Effects of Abuse Video and List – How You Might Feel If You’re Abused

The effects of abuse cause you to feel unlike your former self. You feel almost dead inside, not knowing which way to turn to make things right again.The victim of a verbally abusive person slowly loses her Self. The side effects of verbal abuse (and emotional or mental abuse) eat you from the inside out; you become hollow before you realize how awful life became.

I doubt my ability to mother my children and how to clean the floor (as if the two were of the same importance). I live in a constant state of uncertainty. The world seems unsafe – the rules spontaneously change. I suffer stress headaches, irritability, and fatigue.

I am super-critical of myself to the point of decision-making paralysis. I would rather ask my husband and let him decide. The abuse I experience from my incompetence seems preferable to that from a wrong decision. I weigh my actions against what I suspect his reaction will be. I try to read his mind but ignore my own.

My abuser’s preferences have replaced my morality, thinking and way of doing things. I am more him than me. I wasn’t always like this. The abuse is bad, but the things I’ve allowed to change in my mind and heart are horrid.

It’s a disgusting and soul-killing way to live.

Effects of Verbal Abuse List

(List written by Patricia Evans, comments mine)

A verbal abuse victim often…

… distrusts her spontaneity

One time when we were dating, I turned the space heater on in my barracks room, put on my bikini, and painted an ocean scene on my midsection. I had a picnic basket and two beach towels laid out on the floor. He loved it! I concocted a similar scheme a month after we married and he told me to stop being silly and act like a married woman.

… suffers a loss of enthusiasm

The last time I got excited about something I’d done for the Woman’s Club (which preserves three historical buildings), he said something like, “I don’t see why you’re so excited – it’s just a club full of old women.” This after his complaints that “You do nothing at all! You have no life!”

… lives in a perpetually in a ready, on-guard state

When I hear his ring-tone or see his white truck enter the drive, my stomach sinks and I brace myself. Is he in a good mood? Can I talk to him about xyz tonight? Should I tell him about what his son did or wait until another night? Will he be nice or not?! I wonder if he’ll tell me why he’s late or if I should ask…

… wonders about how she is coming across

I constantly search for the “right” word. Right now, the “wrong” words are “extra money.” My vocabulary is always off in some way. “You didn’t SAY that,” is one of his favorite phrases. This uncertainty also extends to my habit of over-explaining things to him or saying the same thing three different ways in hope of getting my message across.

… thinks and feels that something is wrong with her

I used to think I was the problem. Whether it was because of the rapes, or harbored some unrecognized issue from childhood, or became “warped in the head” (his words), I was ready to blame myself, find the problem, and fix it once and for all. I’ve spent years searching for “the problem.” [see Are You A Great Candidate for Brainwashing?]

Today, I know I am not perfect, but I also realize that there are no buried issues within me causing me to act and react in relationship-killing ways. My main problem is one I cannot fix because it lies within HIM, not me. I have choices on how I can deal with the problem, but I cannot FIX it.

… soul-searches and reviews incidents in hope of determining “what went wrong”

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I did or said to trigger an abusive outbreak. For example, “extra money” is a phrase I avoid because at some point I decided that those words were the trigger to an outbreak.

What I’m learning is that “it is the perpetrator – not substance abuse, not the victim, not the relationship – that causes domestic violence.” I can attempt to decipher what I did or said THIS TIME to “cause” the outbreak, but I’m learning that the exact same actions or words next time around may have no effect.

No amount of changing MYSELF is going to solve this problem. I’m wasting my time trying to fix something I cannot repair.

… experiences a loss of self-confidence

Right now, as of January 2009, I am rebuilding my confidence. My latest concern is if I could repay student loans or not. I’m going to have to stop the negative self-talk and worry about “what-ifs” that plague me.

There was a time where I felt my gifts and abilities were worth more than the cost of college. I was under no self-doubt or worry. I KNEW I was capable. My goal is to return to THAT way of thinking. To do so, I will have to redefine my abilities for what they are – God-given talents that will successfully lead me to a life of abundance.

… harbors a growing self-doubt

When I met my husband, there was nothing I couldn’t do. Over the years, I have doubted everything from my artistic ability to my ability to cook toasted cheese sandwiches. It was really serious the day I couldn’t make a toasted cheese sandwich! I felt like that was it – if I couldn’t do that, then what kind of mother could I really be?!

