Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Examples of Verbal Abuse

multiple faces illustrating examples of verbal abuse

Why Is Recognizing Verbal Abuse So Important?

Knowing some examples of verbal abuse can put an end to the crazymaking and brainwashing of domestic violence and abuse. A bold claim? Not really. After all, the reason you came to be abused is that you didn’t know what you were listening for.

Once you learn some examples of verbal abuse, it will be much harder for your partner to hurt you mentally or emotionally because you will see through what he or she is doing (or trying to do).

Brainwashing And Crazymaking

The types of verbal abuse make crazymaking and brainwashing possible. Crazymaking twists words and actions around on the victim. The victim of crazymaking doesn’t realize they are manipulated. Brainwashing prepares the victim to accept the lies of crazymaking and verbal abuse. 

The examples of verbal abuse in the list below amount to types of lies. So when the abuser employs crazymaking and brainwashing, too, it becomes difficult to pull yourself out of the web. But that’s okay. Each of the examples of verbal abuse listed below links to a page that further explains the abuse and gives you suggestions on how to react to it. Changing your reaction to verbal abuse will change your relationship and lead to a stronger sense of self for you. After you know what you’re listening for, your abuser can’t get away with trying to fool you.

List of Examples of Verbal Abuse

Examples of verbal abuse range from full-on anger to forgetting on purpose. Even the silent treatment is an example of verbal abuse! The main point of every type of verbal abuse is to control the victim through confusion, delusion, or fear. Recognizing examples of verbal abuse in your relationship is the first step to overcoming its effects and regaining your mental health.

Here’s a brief explanation of each of the types of verbal abuse. Click the links for examples of verbal abuse and how to react to it when you hear it.

Abusive Anger occurs when your partner does not use proper communication techniques. Instead, your partner throws a very scary tantrum. He yells, hits or breaks things. He gets in your face or does something that triggers you to freeze, flee or fight back.

Accusing and Blaming are examples of verbal abuse that put the current situation back on you as if you did something wrong. The abuser accuses you of cheating (that’s a big one) or trying to make him mad. The abuser blames you for whatever happened when there’s no way you could control it.

Blocking and Diverting is an example of verbal abuse in which the abuser does not let you get your point across usually because the abuser diverts the topic to something else. Sometimes, blocking means the abuser will not talk about what you want to talk about. At all.

Countering happens when the abuser will not accept what you say. It is different from disagreeing because countering is so irrational that we can’t consider it a disagreement. Countering can make conversation so hard that you stop offering your opinion, which is what your abuser wants you to do.

Denial is an example of verbal abuse that is exactly as it sounds: the abuser denies anything and everything, often to the point of irrationality like countering.

Discounting happens when the abuser takes away from what you think, say, or do so they do not have to face their poor behaviors. If the abuser can make you feel less important, then maybe you’ll leave them alone to do as they please.

Forgetting, especially forgetting things that are important to you, is another way to covertly tell you that you are unimportant or less than the abuser.

Judging and Criticizing is the type of verbal abuse in which the perpetrator puts you down without trying to hide it. The abuser will judge and criticize whether you’re alone or with other people.

Name-Calling is exactly what it sounds like and often the only example of verbal abuse people understand to be abusive. However, there is more to name-calling than you may think.

Ordering and Demanding occur when your abuser tells you what to do and expects you to do it now. There is no excuse for not doing it now.

Threatening Behavior and Words is verbal abuse that borders on physical violence and includes overt threats to your safety (or your children, parents, pets, etc.)

Trivializing is an example of verbal abuse that takes away from your accomplishments, actions, or ideas.

Undermining is verbal abuse that takes away your good feelings about your accomplishments. Abusers also use undermining to manipulate things, setting up scenarios where you think one thing is happening, but actually, something else is happening.

Verbal Abuse Disguised as a Joke are ‘jokes’ told at your expense that make you feel helpless or humiliated. You feel you should laugh with everyone else because they don’t see the abuse. Often, these jokes come from abuse inflicted at home. Your abusive partner wants to bring that abuse out and make light of it in front of others. When you get upset, the abuser can say you’re too sensitive (and other people believe it too).

Withholding or Depriving is verbal abuse that involves little to no verbal communication. The abuser pulls away from the victim literally and physically. They may not speak to or touch or acknowledge their victim at all.

Based on the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans, ISBN 1558503048, Adams Media, February 2003, and my experiences with verbal abuse.

Featured photo by Sydney Sims