“You idiot, now you have made me angry! You’re stupid! You
are useless! No wonder you are fat. Look how you cleaned your plate!”
Sound familiar? Yes, you are being verbally abused! But you don’t
have to take it anymore!
Many people who call for a consultation have no idea that they are in a
verbally abusive relationship. They know that something is wrong, they
are sad, diminished, and lost but they can't put their finger on it.
For over 35 years as a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator,
I can identify verbal abuse by asking questions and observing reactions.
I can also provide support and help you find solutions.
Verbal abuse often happens out of nowhere in a relationship. It’s
calculating and manipulative. You find yourself thinking you are over-reacting
or blaming yourself.
Verbal abuse happens in private where no one can intervene and eventually
it becomes a regular way of communicating. For someone experiencing the
abuse, it is isolating and demeaning. You live in fear and secret, often
embarrassed to tell a friend or family.
Verbal abuse is subtle and insidious. It includes some of these behaviors:
1.) Threatening - “I will hurt myself if you leave me.”
2.) Criticizing; - “Why are you so disorganized? It’s because
of you I can never find anything!”
3.) Demeaning - “You look fat in that dress!”
4.) Name-calling - “You are dumb!”
5.) Manipulation - “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t make
6.) Blame - “It’s your fault we are never on time!”
7.) Accusations -“I bet you’re cheating on me!”
8.) Gas-lighting - “Why are you so sensitive to everything?”
Verbal abuse is intended to and usually does manipulate and control the victim.
The abuse often starts after the courtship is over and the marriage has
begun. It has a sociopathic, narcissistic overtone to it.
In my divorce/mediation practice, I have seen some fortunate individuals
who recognize what is going on early in the relationship and decide not
to put up with it. Others are captured by the abuser and exhibit the Stockholm
Syndrome, supporting the spouse in the mistreatment.
I can usually tell when someone has been the victim of verbal abuse. Unfortunately,
it is very common, especially now during the pandemic.
Often, I recommend a therapist to participate in the divorce process for
clients who are amenable. Frequently, it takes a long time for victims
to be able to do anything to extricate themselves from an abusive situation.
But it is possible!
What to do?
If you think you are being abused, trust yourself!
There is no single solution, but I suggest:
1. Set some boundaries, refuse to engage;
2. Tell them you will not accept the abuse;
3. Don’t engage in the arguments, walk away;
4. Limit your time with them;
5. When you are strong enough to cut ties, do it!
It takes time to heal. But you can and you will!
Reach out to supportive friends and family. But don’t isolate yourself.
Start planning your exit strategy. Focus on the steps you can take to
remove yourself from an abusive marriage.
If you think you are being controlled with words and feeling uncomfortable
with your partner and don't know quite why, call me for a free consultation.
Don’t let fear paralyze you. All you need is some compassion and
a strong support system of professionals to move you towards a healthier,
If you are looking for an excellent book on this subject I often recommend
"The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. You may
want to take a look at it!
During the COVID-19 pandemic all our
FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conveniently and discreetly conducted virtually to reduce risk.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You don’t deserve
to be abused, even if you are made to feel you do! I’m here to help!
Stay healthy and safe!
If you are in an abusive marriage, call Divorce Attorney and Mediator Lois
Brenner for a free and discreet consultation.
We still have a few free consultations available this week.