Your best ammunition against abuse is knowing the answer to What Is Verbal Abuse? If you can say to yourself, “Hey! That’s abuse!” then you’ll more easily dismiss the ugly words and get out of emotional or physical danger. Safety planning can help protect you against things abusers say and do.
The things abusers say and do are designed to control you. Whether abusers say and do these things knowingly or unconsciously, the result is the same: you feel lower than dirt, or become afraid and intimidated. In your weakened state, your abuser finds it much easier to gain power over you.
The following statements and actions are common things abusers say and do.
- Idiot, Stupid Cunt, Go sit in the corner where you belong (dunce)
- Crazy Bitch, Psycho
- Whore, Slut
- Heartless Ho
- Says “woman” or “man” in a sarcastic tone or demeaning tone.
- On the flip side, he or she may refuse to say your name at all to deny your existence
- “It is none of your fucking business.”
- “Why don’t you fucking leave?” or “Get the fuck out of my house.”
- “Shut up”
- Says “I don’t care about your feelings.”
- Often leaves you hanging when they promised to do something with you.
- Consistently puts their desires and schedule above yours.
- Breaks up often then comes running back, begging forgiveness.
- Interrupts you when you’re talking.
Tells You What You’re Doing (But Is Incorrect)
- “Yes, why don’t you stuff your feelings inside.”
- “You’ve got your priorities screwed up.”
- “Stop being a drama queen!”
- “Stop crying – we both know you’re faking it to get your way!”
- Tells you what your intentions are, what you intend to do, what you really meant when you said/did something.
Plays Word Games
- Interrupts you when you’re talking.
- Repeats “your exact words” but takes them out of context or makes up something that you did not say or mean.
- Challenges you to remember “exact words” but you can’t (or tells you you’re wrong) because the conversation is so confusing you don’t know exactly what he’s talking about anymore.
- Changes the subject to divert your attention.
- Tells you what you really mean to say.
- Drones on for hours, repeating the same points, getting no where, until you’re so exhausted you want to agree just to get them to be quiet (brainwashing).
- Re-defines words to mean what he or she wants them to mean.
- Denies saying what they said (even if you’re playing it back to him from a digital recorder, they may deny meaning what they obviously meant).
- Uses tricks like abusive anger to get you to be quiet or listen.
Tries to Appear Better Than You
- “You have no money; without me you’d be lost.”
- “At least I have a job.”.
- “You know nothing about the real world!”
- “At least I know how to make friends that matter.”
Insults People And Pets You Love
- “Why don’t you leave, have your geriatric dog leave too and I hope he falls dead.”
- “Your mother left your dad to chase cock and you’re going to do the same to me!”
- “I hope your dog gets killed in the road right in front of you!”
- Uses threatening gestures toward your pets.
- “Your kid is such a sissy!”
- “I’m really concerned that your sister will influence you to be a bitch like she is.”
- Uses racial slurs because he knows you don’t like them.
Sexual Insults And Injuries
- Makes you wear revealing clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- “You were just a good fuck.”
- “Would you like to suck my cock one more time before you go?” (especially when you’re upset about his treatment of you)
- Yes, you do have a nice ass, but so did the girls ass that I checked out and the girls on the porn film.
- Turns his or her back to you while laying in bed to show a withdrawal of affection.
- Lies incessantly, even when faced with proof, about pornography viewing or cheating.
- Makes you feel “dirty” during or after sex with comments he or she knows you don’t like.
- Tells you to go to a party alone and then insults you, withdraws, or sexually assaults you when you come home.
- Knows the meaning and value that you tie with having sex, but breaks up with you right after sex saying s/he lied about his feelings to get you into bed. Changes his mind later, has sex, repeat.
- Uses crude names for a woman’s body parts and knows you do not like them.
Insults Your Ideas and Dreams
- The churches, restaurants, movies, etc. that you choose are not good enough.
- Your career interests are “fluffy” or not real jobs.
- Insults the gifts you give or acts disinterested.
- “That is never going to work.”
- Mocks and makes fun of you.
Does Not Care About Your Medical Issues
- You’re hurt after a fight with him and say you should go to the Emergency Room…the abuser’s response is “Quit your whining and crying and leave”.
- Major medical issue comes up and the abuser unavailable to comfort you or just disappears.
- Acts like a $10 co-pay for your doctor visit is going to break the bank.
- Makes fun of your medications (happy pills, crazy pills, etc.)
- Tells you that depression is in your head and if you appreciated them like you should you wouldn’t be such a sad sack.
Thoughtless of Your Needs
- Makes lunch for him or herself without asking if you want any (on purpose).
- Doesn’t help with the kids or household chores.
- Does not ask you about your day.
- Does not start and/or engage in thoughtful communication.
- Keeps you up all night “talking” or raging. Interrupts your sleep for tiny things they could handle alone.
Gifts Are Not From the Heart or Used As Tools
- Gifts that did NOT come from the heart, isn’t wrapped, has a price tag on it, tossed at you with no emotion but scorn, etc.
- Gifts given after fights to initiate your forgiveness.
- Ignores (“forgets”) your birthday or holidays that are special to you.
Disrespects Your Belongings
- Destroys things that are important to you.
- Destroys or makes you destroy pictures, diaries, letters, or anything else of sentimental value from before the relationship with you.
- Throws away your clothes that either you love or the abuser hates.
- Gaslighting (purposely moves your things or changes your environment and then denies doing it).
- Hides your personal belongings and denies knowing where they are.
- Steals your jewelry, pawns it, then brings another piece home to place in your jewelry box and pretends it is the missing piece.
- Insists you promised to do something that you know you didn’t promise.
- Engages in crazy making behaviors at your expense.
Withholds Financial Information or Money
- Demands that you shop for the household but doesn’t give you enough money to cover necessities.
- Makes you give them your paycheck.
- Doesn’t give you access to the bank accounts.
- Makes you believe that you cannot budget or save, that you waste money, or generally cannot figure out how to handle your financial matters.
- Gives you complete access to the bank accounts and allows you to make financial decisions, but uses your decisions as a tool to verbally and mentally abuse you.
- Closes joint bank accounts with no notice.
- Finds a way to close your bank accounts using your passwords and security information.
Threatens Or Intimidates You
- “Maybe I should just do pot, porn and date other woman and then maybe you will leave me.”
- “I should run you through the wood chipper out there!”
- “If you don’t shut your ever-runnin’ mouth,…”
- Says “This is YOU!” and hits something or says nothing but you know he’s hitting things to scare you.
- Jerks the steering wheel from you when you’re driving or drives like a crazy person with you in the car.
- Spits on you.
- Threatens to take you to court over issues he’ll know he’ll lose, but be able to waste your time anyway.
- Seeks attention by threatening suicide. Intimidates you into doing things by threatening suicide.
Abandons And/Or Threatens to Abandon You Physically
- Pushes you out of the car and leaves you in a strange place without your personal effects (i.e. cell phone, purse, wallet).
- Takes you to their family’s home far away and then leaves you at their mother’s house for two days while partying with cousins.
- “Maybe I just won’t come home tonight!”
- “I’ll take our kids and leave you on the street!”
Physically Insults or Assaults You
- Spits on you.
- Blocks your exit.
- Drags you.
- Grabs you and makes you stay in one place.
- Hits, punches, or slaps you.
- Kicks you.
- Makes you hold pillows so they can “practice” fighting/self-defense.
- Pinches you or squeezes you too tightly.
- Chokes you or puts you in a position where they could easily choke you.
You should share what you’ve heard or seen from your abuser in the comments below.