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Verbal Emotional Abuse Examples from Victims


Verbal Emotional Abuse - Verbal AbuseWondering what verbal emotional abuse looks like?  Let's start with what it feels like.  Verbal emotional abuse feels like getting punched and hugged at the same time

Verbal emotional abuse can be very difficult to recognize when you're in the middle of it.  Often a verbal abuser will appear to care for you while at the same time they're hurting you deeply.  The hurt from verbal abuse isn't an obvious, external wound.  It's a subtle, internal wound to your self-identity.

Here are some examples of verbal emotional abuse from a few victims:

  • I am in a verbally abusive relationship with my husband.  I am called stupid, dumb etc..he even tells me I'm stupid for being with him. . .  My self esteem is in the gutter.
  • My boyfriend always said it was my fault he called me a names. I shouldn't have been late, because he had prepared dinner. . . I BELIEVED him. . . The abuse happens after they have you believe in them. They make you actually think, it's your fault they can't control yourself. . .  I was brainwashed into thinking I'm fat, unattractive, nobody would want me while he was going to go on living his rocking life.
  • The first time he made me cry he felt so bad I thought it would get better. But it never did. I am called all sorts of names, told to shut the f*** up, that he doesn't want to look at my stupid face. I never get an apology or if I do it's "I'm sorry but really this is your fault."
  • I have been with my husband for 16 years now and the last 10 years have been hell. I never do anything right in his opinion. The food is never good enough, the house never clean enough. I'm not thin enough. He calls me fat and bitch in front of our children and now my little boy has started calling me fat. How am I suppose to react to that? He tells me I am worthless. He will not give me money when I need it. He tells me I don't pay the bills so why should he give me anything? I don't know what to do. I am so lost and alone.
  • Every stressful moment in his life is taken out on me. His insults are so shocking I sit, stunned, as he tries to degrade me. In the beginning, I trusted he meant the things he said, and of course I would cry my eyes out. My face was always puffy from crying. Slowly I noticed how my mind altered due to his insults. My self esteem was a complete zero. . . Ex: "Your life is a joke." "Every decision you made in your life was a mistake." "You are a sh*t-head (because I won Trivial Pursuit. How trivial.)" And worse and worse. He often uses what others think against me. . . He uses my insecurities against me.
  • In the beginning I met a great guy, charming, smooth talking, talked himself up to everyone. He was s dream. Once we became official, my clothes weren't right, my hair was too messy, I was a c*nt. I embarrassed him etc. I was told to have sex twice daily or he would leave me, my self esteem dropped drastically. I went from successful to lazy and always wanting to sleep. I did everything for him in order to make him happy. His drinking became horrible, his fists hit the walls during a fight. I was never GOOD enough but he "loved me" and everything was for "my own good". Crying everyday, depressed, feeling "crazy". . .

Can you see yourself or someone you love in these stories of verbal emotional abuse?  If you're in a verbally abusive relationship, get the help of a licensed counselor to learn what to do.  As the last quote said, verbal abuse can make you feel "crazy," so you need a professional therapist to help you recognize the truth and restore the real "you."

Find Out More

Read More Stories of Verbal Emotional Abuse: Readers Respond: Were You A Victim Of Verbal Abuse?

Source: Readers Respond: Were You A Victim Of Verbal Abuse?


