How to Stop Verbal Abuse in a Relationship

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Sometimes a romantic relationship goes into a negative direction, and a person hears unpleasant expressions instead of gentle words from a loved one. Unfortunately, no couple is immune from such developments. Harsh phrases that demean a person destroy a relationship quickly and imperceptibly, and, therefore, it is important for people who love each other to be able to control themselves in critical situations and prevent offensive words. But how to recognize verbal abuse if you feel that something is wrong in a relationship?

dealing with verbal abuse

What Is Verbal Abuse?

So, what is considered verbal abuse? Verbal abuse is a regular, overbearing and harmful behavior of a person whose purpose is to control a partner. The result of verbal abuse is that a victim lives in constant fear and regularly changes their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, they refuse their needs in order to avoid further violence. It is difficult to recognize verbal abuse in a relationship. The behavior of an emotional tyrant can be multifaceted, including pathological jealousy, suspicion, or insult.

Sometimes people confuse concepts and believe that a jealous partner just loves too much. A victim most often doesn’t realize that a partner is trying to suppress him or her, but in this case, deep down, there is a strong discomfort. If your relationship is more likely to bring you fear, discouragement, confusion or anger, it’s time to do something with it.

You shouldn’t expect that a cruel partner will temper justice with mercy and change overnight. Yes, participants in love relationships quite often enter into heated discussions. This may be a conversation in a loud voice because of the accumulated claims, active finger-pointing due to controversial life moments or even a real quarrel, but there is always a line through which it is better not to overstep. An insult will necessarily divide the life of a couple into “before” and “after,” gradually destroying sincere love. As a result, a couple will break up sooner or later. Some people are used to mutual insults, and they have not paid much attention to them for a long time. But such a relationship can’t be called healthy! This is not the norm and doesn’t lead to anything good.

Is Verbal Abuse a Crime?

Unlike physical abuse, it is not so easy to recognize domestic verbal abuse. Verbal abuse can be used equally by men and women and manifest itself in any relationship. Verbal abuse is often not considered a crime, however, there are still several options that can help argue the complaint. Here are some of them.

  • A medical report
  • The recorded moment of verbal abuse
  • Witnesses

verbal abuse in a relationshipSo, if you have collected a little bit of evidence, it’s time to go to the police to get protection from verbal abuse. To do it, you need to file a police report in which you must specify information about yourself and an aggressor, describe the situation, and attach evidence. After registration of the application, your case will be examined, and an offender will be brought to justice. Also, victims of psychological violence have the right to sue for moral harm. You can file a claim yourself, or you can contact a lawyer for help. However, it is important to know that such cases rarely come to trial, therefore, there are not so many judicial practices in this area.

Signs of Verbal Abuse

It is rather difficult for people who have such a relationship to determine whether they experience verbal abuse. Most likely, they are wearing pink-colored glasses or simply don’t know what a normal healthy relationship is. Here are the main signs of verbal and emotional abuse.

It is not only about screaming

It is wrong to assume that only those to whom the partners constantly raise their voice are the victims of verbal abuse. In fact, it’s rather a type of behavior when one person manipulates another one. Abusers question self-sufficiency and common sense of partners, undermining confidence in themselves and their strength. Aggressors may resort to threats that they will cause some harm to partners or their loved ones. Often, those who behave with restraint can cause much more harm: they are prudent and unprincipled. Moreover, sometimes they are so hypocritical that they behave very kindly, and this only enhances their negative influence. A person, suffering from verbal violence is in constant fear that an aggressor will lose temper at some point and move from threats to actions.

Your partner makes unpleasant comparisons and blames you

People who practice verbal abuse will constantly compare their partners with friends or acquaintances. At every opportunity, they will say that there is someone better. Sometimes abusers can do it very subtly, citing some famous person as an example. The result of this behavior is always the same: victims will experience resentment and self-doubt. Aggressors will also blame partners for all the problems, even that they can’t control. They will criticize partners for work and salary, clothes and body shape, etc. They will constantly point shortcomings, sometimes in an exaggerated, grotesque manner. Finally, they always say unpleasant words addressed about partners’ friends, especially of the opposite sex. They will not like it if victims lead an active social life and receive numerous calls from friends or colleagues.

