Types of verbal abuse range from full on anger to forgetting on purpose. Even the silent treatment is a type of verbal abuse! Verbal abusers use several other sneaky tactics to abuse and control their victims, too. Patricia Evans, author of many books about verbal abuse, defines several ways in which abusers control their victims. Recognizing verbal abuse is the first step to overcoming its effects and regaining your mental health.
The types of verbal abuse, used in combination by an abuser, forms the building blocks of crazy-making and makes domestic abuse in all its forms possible. Crazy making occurs when a victim is a victim without realizing they are a victim.
What?! Yes, crazy making twists words and actions around in so many ways that the victim of abuse doesn’t realize s/he is manipulated and abused. When the victim feels confused in this way, she waits intently for clarity from the abuser. When the abuser offers his or her version of clarity it is often so welcome to the victim that she accepts the explanation without question.
No matter how stupid and illogical the abuser’s explanation, the victim plugs it into her brain and believes it holds the key to her sanity. She feels as if she understands her partner better, and increases her feelings of intimacy toward him. Even though the abuser fed her a hot, steamy bowl of crap, she accepts it as gratefully as if it were chocolate ice cream offered during PMS.
Male victims suffer the same reactions. When the abuser releases her victim from the conversation, the victim may come to wonder things like, “What just happened?” and “Wait a minute…that doesn’t make much sense.” He may also think, “Wow, I really am a horrible husband,” and suffer guilt for doing some very imaginary things to the abuser. The abuser can make you question if you are the abuser!
Or perhaps the victim finds himself consoling his abuser who, of course, is now so hurt that she’s indulging in some crocodile tears and just can’t understand why he is so indifferent to her feelings!
Crazy Making And The Types of Verbal Abuse Go Hand-In-Hand
These reactions also occur after verbal abuse. The types of verbal abuse, taken together or even one or two at a time, constitute not only crazy making, but the basis for every abusive relationship. Once you can recognize abuse as it happens, you will no longer be a victim. You will become a survivor.
Patricia Evans offers a whole new understanding of domestic abuse, and I suggest you click the links below to compare notes with me. See if your partner uses these abusive and coercive tools too. Remember, recognizing domestic abuse is one of the most valuable skills you can develop. If you don’t recognize abuse when it happens, you cannot control your reaction to it. Download this worksheet to help you figure out how abuse happens to you.
*The categories listed above are from the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond by Patricia Evans, ISBN 1558505822, Adams Media Corporation, 1996. I highly recommend reading this book!