Great site. Glad to see that your site is helping men. I thought I was the only one helping.
Posted @ Saturday, February 19, 2011 9:47 PM by Amy
This would be great information in a different context. It's all about women victims of - guess who? - their men. This article won't even begin to "help" these men identify or deal with the deep-rooted problems giving rise to this behavior. 
More importantly for me, it doesn't address men as victims of abusive women. Who is this article supposed to be "helping" and why is it posted on an introspective men's blog?
Posted @ Saturday, June 02, 2012 5:54 PM by John
John, This article can help men recognize behavior they didn't see before as abusive. I also helps women do the same. Here's another post on abusive women. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:28 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
I too am a victim of verbal abuse. My husband told me he wasn't attracted to me, he wasn't interested in me, he had to lower his expectations of me. I've tried wearing sexy things to try and get his attention and he tells me my body isn't made for those type of things. I could go on and on. I would've rather him punch me, because eventually the bruise would go away.
Posted @ Friday, June 29, 2012 7:06 PM by Marquita
I'm a bad wife, This is my 2nd marriage (first was appx. 12 yrs.; this one is going on 8). 
I had a drinking problem and my husband has used that against me in every agrument.  
Every time he has hit me or curses at me (today or nearly 12 hrs.) he claims it is for my own good. He claims that I ruined his life (i.e., by behing married to an alcoholic). Of course, he is not speaking with his sister (both in their mid-40s) and claims she ruined his childhood. 
I am called every name in the book. I am terrified to wake up because I do not know which husband will greet me. Lately (nearly daily) he awakens irate and begins the screaming onslaught of the wrongs I've committed against him. 
I do not clean, I hardly cook, I never initiate sex (and dread it when I have to endure it), and I want a divorce. 
Do all of these things justify his verbal punches? Is it still abuse if I have been less than 100% committed to this marriage? 
I have pets (that were mine prior to the marriage) so disappearing in the middle of the night would be difficult without leaving them behind. 
He says that I "owe" him and - when he feels I have paid him back, he will release me. 
He hasn't hit my in about 6 months, but I am afraid he will kill me (perhaps by accident) during one of his tirades. 
I need help - to relocate with my pets. He is rarely out of the house and is a light sleeper. 
What can I do?
Posted @ Saturday, July 21, 2012 2:23 AM by Peggy
Peggy, PLEASE get out of this marriage immediately! There's NOTHING you can do that could warrant his hateful words and violent behavior. Do you have friends who can help get you and your pets out? If not, keep a cell phone on you; when he starts the next tirade, retreat into a bathroom or other place you can lock him out, and call 911. Once they arrive, get them to stay while you move out. 
No matter how bad your drinking problem is, there's NO WAY that his behavior is your fault! That you're "less than committed" to this homicidal maniac is a sure sign of your value, NOT of your inadequacy as a wife. 
He thinks you owe him because you ruined his life? Nonsense! Does he think you owe him because he paid for your education? OK, you might owe him some gratitude for that, but do you owe him your blood all over the house? Never!! Be grateful to him from 1,000 miles away while you're busy never talking to him again. 
What kind of pets do you have, and how many? Do they live outdoors? Do they make a lot of noise? There's got be dozens of ways to get them out. I would suggest some if I knew what their situation is. 
Peggy, nothing you said indicates in any way that you're a "bad wife." True, a drinking problem is a tough thing to live with, for both of you. But I totally believe there's a good husband out there for you. But, before you find him... 
GET OUT! Get help (counseling and AA) for your drinking and your self-image trouble. Get divorced. Get a restraining order. Get lessons in using a handgun, a carry permit, and a weapon to keep on your person at ALL times until this man is no longer a threat. (But make no mistake: the kind of profound psychological impairment he has does NOT go away, and you must assume, for the safety of you and your loved ones, that HE WILL BE A THREAT until he dies of natural causes at the age of 97.) 
Very very importantly, Peggy, PLEASE get a new attitude. Don't stake your life solely on the hope that he won't kill you. Your intuition is obvious in your description, and I know you must realize it on some level, that he thinks your life is his to do with as he pleases. He thinks he's perfectly within his rights to kill you. Don't buy into that, and do NOT ignore your intuition and convince yourself that you're overreacting or paranoid. Hope is a poor shield against a threat of ANY kind. 
I'm a kind, gentle man, beloved by children. All my life, I aspired to follow the honorable tradition of service in the US military. When I joined the Army, everybody worried that I lacked the instincts to survive on a battlefield if I should ever be called upon (we were at peace at the time). But they were wrong. Having read military history my whole life, I knew the risks. I developed a VERY realistic attitude and adopted a practicality to let my training guide me... quite simply, the attitude was this: 
