If your partner likes to call you ugly names or calls you sweet things but in a sarcastic, ugly tone of voice, then you are verbally abused.
Patricia Evans explains that when abusers engage in name-calling, they’re saying, “You do not exist. I annihilated you … Now that you are wiped out, I’m in control, just like in a war.”
How My Husband Uses Name Calling
My husband calls me names for two reasons, I think. One reason is to humiliate me. The other is to deny my existence to himself. In his mind, the best way to stay in complete control is to erase from existence the one questioning him – me.
I’d like to add that when we are going through a string of arguments or abusive conversations (aka, “bad days”), he doesn’t use my name at all. He doesn’t call me “Kellie” for days. He’ll refer to me as “your daughter-in-law,” “your mother,” “you,” or any other way he can EXCEPT by saying my name. I may be worth something to someone else, but I am NOTHING to him.
How to React to Name Calling
If your partner calls you a bad name, stop what you’re doing, turn to them and say, “Do not ever call me that name again!” as forcefully as you can muster.
You do not have to explain why or give them a word to use instead of the offending one. You do not have to answer their question of “Well, okay, but what do you call it when someone [does whatever they think you did to justify the name-calling]. There is no justification for name-calling no matter what you did or didn’t do.
Remember that these statements are to help you feel better and detach from your abuser’s antics. They do not guarantee that your abuser will stop abusing you, nor do they protect you from further abuse. You should fill out a safety plan so you know what you will do if things get out of hand.
Other Types of Verbal Abuse
- Abuse Disguised as a Joke
- Abusive Anger
- Accusing & Blaming
- Blocking and Diverting
- Deprivation or Withholding
- Judging and Criticizing
- Ordering & Demanding
- Threatening Behavior And Words
Based on the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, ISBN 1558503048, Adams Media, February 2003 and my experiences with verbal abuse.