… hears only her internalized “critical voice”

In part, I think this is why my angels came to me. I couldn’t say something nice about myself, I couldn’t be my own best counselor, so they came. Some of you might say that my angels were the subconscious bit of me I needed to hear. You can say that if you choose. However, I believe in miracles. I believe in angels. And I believe they rescued me.

… wonders why she isn’t happier and feels that she should be

Constantly. I have and had a “good life”. Shoot, Will told me so all the time. I simply don’t appreciate anyone or anything in my life. I am ungrateful. I am selfish. Well, that’s what he said anyway.

I thought I was “missing” something – I didn’t realize that I was under his control, manipulated, and surviving constant anxiety.

… suffers from anxiety or fear of being crazy

Holy crap. The day I had my first panic attack I called my sister and begged her to come get the boys. I wanted to call Will at work so he could take me to the hospital and put me away. Fortunately (?) most of the time depression gripped me, not panic. I didn’t say I felt crazy because when I wanted to talk about it, Will got angry with me for being unappreciative of what he did for our family.

… senses that time is passing and she is missing something

I am so happy that I do not feel this way anymore. I was anxious that I “should” be doing more or just BE more. I was missing out on life. I felt imprisoned. Now I realize my prison was one of words and ideas. Writing helps break the chains.

… wishes she was not the way she is – “too sensitive”, etc.

Yep. I’ve worshipped at the feet of Will, thinking that if I could be like him, then I wouldn’t have emotional issues. I told him he was my hero. I’m glad that I never turned into him. He lacks empathy and has appears to have no emotional issues at all. But what would I have to sacrifice to be that way?

… is hesitant to accept her perceptions

My insights and intuition are strong and usually right on the money. (Was that me who just wrote that?! YAY!) Will has spent a lot of time convincing me that I could not and do not function in the “real world” effectively.

… sometimes or usually has a wish to escape or run away

Not physically run away until recently. But I have spent A LOT of time in my own head, reworking my perceptions and thoughts to fit the life I wanted instead of the life I have.

… believes that what she does best may be what she does worst

What do I do best? I’m not sure.

… tends to live in the future – “Everything will be great when/after”, etc.

I did believe that when Will stopped drinking that all of our problems would disappear. That did not happen, so I started blaming myself. I figured that he overcame his flaw, so whatever problems we had leftover were because of me.

… has a distrust of future relationships

I distrust my ability to be a worthy friend. I’ve never really considered having a relationship with another man, but I’ve avoided potential friends because I was afraid I would let them down. I suppose I distrust myself more than anyone else.

But then, if I do leave Will, I can’t see myself getting involved with anyone else. Too much trouble.

Check out more Dangers of Abuse


how i got out of an abusive relationship*Note: I divorced my abusive husband in 2011 and I am now involved with a loving man! Love after abuse happens! The side effects of verbal abuse recur less often now, but I combat them with the abundant energy I have now that Will isn’t sucking it out of me. You should sign up for our newsletter to find out how I did it!

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  1. Mary Coen says:

    “You don’t live in the REAL world”, appears to be a common put down by these men who like to believe they are of superior intelligence. I’d happily wager they have a lot in common, ranging from a penchant for pornography and BDSM to alcohol. Also they appear to cherry pick their partners, preferring bright, talented women whom they can gradually denigrate to the point she losses all faith in herself. There would be no challenge in picking someone who was a walkover from day one. They also like their partners to reflect well on their image as perceived by society.

    Excellent articles here with terrific insights into how an abuser can brain wash the victim.

    These issues need to be highlighted as there is a lot of hidden abuse within marriage and even though men are often the abusers, it is not always the case.

    Delighted you got out Patricia;- keep loving yourself and know you are not alone. You are brave to speak out. Hopefully we can eventually lift the lid on this and come together as women in offering loving support in a global sense. You guys have already set the wheels in motion.

    Many blessings, Mary

  2. Wonderful article…..sickening to read, because it mirrors my life! I am trying to get out…so much easier said than done!! I have 3 beautiful children who are, also, being manipulated by this idiot on a daily basis,,,,say a little prayer for us to break free!!!

  3. Breaking Free says:

    To any women out there that are thinking about leaving. Be sure you make a plan! They won’t just let you walk out. I never got ALL my personal belongings back and still am trying to truly break free. But me an my boys don’t live there any more. One of the main reasons being that he wouldn’t let me come back.