"If I ever come face to face with an wartime enemy and it's either him or me, I won't have to flip any coins." 
No one ever plans to be in the movie theater when the bullets start flying, but I hope that if I ever am, I'll be able to react with that same practicality, and move toward the gunman with the intent to take him down before he hurts anyone else. 
It's only a matter of attitude, Peggy, and I know plenty of servicewomen who have it. You're capable of things you never thought possible, I promise. 
Please don't get me wrong. I don't know your husband or his history. I don't know if anything you've ever done has hurt him in any real way. All I know for sure is that YOU are convinced he's a serious threat to you. I only urge you to develop an attitude where that's the ONLY thing that matters. All your doubt, hope, indecision, guilt, faith that reason and self-restraint will prevail in a crisis... these things only weaken you and strengthen him at the critical moment when you face your "enemy" on the kitchen battlefield. 
Starting tonight, Peggy, I'm praying for your strength and resolve. I'm praying for your ability to think clearly, to react calmly, to make sound plans that leave nothing to chance, and to proceed from the accumulation of cold facts about the danger he is to you rather than from the turmoil of your emotional misgivings. There's a time and place for that, Peggy... but this isn't it. Gather every reliable human assistant you can, and trust that God is with you too.
Posted @ Saturday, July 21, 2012 4:10 AM by John
Hi John, 
I thank you so much for your reply. I know I need to leave, but I feel so trapped and afraid of what he'll do that I simply endure. 
I have 3 small dogs. I don't believe he would hurt them, but I would never leave them behind. 
I did once call 911 - he got arrested and we stupidly got back together. I regret that decision more than any I have ever made. 
So that is what he believes I owe him. A ruined reputation, loss of income, etc. 
I don't want to hurt his professional life - I just don't want him in my life anymore. 
I feel like I have to sneak away when he's not home - but that happens so infrequently. 
Posted @ Saturday, July 21, 2012 2:07 PM by peggy
Peggy, I had an idea about your dogs. I have no idea what they will say, but it seems to me the best place to start asking is the animal control officers where you live. Find out if they ever play a role in rescuing pets in a domestic violence situation, whether there is an emergency number you can call, etc. If they can't help, maybe they'll know who can. Good luck, and God bless!
Posted @ Saturday, July 28, 2012 6:17 AM by John
Hi John, 
I will try that. 
He went off on a verbal tear tonight; telling me I'm worthless, that no one loves me, that he hates me, that he wishes he could kill me. I'm sick over this and scared and I feel so alone. 
Could I get someone from one of the shelters to escort me out of my house? 
Posted @ Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:58 PM by Peggy
I think escorting you away from him is best left to the police; but if you're going to do it tonight, then they should be willing to come while the police are there, and rescue the animals. God bless you, Peggy. You might be thinking not to call the police because he hasn't physically assaulted you yet. But, since there is a history of domestic abuse, they will respond to your call. I know you have very little opportunity to get out of the house and look for help, but a women's shelter should have access to legal assistance and any other advocates you need, in addition to a well of moral support. 
God bless you, Peggy... 
Posted @ Saturday, August 11, 2012 10:08 PM by John
Hi John, 
He has physically assaulted me; not in quite a while. 
I haven't left yet. I am terrified.  
I will keep you posted - thank you for the blessings and the advice. 
Posted @ Sunday, August 12, 2012 8:53 PM by Peggy
Peggy, John makes some good suggestions on resources available to you to help. First, call 911 if you are in immediate danger; second, contact a local abused women's shelter for assistance in learning how to go about leaving the marriage; third, have your cell phone, wallet and car keys in a safe place to get to immediately if you need to the leave the house quickly and make arrangements with a friend or neighbor's house that you can go to on a moment's notice. 
Stopping the abuse is ultimately up to you. John has been a good support, but this blog comment section is not a sufficient resource for you to rely on for the help you need. You may email or call my office also if you want further assistance (see the contact page on this website). -Kurt
Posted @ Monday, August 13, 2012 7:51 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Thank you Kurt, 
I am afraid to call 911 - I don't want to ruin his career - I just want a divorce. I must sound like thousands of other women that get stuck. 
I appreciate your assistance. 
Trying to get stronger to do this...Peggy
Posted @ Wednesday, August 15, 2012 3:01 PM by Peggy
I have been with my current partner for 13 years and believe that whole time I've been verbally abused.  
