After reading some of Patricia Evans’ books, I made a list of the abuse techniques he has at his disposal. I learned them, even posted a copy on the fridge. Then, when he’d pull one of those tricks out of his hat, I name it. Then I tell him that I would talk to him when he’s NOT trying to control me and leave the room.
Looking back, it was pretty ballsy of me to put the “Types of Verbal Abuse” list out in the open. He left it alone, but ignored it from what I could tell (just like he ignored the fact that he abused the boys and me).
What I Hoped to Accomplish:
I hoped that once he became aware of the problem, he would WANT to fix it. I figured that he would get tired of hearing me name the type of abuse (he did) and realize that he needed to change the way he spoke to me (he didn’t).
Naming the type of abuse out loud escalated the abuse to the point that he was a raging bull at all times. We COULDN’T talk. It was hard to give up whatever I was doing to leave the room, and a lot of the time he followed me, and we were doing this kind of sick “follow the leader” game around the house with him shouting as I tried to find refuge (and continue naming the type of abuse).
About three weeks after I started using this technique, he pushed me over the end table onto the couch and held me there by my throat and chest while he yelled at me.
HOWEVER, this technique did help me. It revealed to what lengths he is willing to go to deny his problem. One way to look at it is that his behavior has DEFINITELY validated my belief – HE IS ABUSIVE. During that time, I recognized too many types of abuse coming out loud and clear from his mouth and through his behavior to believe otherwise.
I can no longer hide behind excuses like “That’s just the way he is” or “He had a bad day” or “What did I do to make him so mad?” (and then spend days analyzing myself!). He wants me under his thumb, and I won’t go back there. The first-hand knowledge I gained empowered me even though the abuse escalated.
If you find that naming the type of abuse out loud escalates the abuse, then please be smarter than me. For goodness sake, STOP SAYING IT OUT LOUD! But please, DO name the type of abuse in your head. It will keep you sane and sharp AND give you something to think instead of whatever your abuser wants to make you think. Doing this is especially important if you haven’t figured out a way to escape the immediate abuse (i.e., your abuser follows you wherever you go).
- I give examples of how my husband verbally abuses beginning here.
- Download a worksheet to help you recognize abuse here.