A Verbally Abusive Relationship may not cause bodily harm, but it may have a more lasting effect on your mental health. Here are the signs you may be a victim of verbal abuse.

1. You never “pass the test”.
You often feel dumb, or like an annoyance when you are with your partner. Often, you are scolded or put down for your choice of clothing, opinions, feelings, or even when doing the things you love to do like cook or paint. He/she makes you feel incompetent or unattractive when you are just being yourself.

2. All fingers point to YOU.
It’s YOUR fault his friends got mad at him. It’s YOUR fault she lost her job. It’s YOUR fault he is sick, depressed, or has low self-esteem. You seem to be “to blame” for all his/her problems in life when the problems you are being blamed for seem to have nothing to do with your actions. He/she can’t take responsibility for their problem, so they turn the blame on you.

Young woman about to cry after having a fight with her boyfriend

3. You are walking on eggshells.
You are scared to ask a question about the water bill because he/she will start yelling, arguing and blaming you for being “too stupid to figure it out yourself.” You don’t want to “bother” him/her with your problems or feelings because he/she will just start calling you names or put you down for being weak, incompetent, or whiny. If you start crying around him, he will put you down for being “overly sensitive” or for being a “baby.” You feel like you have to put on a happy act so he/she will leave you alone and not be mean.

4. No one knows
In public, he/she talks you up and makes it seem that you are one happy couple, but in private, it’s a different story. He/she is mean, distant, puts you down and makes you feel unloved.

5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
One minute he/she is an angel: Saying loving things, buying you gifts, treating you like the most special person alive, but that can all change in a second flat. One wrong move and BAM! You are being screamed at, belittled, or rejected for “upsetting them” when all you did was spill a glass of water, forget to put the dog out or burn the lasagna.

6. You cry more than you laugh.
Do you find yourself crying about him more than laughing with him? Do you dread seeing her for fear of her going off on you and making you miserable? It seems that your relationship has gone from excitement, romance, and happiness, to fear, tears and constant stress.

abusive relationship

7. An outing in the park is NOT a “walk in the park”.
You have grown to dread going on an outing or a vacation with your partner, for fear you will end up “stuck” out there with his/her hurtful words and blame, with nowhere to escape. You can’t seem to simply enjoy life with this person because no matter what, something is said or done that makes him/her get mad or humiliate you in front of other people for your “incompetence” or failure to please him/her.

8. There’s an endless cycle of good and bad.
He yells at you and puts you down as a person for not living up to his expectations, and makes you cry. Later he comes back with a diamond necklace and a mountain of apologies and promises never to treat you that way again. Then a few days later, you mention that you miss him and want to spend more time with him. He starts blaming you for being “ungrateful and spoiled” and says how he buys you special things and does all this good for you when you do nothing, but treat him like a piece of garbage. Then he apologizes later that day and makes promises and excuses for his behavior…which he later forgets and does all over again…see the cycle? This is an abusive cycle that will never end.

abusive relationship

9. You are a victim of “Gaslighting”.
This is where he or she will twist the story, to make it seem like you are to blame, when you are obviously not, making you feel like you are losing your mind. For instance: “You screamed your head off at me when I was talking calmly,” when it was precisely the opposite. He/she drills this into your mind until you feel like you may be going crazy. You start to believe that YOU are the one causing problems in the relationship. This is meant to mess with your mind and manipulate you into a habit of blaming yourself for everything, so he/she can keep his/her nose (clean). This is a mind-breaking occurrence, but you are NOT crazy.

10. Words cut deep.

“I’d make love to you more if you weren’t so fat”.

“This spaghetti tastes awful. Why didn’t you put any meat in this?”

“Why do you always play that guitar? You’re not even that good at it”.

“No wonder you didn’t get that job! You can’t even follow a simple direction!”
“You better be glad I put up with you. No other guy would”.

“That’s it, we are going home. You can’t dance, and you embarrassed me in front of my friends”.

It doesn’t matter what is said, if it makes you feel stupid, ugly, unlikeable, intolerable, untalented, or simply unloved, this is verbal abuse.

WHAT TO DO:
Realize that someone who is verbally abusive WILL NOT CHANGE. They may promise, beg, make excuses for their actions and make up for it with gifts, sex or apologies, but they will soon cycle back around to hurting you again. The only thing that can help a verbal abuser is the willpower to change themselves along with lots of psychotherapy. Do NOT try to change them because they won’t change for you, and if they claim to change for you, they will later resent you for it and re-start the abusive pattern all over again. In most cases, verbal abuse over time leads to physical abuse, because when words no longer satisfy their need to abuse, swinging body parts come into action.

If you are in a verbally abusive relationship, the best thing to do is to LEAVE. No matter how much you love this person, they will continue to treat you badly, destroying your confidence, strength, and happiness that you used to have. You deserve a man/woman who will treat you with love and care. NOBODY “deserves” to be in an abusive relationship. If getting out of the relationship could be risky or put your life in danger of retaliation, call a local abuse hotline, the police, or stay at a trusted family member’s house until you feel safe. Need more information or not sure where to turn? Please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline at http://www.thehotline.org/