Verbal abuse isn’t well explained in the media. It isn’t shown or talked about enough for many people to recognize it. We’re going to go over some common hallmarks. Verbal abuse can be hard to define for some people as there is a thin line between just arguing and abuse.
It usually involves yelling, constant name calling or insulting. It can also be continued correcting of behavior or appearance and even just be extended silent treatment. This, along with demeaning commentary, is verbal abuse.
Abusers will constantly put down their partners. They will insult and belittle them and make it seem like they’re being reasonable. They might attempt to convince their partners that they are the ones who are crazy. It often works.
Tearing at someone’s self-worth day in and day out can really take its toll. Gaslighting is also common, which is a tactic that is used to make the victim feel like they are going crazy. It basically is when a partner constantly questions or denounces the victim’s statements.
This term was coined because of a play called “Gas Light”. The husband lowers the gas to make the lights dim. Then he tells his wife he doesn’t notice any changes to make her think she’s going crazy. Being told your reality is wrong over and over can drive a person insane.
1. It doesn’t happen in front of other people. Often verbal abuse is behind closed doors. They will act normal in public and then abuse their partner at home. Being verbally abusive in public often means abuse is getting worse.
2. It can seem not to have a reason. Verbal abuse coming out of nowhere can really make a victim feel unstable. Especially if nothing is otherwise wrong in their relationship.
3. It is more likely to happen if the victim is happy. Abusers like to bring their partners down if they seem like they are happy or content. This is so that they feel powerful.
4. After a while it’s familiar. It can feel impossible to fight when it is ongoing and continuous.
5. The abuser makes fun of the victim’s hobbies. They show contempt or disregard for the victim’s interests.
6. The abuser does not care about apologizing. They won’t talk about it if the victim tries to and dismisses their concerns.
7. The relationship can otherwise seem okay in-between fights. This can confuse the victim into thinking the trouble has passed or that they cause it.
8. The victim feels isolated from friends and family. This is usually because they might not want to tell them about the abuse. They might not feel it counts, or they don’t want negative conversations about their abusers whom they may still love.
9. Often the abuser tries to tell the victim who they are. If they are angry, they may describe the victim as the temperamental one. They may project their own tendencies on them to make them feel confused and vulnerable.