Nobody deserves to be in a verbally abusive relationship. Not only do they take a toll on you mentally, but they put you in a dangerous mindset that can derail other things in your life. The worst part about these types of relationships is that most people have no idea they’re in them.
I know you may be thinking that you’d probably know if you were being verbally abused, but sometimes the manipulation is so strong that you just don’t see it. The abuse can seem subtle but the effects will be harmful and lasting.
The long-term effects of verbal abuse can be extensive
There are a lot of people who don’t think verbal abuse is even that harmful. They figure that a person can just ignore harmful comments, but that’s simply not true. When someone is verbally abusive, they’re emotionally damaging the other person.
This isn’t a matter of, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you.” Words hurt people in the most severe way. They harm their psyche. Those words leave lasting scars on a person’s mental health that can sometimes never heal. [Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking]
Knowing the signs of a verbally abusive relationship can help put an end to it
No one should ever have to live with being verbally abused. But if they don’t know it’s happening to them, how can they end it? Here are the signs of a verbally abusive relationship to keep an eye out for not only for yourself, but for the important people in your life. Once you know the signs, you can put an end to the abuse for good.
#1 Obvious insults. A verbally abusive partner will make clear insults. You won’t have to guess if it’s an insult because it’ll feel like a punch to the gut – from someone you care about. Anything like, “Why are you so stupid?” is a clear sign of a verbally abusive relationship and you shouldn’t put up with it. [Read: 33 creative insults to insult someone with sarcasm]
#2 Backhanded insults. These are the types of insults that’ll be a little harder to pinpoint. Basically, they’ll be comments that you’ll end up thinking about later in the day and you’ll get upset about them.
Your partner may say something like, “great to see you’re finally taking care of yourself,” after you just returned from the gym. These might seem like compliments, but they’re clearly meant as a negative.
#3 Manipulation. Any form of manipulation is abuse in a relationship. The thing about this is that it’s the hardest to figure out. It’s not easy to spot because you’re being manipulated to not see it. If your partner is saying anything like, “Wow, you really seem to like those shoes. Wouldn’t you rather wear them less so they don’t get worn out?” it’s manipulation.
When they try to get you to do something for them while trying to make you think it’s a good idea for you, it’s manipulation and it’s wrong. [Read: 12 subtle signs you’re being manipulated in your relationship]
#4 Making fun of your beliefs, hobbies, etc. There are so many people who do this to their partner and it’s really, really harmful. Your significant other should never put down the things that make you who you are. If they’re “poking fun” at your hobbies and beliefs, it’s verbal abuse.
#5 Negative comments about a group you belong to. This can be a wide variety of things specifically like race, religious, groups, and more. The thing that makes this less obvious is when they add, “But I don’t mean that about you.” However, they do mean it about you and it’ll resonate in your mind in that way.
#6 Negative comments about stuff or people you love. This is most commonly seen when your partner is talking about your family or some object that means a lot to you. If they make any negative comments about stuff that means a lot to you, it’s verbal abuse. [Read: How to deal with negative people in your life]
#7 Indirect comments that make you feel stupid or inadequate. If you walk away from a conversation with your significant other and feel stupid and inadequate, then they’re verbally abusing you with what they say. You should never feel this way and if they make you, it’s abuse.
#8 You feel nervous when entering a discussion. This is most common after someone has been in a verbally abusive relationship for a long time. They just don’t realize it. If you never want to get into discussions or arguments, it’s abuse.
#9 Your side of an argument is never addressed. When you do get into heated discussions and fights and your side is never addressed, it’s abuse. Usually, you don’t even get the chance to defend yourself because your partner is shutting down your thoughts with their harmful words. Then you give up. It’s verbal abuse if this is happening. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts to remember in relationship arguments]
#10 Your self-esteem is significantly lower than when you started dating. Access how you feel about yourself versus how you felt in the beginning of your relationship. Are you more skittish around them? Do you hold your tongue when you have an opinion? If that’s the case, you’ve been verbally abused for a while.
How to get out of a verbally abusive relationship
Nobody should stay with a person who is verbally abusing them. Not only are they being abusive, they’re harming the other’s mental health and well-being. If you realized – after reading the above signs – that you’re in a relationship like this, here’s how you can get out. [Read: How to get out of an abusive relationship with a step-by-step guide]
#1 Confide in someone you can trust. Go to a close friend or family member who will support you. This is not an easy process and having someone be there every step of the way will give you the confidence you need to pack your bags and get out.
#2 Discuss it with the abuser. Sit your partner down and have a lengthy, firm discussion with them. Sometimes, the abuser is unaware of the negative effects of their comments. Truthfully, that’s absolutely no excuse.
So sit them down and talk about how they make you feel with their horrible comments toward you. If they refuse to hear you out, leave them for good.
#3 Seek professional help if you don’t want to leave. This is only ever okay if you’re married and have a family. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to stay with the person who is ruining your self-esteem and mental health.
A professional can help the two of you talk through the issue in a safe and controlled environment. You’ll get to say your part and they’ll be forced to actually listen for once. [Read: 16 signs it’s time to move on and end the relationship]
#4 Be honest with yourself about their ability to change. Sit yourself down and be honest. Will they really change and stop the verbal abuse? If you can’t see that end, then you should do yourself a favor and leave them.
#5 Leave and cut off all communication. This will be hard. Many people are in a verbally abusive relationship because they’re not the type to stand up for themselves. That’s how their partner was able to take over and act this way in the first place.
And that’s okay. Not everyone has a dominant, aggressive personality. But you need to pick yourself up and leave. Cut off every form of communication possible. Change your number if you have to.
If you ever fear that a confrontation or your leaving may result in any other form of abuse, including physical or sexual, please bring a family member with you and call an abuse helpline.
[Read: 15 signs of an emotionally abusive relationship you can’t miss]
Being in a verbally abusive relationship isn’t good for anyone. If you’re able to spot the signs, you should get out of that relationship and save yourself some hardships.
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