    Luckily growing up in an domestic violent home I always kept my finances separate. I have my own job so I keep my own money. I realize some women might no have this luxury. Save money anyway – even if it’s just enough to get a hotel for a couple nights or a bus/taxi to a friends house. Get a prepaid cell phone – he will shut your phone off at least mine did. Buy a gas card/grocery card from Fry’s to get food and gas if you ever need it. Most likely those credit cards and debit cards will be cancelled – reported stolen. They will so what ever they can to make you suffer. Then try to apologize or blame you for leaving. It’s still my fault I left according to him.

    I love my husband – but he has some real issues and I couldn’t deal with the torment anymore. I just don’t deserved to be treated this way and deserve better! I was astonished when I read the qualities in women that are great candidates to be brainwashed. I see my self as an intelligent woman, motivated, strong willed, mentally strong, confident, emotionally capable.

    This man gradually turned me into the person I was into a scared little girl that beckoned at his every demand! Oh yeah, great guy full of charisma but not when we were at home alone. He would even hide his evil side in front of my kids. When I exposed the beast to my kids he was furious – blaming me for them not liking him and the way he was treating me. I had to escape for the best interest of my kids – but also for myself! I decided at one point that it wasn’t right for me to allow myself to go through this and to put my kids through the pain of watching it. At one point my son went to live with my mother because he built up so much anger towards him. He was living with my mom when I left with my younger son.

    When we left my older son came back home with me. It hasn’t been easy but I am slowly building my confidence back. I believe God brought me to this site to confirm that I am a victim of verbal abuse and need to keep on with the path I am on right now. I live with some friends from church that room mate with me and my kids. We aren’t totally on our own yet. But, I can pay my part of the rent and utilities. We help each other and it’s been a blessing to both of our families.

    There are great organizations out there that will help you. Where I live the organization that helped me was EMERGE! Make sure what every you do to leave in a manner that is SAFE for you and your kids. Break free and forget about personal belongings. Get important documents together ss cards, birth certificates, checks, debit cards. Even open a separate account and save up if you can. Do your research and realize that no everyone know about verbal abuse and will be able to help you. I went to a church leader to discuss the matter with my husband. He told me that I needed to stop saying I am being abused. I think it’s because in his mind abuse meant being physically abused. He is still one of the Pastors at that church I attend and I do not hold any anger towards him for not being able to help me. But, just realize that people that don’t know about verbal abuse may dismiss it when it’s a real valid issue.

    My sister and her unborn child was murdered by an abusive boyfriend. I grew up in an abusive home (domestic violence, drug use, alcohol) so trust me I know. The problem for most people that grow up the way I did is that this kind of environment is normal! But, my kids did not grow up in this kind of environment and the impact it had on them the short amount of time they lived with this man was very evident. So much that my teenage boys say they will never get married. (Note: The boys are not his, they are from my previous marriage). I was divorced by my ex-husband. He abandoned me any my boys (7 and 9 years old at the time). Found out just last year that he was having an affair at work and married the woman after leaving us. There are entirely different story in that. But, my point is there is no reason to be abused. If you are a Christian don’t think you have to stay! God does not want you to be abused – leave be separated! Live in peace – you don’t have to go get married or get a divorce. My first marriage I refused to sign the divorce papers because I was a Christian. But then I read, 1Corinthians 7:15 “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” In this last instance, I felt the same way about leaving. Figured I needed to stand by my husbands side, but after leaving a few days and trying to come back and being locked out of my home. To his surprise, I got my own little studio for a month before getting help from Emerge and moving into the house with my roommates.

    I came to a point where I realized I needed to stay out of that situation. No one deserves to live tormented every day of their life. God showed me it was okay for me to leave. The scripture 1Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” It’s interesting to me that I came across this website. i was actually listening to verbally abusive you tube videos when I can across a posting by Patricia Evans. I ordered the book on Amazon and mailed it to his house! Maybe he can read it and get help! He knows he has issues – hopefully he will get help. But, as of right now I am standing my ground and working on getting physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

    I love my boys and I want the best for them. Staying in that relationship will only cause us harm and even worst cause them to hate me for allowing myself to be treated that way. We really do allow it – no matter how hard it may be – YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! I know that God knows the pain that I felt and still feel everyday. But, I trust God and know he has greater things for me and my boys. I still love my husband very much but I can’t change him – he has to want to change and do what it takes to make those changes. Maybe some day we will reconcile – but, he is really going to have to show me in his actions! It doesn’t take days, weeks or even months to change. It takes years – so for now I am focusing on me and my dreams! Yeah – I have a brain, feelings, thoughts, etc and I am fully capable doing what every it takes.

