Verbal Abuse And How To Stop It

Are you experiencing verbal abuse?

Are you allowing yourself to call it what it is? Or, do you make excuses for it, justify it?

When you call your partner on it, do they say you’re too sensitive?

Do you really believe that?

verbal abuse

Nobody sets out to be in a difficult relationship, but, too many of us are set up for it early in life. 

When you have lived with chronically difficult people in your early life, verbal abuse can feel somehow “normal.” That’s sad, but true. The same is so with emotional abuse, which is often far less obvious.

Outbursts, attacks, and accusations are more overt than the private demeaning, degrading, and diminishing remarks, and silent seething treatments of emotionally abusive partners.

It takes healthy doses of self-respect, courage, conviction, and strength to express and maintain strong boundaries in the face of verbal abuse… in the face of your abuser.

Most people need help to do this successfully. 

Yes, I said “your abuser”! Most people who are being abused don’t recognize (or want to accept) it as abuse. They are so used to nasty, thoughtless, and invalidating behaviors because they are familiar from their childhood. That home life can set you up to not recognize the abuse.

You learned to make excuses, rationalizations, and justifications for them:

“They are under a lot of pressure right now.”

They don’t mean it. If you only knew what they’ve been through.” 

I’m not a good (sensitive, thoughtful, considerate) enough person or I wouldn’t be so annoying, irritating, or frustrating to them.”

“They had a hard day, I can’t blame them for coming home and venting at me, or getting angry at little things all the time. I’m the only one they can talk to. They need me.”

“I’m such a scatter-brain. I can’t remember things right. I’m so lucky to have someone like them to keep me self-aware. They always remember.” 

“I don’t know how to make them feel better. I know I should, they told me I would, if I really loved them.”

verbal abuse

Do any of those sound like your self-talk?

It’s time to ask yourself if you are actually accepting verbal and emotional abuse, while making excuses for your abuser. 

You have thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants, and you are entitled to them.

When you recognize and validate these within yourself, you are on the way to recognizing verbal abuse and emotional abuse…and to stop putting up with it! 

Learn new, effective strategies to create healthier dynamics in your relationship with a Hijackal®.

Hijackals are chronically difficult people who hijack relationships, for their own purposes, while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control. Bingo right? That’s what’s going on in your relationship…and making you feel small, unworthy, and powerless…and that is abusive!

Hijackals have predictable patterns that are demeaning, dismissive, diminishing, destructive, and damaging to you.

They engage in verbal abuse without even thinking about you or your feelings for a second. It’s all about them getting their needs met. It’s all about them having power over you in some way, at all times.

You don’t think they have power over you? But, they do if:

  • You worry about what they’ll think
  • You’re concerned about pleasing them all the time
  • You avoid doing anything to upset them…even telling the truth about something.
  • You make excuses for their outrageous, inappropriate outbursts and demands
  • You somehow think you deserve their wrath, their blame, their put-downs.
  • You put up with their threats.

If those things are true, they do have power over you…and you’re giving it to them. It’s time to recognize the verbal abuse, and stop tolerating the emotional abuse. It’s time to take back your personal power, and stop the crazy-making. 

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler specializes in working with the partners, exes, and adult children of chronically difficult people.

She calls them “Hijackals: people who hijack relationships for their own purposes while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control. Hijackals traffic in guilt, blame, uncertainty, and emotional abuse.”

Author of sixteen books, Dr. Shaler works with individuals and couples, worldwide, using Zoom®.

If you are ready to put an end to the chaos, pain, resentment, and fear, she knows how to help you. Start with a full 1-hour introductory session

Common Signs of Verbal Abuse

1. Disrespectful language

One of the most common signs of verbal abuse is disrespectful language. This can include name-calling, cursing, and making demeaning or hurtful comments. If your partner regularly speaks to you in a way that is disrespectful, it’s a clear sign that they do not view you as an equal.

2. Put-downs and criticisms

Another marker of verbal abuse is when your partner regularly puts you down or criticizes you. Are they often telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re stupid, or that you are worthless? That’s not OK, and has incredibly damaging effects on your self-esteem and self-worth.

3. Threats and intimidation

Threats and intimidation are both verbal abuse AND emotional abuse. Does your threaten to hurt you, to leave you, or to harm themselves if you do not do what they want? Do they try (succeed?) to intimidate you by raising their voice, by breaking things, or by making threats against your family or friends.

4. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of abuse where your partner tries to make you doubt your own perceptions and memories. For example, they might tell you that you are imagining things, that you are overreacting, or that you are being paranoid. Gaslighting can be very confusing and can make you question your own sanity.


5. Blaming and shaming

Verbal abuse can also include blaming and shaming. Your partner may blame you for things that are out of your control, or may shame you for having certain opinions or beliefs. This form of abuse is designed to make you feel guilty and ashamed for things that are not your fault, or for things that do not support THEIR ideas.

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