What is Verbal Abuse and What are the Signs?

Verbal abuse is any kind of verbal interaction that causes you emotional pain. Verbal abuse can take many forms, from name-calling to hostile and manipulative statements. But no matter what form it takes, verbal abuse can have serious negative consequences for your mental health. If you’ve experienced verbal abuse before, you know how painful and damaging it can be. It may even feel like a betrayal from someone you love or trust. But regardless of who is doing the abusing, verbal aggression is never OK.

Types of Verbal Abuse

— Name-calling: 

This is the most common form of verbal abuse. Name-calling is an attempt to verbally tear someone down in order to feel better about yourself. There are many variations, from general insults like “moron” or “idiot” to specific slurs based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or religion. Anything that’s meant to insult or demean falls under the category of name-calling.

— Hostile or Manipulative Statements: 

This is a set of statements that are meant to manipulate or control another person. Hostile or manipulative statements may be veiled threats (“If you leave me, I’ll kill myself!”) or promises (“If you clean up, I’ll take you to the movies.”). They may seem logical or reasonable, but they’re totally one-sided and meant to control another person. 

— Verbal Abuse and Anger:

 Anger is a normal and healthy emotion. But when it becomes excessive and uncontrollable, it crosses the line into verbal abuse. People who frequently experience rage, who are quick to anger, or who have a hard time controlling their anger are often verbally abusive.

— Withholding Affection: 

This is a common form of emotional abuse. It’s not as obvious as screaming or hitting someone, but it’s just as harmful. 

— Shaming: 

This is criticizing or making a person feel guilty in order to control them. It usually involves harshly criticizing a person’s character or flaws. 

— Ordering Someone to Do Something: 

This is an attempt to control another person. It may involve directing their daily activities or demanding that they do things a certain way. People who often issue orders may also be verbally abusive.

Signs You’re Being Verbally Abused

— You feel emotionally drained after talking to someone. If you feel like you can never “win” an argument, or feel like you have to walk on eggshells around a particular person, it’s possible you’re being verbally abused. It’s normal to have disagreements here and there, but if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells with someone all the time, it’s possible they’re verbally abusing you. 

— You frequently feel anxious. People who are verbally abused often feel anxious or on edge because of the stress and anxiety the abuse causes. If you feel like something is “off” with your mood, talk to a trusted friend or member of the clergy. You may be suffering from the effects of verbal abuse. 

— You’re not yourself. If you’re someone who is normally confident, outgoing, and ambitious but finds yourself feeling quiet, reserved, and unsure of yourself, you may be the victim of verbal abuse.

Strategies for Coping with Verbal Abuse

— Get outside help. 

You don’t have to deal with verbal abuse on your own. There are people who can help you, such as a doctor, therapist, or social worker. There are also helplines and online support communities where you can find advice and support.

— Avoid being alone with the person. 

If you’re being verbally abused by someone, it’s important to get away from them and stay away from them as much as possible. 

— Limit your contact with the person. 

If you have to interact with the person, set firm limits about what you will and won’t accept. 

— Hold the person accountable for their actions.

 This is important, but don’t do it in a way that gets you hurt or emotionally burnt out.

It’s Never Too Late To Change

Verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse that includes yelling, insulting, threatening, and degrading someone. It can also include withholding affection, shaming, and ordering someone to do something. The aim of verbal abuse is to control someone. If you want to overcome this and other mental problems, you can use the Sensera app, which is a  good tool for self-development.

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