and abuse tend to find support and strength. Victims should be careful when choosing supporters. It’s best to talk to a therapist.

If your person constantly tells you, “you’re making it more than it seems,” or claims that the abuser you’re complaining about is a “good person”,  then it’s clear this support system isn’t appropriate for you.

5. Call them Out:

Victims who turn to verbal abuse as they emerge have the ability to identify the abuser’s behavior, maybe you don’t understand that you’re doing this. At the very least, solving the problem of abuse in real-time gives the victim more opportunities and creates conditions for memorizing numbers

Next Steps: Being in an abusive relationship is no fun and can affect you emotionally and in so many other ways. Abusive relationships do not end well please notice the signs and if you’ve been affected by it, take the necessary steps needed and get help or leave the relationship.

Next Step:

Read Why Passive-Aggression is a Slow Killer


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