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What Is Verbal Abuse?

scary face in a pattern with one definition of verbal abuse

Many Answers to the Question

What is verbal abuse according to artificial intelligence?

Verbal abuse refers to the use of language or words that are intended to cause harm, humiliation, or intimidation towards another person. Verbal abuse can take many forms, including insults, threats, put-downs, yelling, name-calling, and belittling. It can occur in a variety of settings, including personal relationships, the workplace, and even online. Verbal abuse can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional and mental well-being, and can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, PTSD and other psychological issues.


What is it according to a large group of people?

Verbal abuse is a type of psychological/mental abuse that involves the use of oral, gestured, and written language directed to a victim. Verbal abuse can include the act of harassing, labeling, insulting, scolding, rebuking, or excessive yelling towards an individual.


What is verbal abuse from my perspective?

It is language and behaviors used to gain power over another person. This type of abuse is a control tactic. It will lead to mental health problems and physical violence in intimate relationships (if the victim stays long enough).

We need to remember that abusers communicate abuse through threatening words and behaviors. Our minds are powerful interpreters of body language, and the slightest movement can convey a threat or secret message to the abuser’s victim. Verbal abuse is a complicated, sometimes secret language and behavior set that a person uses to control their victim. It is not important what bystanders hear or see, it’s how the victim interprets the words and actions conveyed by their abuser that matter.

Why Is It Important for Everyone to Understand This? 

We must all understand what verbal abuse is so we can recognize it if someone uses it against us. Then we can react properly to it and protect ourselves. If you cannot recognize it, you are likely to be easily manipulated by the person using it (partner, co-worker, etc.).

My ex-husband used verbal abuse to manipulate me almost every day of our 17 year marriage. Before I knew my ex-husband used verbal abuse to control me, I believed many of the things he said about and to me. I believed him. I also confused myself by trying to figure out where I went wrong instead of recognizing that he was wrong.

I’ve realized that part of the reason I didn’t know he abused me was because I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what was happening to me. Being able to name my abuser’s verbal abuse tactics was my first step to freedom.

~Kellie Holly

See the Vocabulary of Abuse Books that helped me.

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