What Is Verbal Abuse: How to Recognize and Avoid It


What Is Verbal Abuse

A simple definition of verbal abuse can be: carefully used words to best portray a person as a negative one. Verbal abuse can happen in a relationship, marriage, at work, in school or among family members.

Why is verbal abuse happening

Very often it happens that people who are abusive don’t realize that they abuse. The background of the abuse usually lies deep in their childhood when they were learning how to communicate. If one or both of their parents were abusive to each other, or to the child, then the now grown up person will think that the way they communicate is the normal way.

Verbally abusive people know the difference between the victim and the abuser, but the real problem is that they think it is normal for one of them to be repressed and the other to maintain control the whole time.  So, it’s not that they don’t know about the abuse, but they think it is their only choice since the other option is to be abused themselves, not understanding that life is not black and white and no one needs to be abused.

Other reasons might be anger management problems, lack of empathy, alcohol or drug addiction, and other serious mental disorders.

What is verbal abuse

Verbal abuse has a wide range of abilities. Criticizing, blaming, sarcastic comments, insults, name calling, judging, accusing, directing and manipulating, countering or even withdrawing information. All these verbal abuses are happening around us, and sometimes maybe to us, but we don’t notice them, because the key to be a “successful” verbal abuser is not to be revealed as one, instead to always keep the blame for questioning and complaining the victim.

Understanding abusive people

It is hard to understand and forgive the abuser about their behavior. Every person who has to live or spend more hours around verbal abusers might be left with serious emotional scars. So how to cope with these kinds of people?

A therapist might be the best solution. Professional treatment will show them what is normal and what is abusive behavior and teach them how to communicate with the people they love and care.

Trying to have a reasonable conversation about their behavior can also be helpful in some cases, but in most cases verbal abusers don’t understand the reason, then it becomes very hard for you to accomplish this.

How to respond to verbal abuse

As mentioned, reason is not a word in the abuser’s dictionary. Your best line of defense is to clearly draw the line beyond which the abuse is too much. Let the abuser know that you won’t take their actions as normal and won’t let them treat you like that. “Stop that” is a great answer in many cases. Use it.

If nothing works and all your attempts to work things out fail, think about leaving before it’s too late.