6 Signs of Verbal Abuse: Are You a Victim?

October 24, 2017
Words are incredibly powerful. They can lift you up or destroy you, they can calm you down or hurt you. A lot of people forget this. Unfortunately, they can also go beyond negativity and enter into the territory of abuse.

Verbal abuse is a sub-product of conflict, and women are its main victims. The goal of verbal abuse is to cause psychological harm, instead of physical harm. Once these words get into your thoughts and beliefs, it’s very difficult to tell that you’re a victim of it. That’s why we want to talk about the main signs of verbal abuse today.

It might not leave visible marks, but it’s just as terrible as physical abuse. Keep reading to learn how to spot the signs of this awful dynamic.

Signs of verbal abuse

1. It isn’t just about yelling

A lot of people think that being a victim of verbal abuse means your partner is always yelling at you. The truth is, it’s much more complicated than that, there are a lot of behaviors involved. What they do is manipulate the victim into questioning their own beliefs, memory, or sanity.

The abuser might use threats like hurting you or a loved one, but not always. Not making outwardly aggressive statements doesn’t mean that abuse isn’t happening.

Read more:

You Need to Know How to Set Limits for a Manipulator

In fact, the abuser might even act in an extremely loving way, which just makes the impact of their abuse even stronger. The person being abused will constantly be afraid of the other person losing their temper.

2. Your partner makes painful comparisons, blames you for everything and is possessively jealous

signs of verbal abuse

A partner who verbally abuses you will constantly make comparisons about you. It could mean comparing you to your more beautiful friend or their own closest friends, but the point is that they always say there’s someone better than you.

They might also do it very subtly. For example, they might talk about a celebrity, or someone else like that, as an example. The main idea here is that they’re making you feel inferior.

They’ll also blame you for anything, even things you can’t control. They’ll criticize your job, your salary, the way you dress, or even your body type. You will be constantly, bluntly reminded of your “massive” defects.

Your partner might also say negative things about your friends all the time, especially if they’re the opposite sex. They hate that you receive phone calls from any co-worker and are enraged that you have a social life.

3. You don’t realize you’re being insulted

Everyone thinks it’s easy to tell when you’re a victim of verbal abuse. But, one of the big signs of verbal abuse in people who dealt with it in childhood is that they don’t always recognize that they’ve become victims of it later in life.

In this case, an abuser might pull pranks or make jokes that make you feel bad, or less valuable. For example, a derogatory comment said with a big smile. They’re “joking,” but that necessarily mean it’s not an attack on your worth, competence, or abilities.

It doesn’t matter they seem sweet on the face of things. You need to truly ask yourself how these “innocent” comments make you feel.

4. You’re becoming an abuser…

balance of powers verbal abuse

You can continue being a victim, turn into an abuser, or both. Basically, the pattern of abuse is hard to break. Unless you recognize that there’s a serious problem and seek help, it’ll be almost impossible to change these behavior patterns.

Being brought up in an environment with parents who aren’t able to control their own emotions can be very detrimental. For example, their child might become verbally aggressive because they never learned how to deal with their emotions.

But, if you managed to break off a relationship where someone verbally abused you, there’s a good chance you might end up being the abuser in your next relationship.

5. How do you feel?

This is one of the subtle signs of verbal abuse, and involves looking inward and checking in with yourself. Any time you’re taking new steps in a relationship, remember to ask yourself: “How do I feel?”

This will help you reflect on whether your partner makes you truly happy and encourages you to feel confident about yourself. If you’re suffering from verbal abuse, your self-esteem will be the first thing to go.

The longer you put up with these sort of comments, the more likely it is that you’ll start believing the insults and criticism. You can start asking yourself why you feel  afraid or are always sad or nervous in the presence of you partner or when you know you’ll be seeing them..

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6. Dealing with verbal abuse

verbal abuse

It’s a fact that we all have defects and problems. Plus, arguments and clashing opinions are completely common and normal in any relationship.

What isn’t normal and should never be allowed is for your partner to:

  • Make you feel inferior. Of course, there are situations and people that are above you, but you should never lose out of sight the difference between humility and negative comments.
  • Cause negative emotions like sadness or depression. If you feel bad all the time and seeing your partner generates more negative emotions than positive ones, you need to learn to establish distance.

If you identify with any of these signs of verbal abuse, even if only in small ways, don’t ignore them. Our advice is to seek specialized help, from a therapist or psychologist, for example. It’s not selfish to prioritize your needs if your partner isn’t.