    I have been stuck ever since I married this man less than two years ago and he changed me into a different person. Someone that was sad, depressed, unproductive and miserable. That WAS NOT ME! I am a motivated, goal orientated, bad – azz mother! Haha – With God all things are possible! I believe that I am going to attain my life long goals and I am in the process of making them happen. More to come – feel free to write and I will try to help or at least tell you what helped me.

    Note: Something that really helped me break free was reading about verbal abuse and identifying the flags so to speak. As women we want to blame ourselves or make excuses to dismiss their behavior. As sickening as it is we actually try and defend them. I will never understand this – but reminding yourself over and over again that you are BEING ABUSED – helped me in standing in MY decision to leave the home.

    Be strong and call on God! He can be everything you ever wanted in a man! He will always be there for you and love you the way you deserve to be loved. People disagree with me all the time but I believe that love is not a feeling or emotion but a commitment. God is committed to us and loves us more than any other human being ever could! People say they would die for us – but when it comes down to it … I am not so sure. But, one thing I do know that Jesus loved my so much that He died for me and proved it on Calvary!

    Nothing worth having is free or doesn’t come without a fight! Like a friend told me once, “one step in front of the other!” Allow God to lead your steps, just keep walking. I think you might be amazed at where He will take you. I certainly am.

    Keep you head up! God can mend your broken heart – mine has a lot of stitches in it but it’s still working.

    Have a blessed day – thank you for reading. It was nice to just be able to express my thoughts. Who knows maybe it can help someone …

    Breaking Free

  4. I think in this kind relationship right now, but now sure, he seems to love me


  6. there are so many simularities with your situation and mine, I didn’t have to leave he abandoned us and still proceeds to control and attempt to abuse me through the courts and through our divorce. These articles showed me that the things he continues to do now even outside the home is still abusive. I can now cope with it better because I see the flaggs of abuse.

  7. So many similarities to my life. I left almost 2 years ago and it is still an emotional struggle at times. I tell myself it is because I lived that life for about 20 years before escaping, it’s what I know. I know down to my toes there is nothing I can do to make that marriage better, I tried everything. But there are still times I miss him, well more the idea of him that I always thought was buried underneath. That’s my delusion. I wrote a list of crud that happened, the horrid anticipatory fearful feelings I had. I read that when I get that hint of longing. Makes it go away very quickly. I am SO thankful for getting out, I can breathe now. So many don’t go. It’s never too late.

  8. My boyfriend is extremely emotionally abusive. I’ve been so naive because I thought myself to be a smart, strong, well-educated woman who wouldn’t let someone treat her this way. I’ve been making excuses for him to my family, friends and his family! He constantly inpgnores me and even our son. He has ignored my family and friends when they come to visit or we go to see them and he only wants to to be the 3 of us at home, doing our own thing all the time. I don’t have a job, and I stay at home with our 3 year old. For the first 2 years, he drove my car and I was stuck at home. I went into a deep depression and started getting treated for bipolar disorder. I lost 30 pounds and started feeling better about myself, but he never supported or encouraged me on my healthy lifestyle changes. I also have my own little business online which he constantly trivializes and undermines me and my ability to make money to help support our family. I am responsible for making sure all of the bills are paid because I’m good at managing money and he constantly gets mad at me and claims I spend all his money. I have tried to leave twice and of course both times he didn’t make any real effort to keep me from leaving until I was gone and safely 6 hours away with my family and he’d call me and guilt me into coming back or promise things would change. I’ve completely lost my sense of self and have little self confidence. I’m constantly walkin on eggshells trying not to upset him so he won’t give me the silent treatment. I want to leave for good this time, but I don’t know what to do about custody for my son. I know I need a job, and a supportive network, but I really don’t want to leave near my family. They don’t make me feel better. I’m so conflicted and scared, but I’m more afraid of how my son will turn out if he grows up seeing how his father treats me. If I had a daughter, and her boyfriend treated her the way my boyfriend treats me, I would do everything in my power to get her away from him. Where do I start?

What do you think? Tell us!