Verbal abuse can be hard to detect sometimes.
For instance, where does the line get crossed between a bad joke and verbal abuse, between saying something that may offend someone and verbal abuse, or between the intent of a comment and how it gets received?
But in many other instances, verbal abuse is detrimental to its victims as well as for those committing the abuse.
“Verbal abuse is a kind of battering which does not leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering,” writes author Patricia Evans. “It can be just as painful, and recovery can take much longer.”
According to Evans, verbal abuse can take many forms. It can be subtle, nuanced, or take the form of angry outbursts or manipulative coercion. Additionally, according to Evans, verbal abuse:
Verbal abusers may also resort to name calling and attempts to humiliate the victim. As pointed out by Evans, “Verbal abuse may be overt, such as an angry outburst directed at the partner or an attack along the lines of ‘You’re too sensitive.’” The author continues: “Verbal abuse by its very nature undermines and discounts its victim’s perceptions. . . If the words or attitude disempower, disrespect, or devalue the other, then they are abusive.”
Verbally abusive relationships are by their very nature toxic, and below are some more warning signs of a verbally abusive relationship:
If you or someone you know is in a verbally abusive relationship, seek professional help from a licensed mental health professional.
Evans, P. (2010). The verbally abusive relationship. Adams Media. New York, NY.