Yelling (even though he says he's not yelling), looking at me and rolling his eyes, talking down to me like I'm a piece of dirt, calling me a bitch, calling me paranoid, being secretive (there was an on line affair that lasted 3 years that I became a little detective and extremely snoopy to find out what I needed to know), most of the time he's yelling about me trying to control him when in actuality he's trying to control me and turn me into this meek little puppy that asks no questions, speaks when spoken to, and sits at his feet like the dutifull dog (not literally). Its like he's on a venture of proving his manhood and how strong mentally he is.I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around him all the time. If I moved something of his he goes off. its hard to explain what he does. I feel like he has such hated in his soul for me but when I talk to him about it (once I finally break), of course he apologizes and says he'll stop. Of course after this many years I believe I know the answer to that one....it'll never happen. I'm not a "bending down to my knees" type person and argue back, yell back, and get downright nasty in fighting back which truly I hate that, I've never been so nasty in my life. But I feel myself giving in, I feel myself turning into accepting things I would never accept in my life or from someone I love and live with. I'm allowing questions to be unanswered, and I'm crying all the time. Anxious, and plain just not carrying about my life. I think about leaving him everyday and am so afraid of a mistake. I've left him probably 5 times and..... 
I just don't understand, he says he loves me, but he hurts me so bad. I've told I'd feel better if he hit me asst least there would be outward proof of why I feel so bad. I'm not young, I'm 58. What have I allowed to happen in my life?
Posted @ Wednesday, October 03, 2012 10:40 PM by Kay
I have been married 4.5 years now. My husband has a son from his previous relationship who he spoils rotten.The boy is 16 years old and my huband pretty much spoon feeds him, picks up after him etc etc. In the begining it was all good, he showered me with loads of love and attention. I was patient initially with the amount of attention he was giving his son thinking that once he is a teenager that will all stop. It hasnt! Whenever i have tried telling my husband that he has got to let the boy grow up, he losses his temper and starts calling me names and swearing at me. He has called me a dragon, a step mother from hell, a control freak, a f*****g bitch, a c***!!! Says i hate his son!!! Sometimes i thought maybe best i try and speak to the boy myself! When i tried that my husband jumps in and tells the boy to ignore me. I express opinions about anything he rolls his eyes and tells me i am not very bright and a lot of times he tells me "you obviously havent understood what i have said. Let me start again"!!! It doent help that i am from Africa and English isnt my first language, it leaves me feeling that if I was English white, he wouldnt dare make the comments he has made nor treat me with complete disrespect. 
We had a another swearing and yelling session last night. He took off his wedding band and threw it violently across the floor! His yelling is getting louder and louder and he is swearing a lot more at me now than before!  
I have recently bought a place, (he couldnt buy with me as he was tied to a mortgage with the mother of his son), he has threatened to walk out on me atleast six times since we moved into the new place, which has only been about five weeks!!! I feel he knows that i am financially tied to the property and would struggle to cope on my own, so the threats have become more frequent. I am almost 40 years now and in my whole life no one has every verbally abused me the way my husband does. Its so sad because i miss the early days when he had so much respect for me. I cannot say anything in the fear of being yelled at and sworn at! I dont know what to do!
Posted @ Friday, November 02, 2012 9:10 AM by Gallila
i have been married for 13 years i have 2 kids 8 and 10. my husband has always been jealous and says horrible stuff in front of my kids i was always faitful. Recently i got fed up at 29. I told him i wanted to get a seperation or a divorce. I have been a stay at home mom. I am 30 but he has called me like 1000s time in 1 day threatining his life. And last night he was threating to kill me my so call lover and himself. This was like 30 messages about me and how they told him to come murder me and blah but he never used to act like this tell i said i wanted divorce. I tried staying with my sister so he can spend time with kids sense he works away from home for 14 days. THough he was at home 2 years with messed up back. And i knew i didnt want to be with him cause of the hurtful things he has said to me. Liek i just want to be good mom but when he is gone he cant not get drunk and harras me all night. My mom and dad wanty me to get a restraining order. But it is really hard for me to do becase my kids love there dad:( But he wont stop saying horrible stuff to be. hes always writing me how he beating men up at bars and stuff i feel like i am lost. Its almost Christmas. And all i want to do is make him stop harassing me all night. I am getting scared theere is so much i left out but i feel like im numb in my head. When i try to stay somewhere he harasses them tell i have to go home so they dont deal with this stress.
Posted @ Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:40 PM by jam
I ve being married for 12yrs with 4 kids.my husband always calls a fool,he threatens to send me away. Because of my marriage to him I didn't go to the university so I don't work,I depend on him for everything. He doesn't care about my feelings and he demoralises me and tells the kids that they ve no future with me. Am so helpless and a liability. What do I do
Posted @ Wednesday, January 09, 2013 7:06 AM by Emilia Peter
Posted @ Sunday, July 06, 2014 2:36 AM by Dori
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