Many people are involved in abusive relationships that don’t create any physical scars or bruises. The abuse they suffer is just as real and just as destructive to their well-being. Verbal abuse can damage a person emotionally when they must live with it in their home on a continuous basis. Because it is ‘just words’ it is often not recognized as being abuse ,by either the victim or those around them. Men are victims of this type of abuse, just as women are.
Here are ten signs of verbal abuse in a relationship.
- Name calling – Derogatory name calling, such as stupid, dummy, idiot or other such demeaning terms should not be considered a normal part of a relationship. Even when a person is angry, this type of language is not necessary and shows an extreme lack of respect for the other person and should be considered abusive.
- Cursing – Many people curse when they get upset. That is not uncommon. However, when the cursing is directed at another person and is combined with some of the other signs listed here, it can also be a sign of verbal abuse.
- Shouting – Again, raising a persons voice in anger is not uncommon. But if one person in a relationship is continually raising their voice in anger towards the other one, it may be a sign that they use their voice to intimidate that other party.
- Put downs – Continual criticism, and a refusal to acknowledge positive achievements, can be another aspect of verbal abuse. Everyone is in need of affirmation of their value and worth to those around them, to some degree.
- Threats – Being verbally threatened can be as frightening as having those threats carried out. Verbal abusers often will threaten their victims with physical harm, embarrassment, restrictions on their finances, harm to others and retaliation in a variety of other forms.
- Blame – Abusers will often blame their victims for their actions. ‘If you wouldn’t be so stupid.’ ‘If you wouldn’t have done that.’ Every person is responsible for their own choices and actions. In an abusive situation, the abuser will always find an excuse to continue their behavior, no matter how much the victim tries to perfect their own.
- Lack of courtesy – Ignoring common courtesies within a relationship can also be a sign of abuse. An abuser may not feel it is necessary to make requests, but instead gives orders to the other person. The manners they display with others may be lacking when it comes to that indivdual.
- Low self-esteem – There are signs that can be seen in the victim, as well. A low self-esteem is a natural result of abuse, in any form. The victim often does not see themselves as deserving better treatment.
- Timidity – Victims of verbal abuse will often appear timid and hesitant to speak up or ask questions. The slightest raising of your voice may cause them to cower or bring tears to their eyes. They are used to being intimidated and controlled by another person’s voice.
- Fear of failure – Since victims of abuse are often told it is their failures that bring on the abuse, they have a great fear of failure. New circumstances and learning opportunities are often seen simply as risks of failure, which could lead to the abuse they try so desperately to avoid.
If you recognized yourself as a victim of verbal abuse while reading these 10 signs, it is important that you seek help. Abuse is never justified. Seek counseling for yourself or for the two of you together. Healthy relationships are not dominated by one person over the other.
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