Abuse comes in many forms, and not all of them are physical. And while physical abuse it’s easier to identify, this is not the case with verbal abuse. It’s totally normal to argue with your partner from time to time, we’re humans, after all, and that’s going to happen. But you have to draw the line when it comes to verbal abuse. Everyone has boundaries in relationships, but these boundaries are not respected when you’re in an abusive relationship. And the worst is when you don’t know you are in one. This is most probably because abusers are so good at masking their behavior, according to Elite Daily, and it may seem like you are in a perfectly normal relationship, but this will eventually wear you out and you might not even be aware of this.
That’s why it’s essential for you to make the distinction between a normal disagreement with your partner, and abusive behavior. You should know all the signs of real-life abuse – signs that have been told by experts who were trained to identify them, and hopefully will help you free yourself from a toxic relationship and move on with your life.
Signs of verbal abuse
According to Dr. Fran Walfish, the very first sign of verbal abuse is your partner constantly criticizing you, especially in front of others – be it your friends or family. And if they do this in front of others, imagine what would they say if you’re alone. Constructive criticism is a totally different thing. You’re trying to help your partner by giving your honest opinion, but to constantly criticize and saying something uncalled for, that’s a big NO. This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.
This is a technique your partner uses to control you, oftentimes turning the situation and blaming the abused partner, according to One Love, and that’s why it’s harder to identify this sign. “If you really loved me you wouldn’t say or do that.” This is nothing but a way of controlling and confusing your partner, pushing them to do things that make them uncomfortable.
3. The silent treatment
Abusing is not only when your partner verbally abuses you. Sometimes they withhold and ignore their partner, giving them “the silent treatment” and that’s worse than any verbal attack. People use this technique when they don’t get what they want and want to make their partners insecure, so they just walk away from an argument. This is definitely not a sign of a healthy relationship, and you have to distance yourself from these people.
This is a sign of jealousy, and again the abuser turns the situation and blames the abused partner. Being constantly criticized damages your self-esteem and after a while, you’ll start wondering whether you’re really doing something wrong, according to Health Line. “Why won’t you do this if you’ve got nothing to hide.” Note that this is a typical verbal abuse and not something that you should tolerate.
While there are verbal abuse signs quite difficult to detect, this one is the easiest. It’s a method the abuser uses to hurt and put you down, for example: “You idiot, that’s not how you do it!” If you’re constantly being called names, well, bad news for you – it’s time to leave. Actually, this should be considered good news because no one deserves this kind of treatment, so if you’re noticing your partner is often ‘calling you names’, you’re in the wrong relationship.
Another way to belittle you is making jokes at your expense, and that for sure is a verbal abuse. Dr. LeslieBeth Wish says that ‘coward and immature’ partners use this technique to offend you and then use the “I was just kidding” defense. Sarcastic comments are all fun and games until they’re used to attack and control you, and trust me, there’s a thin line between joking and insulting.
And this is where the situation might even escalate with comments like “I will hurt myself if you go!” , meaning to scare you and ‘verbally beat us into submission’, according to Hidden Hurt. Abusers will threat you with everything you hold most dearly or something that scares you the most. Nothing will ever justify this behavior and nothing good will come out of this toxic relationship.
If you can relate to all these signs, well, it’s time to take matters into your own hands by talking to your partner (if you think you can save your relationship). Reach out to a friend or a family member, or if you think it’s really necessary, a therapist. By no means, you should go through this again – you, or anyone else.
Before you go, you might also want to read: What Is Considered Emotional Abuse? 5 Crucial Signs To Identify It