You don’t know exactly when you became the object of ridicule and abuse

Most believe that it is easy to recognize verbal abuse. In reality, many people, especially those who suffered from it in childhood, don’t understand that they have become victims again. In addition, aggressors can tell that their behavior was just a joke or ridicule. This may be a dismissive statement addressed to their victims, sometimes accompanied by the most radiant smile. In fact, the main goal of aggressors is an attack on partners’ self-esteem, knowledge, skills, and values. The tone of the comment is not important here.

You also become an aggressor

Did you know that you can be both a victim and an aggressor? The cycle of verbal violence is quite difficult to break. The only solution is to accept the existence of the problem and its seriousness. This may be someone’s help and support. Without such actions, aggressive behavior can’t be changed. If a child was raised in an environment where parents couldn’t control their emotions, then most likely he/she would grow up a person prone to verbal abuse and unable to cope with own feelings. On the other hand, if you've managed to escape from the world of humiliation and break off a relationship in which you suffered from mistreatment, then it is likely that you may become an aggressor in your next relationship.

How do you feel?

It is very important to you ask yourself, “How do I feel?” at each new stage of the relationship with your partner. This will help you understand whether your partner makes you truly happy. If you are verbally abused, the first thing that will suffer is your self-esteem. And the more often you hear criticism and insults, the sooner you will begin to believe in them. Ask yourself why you are nervous or sad when you are with your partner or when you are about to meet with him or her.

How to Deal with Verbal Abuse in a Relationship?

Harmony in a relationship is based on mutual understanding and respect. What should be done if one of the partners is a verbal abuser?

Don’t answer to an insult with an insult

The retaliatory aggression only inflames the scandal. Moreover, in a fit of anger, you can slander too much. You will regret it later, but a soulmate will remember the offense for a long time. Don’t start doing it, dealing with verbal abuse. Say that conversations in such a tone are not for you, and you will communicate only in a calm atmosphere. Also, try to care and give more attention and affection. Lack of warmth in relationships can affect a person by making him or her rude.

You shouldn’t put up with it

Such behavior quickly becomes a habit. Choose the time when your loved one is in a good mood and try to talk. Find out the reason for such aggression. Demand respect and proper attitude.

Pay attention to the flashes of aggression

How to respond to verbal abuse? If your loved one begins to lose temper in the process of communication, when you prohibit or criticize something, draw conclusions. Perhaps this is the lack of free space that hurts your loved one. This is how protest is expressed. If outbursts of anger arise from nowhere, this indicates deeper problems, mental fatigue, and stress. It is useful to contact a specialist.

Don’t allow an assault on your part

It happens when nothing helps. Only after you slapped him or her in the face, a person comes to senses. But don’t forget that in a fit of anger, the scandal can turn into a fight.

verbal and emotional abuseDon’t let yourself get out of balance

Answer all attacks calmly. You can jokingly agree with insults and at the same time, show your good attitude to your loved one. Leave the room, referring to some urgent matters.

Think about whether you need such a relationship

How to stop verbal abuse? If a person doesn’t want to make contact and, in general, doesn’t see any problems in it, considering such communication as the norm of life, think about whether you can live with such a person. The family consists of two people who are equal. Relationships are built on mutual care, love, and respect.

Long Term Effects of Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Verbal abuse leaves no visible traces, but it is no less cruel and reprehensible than a physical one. And the worst thing in this situation is that sometimes victims don’t feel it as such because they simply don’t fully realize anything. But in a while, they begin to understand that their behavior is changing, and this may happen due to the attitude of their partners.


One of the effects of verbal abuse is that resentment may ultimately manifest itself in destructive feelings such as guilt, irritation, and frustration. In some neglected cases, a victim can even feel depressed.

Fear and sadness

If you don’t take your bad feeling under control, it may arouse a desire to die. Therefore, a sense of hopelessness and sleep problems are also very common for this issue.

Problems in communicating with other people

It can be very difficult for victims to establish relationships since they are afraid to return to a previous situation. In addition, victims may have abusive relationships in the future since problems with self-respect and a sense of security persist long after verbal and emotional abuse.


It seems that there is still some barrier that doesn’t give a feeling of full-fledged emotions. Of course, it leads to violence despite the overcoming of aggression.

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