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What is Verbal Abuse?

By HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

Any type of abuse against a woman is unacceptable. Domestic or physical abuse of women can leave a physical mark. But, verbal abuse is another story.

Verbal abuse may be the worst type of abuse because it can leave psychological scars. Also, many victims of verbal abuse do not realize they are being abused. Verbal abuse falls into the category of emotional abuse.

Movies like ʺBlue Valentine,ʺ ʺPreciousʺ and ʺFull-Metal Jacketʺ all feature scenes of different types of verbal abuse.

One scene which sent shivers up my spine was in the movie ʺBlue Valentineʺ with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

There is a scene where the character Jerry verbally abuses his wife in front of his daughter. Jerry harshly criticizes and yells about his wife’s cooking abilities and the meal she served to the family.

Two things happened at this dinner table. The family views the father’s abuse as normal behavior and the young daughter sees the abuse as normal.

In the future relationships, the daughter may seek out this type of relationship which she may view as normal. However, this is far from reality. Verbal abuse is abuse.

Verbal abuse undermines a person’s self-esteem and is used as a form of control by the abuser.

Verbal abuse is yelling or shouting threats and is a form of manipulation and/or humiliation. Also, this abuse can be in the form of blame or jealousy.

The following are signs of verbal abuse. This information was compiled from University of Michigan Health System, HelpGuide.org and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health websites.

You may be in a verbally abusive relationship if your partner says any of the following:

• "If I can't have you then no one can."
• ʺF^$* You!ʺ
• ʺI don’t know why I put up with you!ʺ
• ʺYou look disgusting.ʺ
• ʺYou’re crazy!ʺ
• ʺYou’re so stupid!ʺ
• ʺYou’ll never be good enough to do that.ʺ
• ʺNobody else would ever want you.ʺ
• ʺYou always twist things around.ʺ
• ʺYou are worthless.ʺ

Also, you may be in a verbally abusive relationship if your partner does any of the following:

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is the kind of verbal abuse that goes on behind closed doors in my home:


January 18, 2012 - 8:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

I suppose it goes without saying that any kind of abuse against ANYONE, man or woman, is unacceptable.

January 5, 2012 - 5:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.