Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Verbal Abuse Symptoms In Long-Term Relationships

rain on a window in black and white showing the feeling of verbal abuse symptoms in long-term relationships

What Symptoms Will You Experience Over Time?

Living in an abusive relationship can cause you to suffer physical, mental and emotional problems. How does verbal abuse mess with you in the long haul? What will you give up to stay in a relationship filled with emotional and verbal abuse?

An abuser’s crazymaking and brainwashing can change you from a vibrant, independent person into a hopeless pawn. Your life disappears. You disappear.

Verbal abuse symptoms like depression and anxiety make you think less of yourself. Not only does the abuser treat you horribly, but you begin to treat yourself horribly too. As you read this list of verbal abuse symptoms, ask yourself “What will I sacrifice to tolerate abuse?!”

Verbal Abuse Symptoms List

Verbal abuse acts quickly on your emotional health and will erode every aspect of your health over time. It’s never too late to protect yourself from further harm with a safety plan.

Some Emotional Effects of Verbal Abuse

  • You feel trapped and on guard.
  • You may feel out of control.
  • You rely on another person to tell you what you should feel or do.
  • You feel small, unimportant, and worthless.

Verbal Abuse Affects Your Thinking

  • You become preoccupied with fears or what-if scenarios.
  • You think you lost your ability to understand what others say or mean.
  • You think you cannot communicate well.
  • You experience circular thoughts and confusion.
  • You feel uneasy or even paranoid with no defined cause.
  • You over-analyze yourself.
  • You replay conversations in your mind to find where you went wrong.
  • Your internalized critical voice agrees with your abuser’s accusations.
  • You think you have nowhere to go if you left.

Verbal Abuse Reduces Your Desire to Live

  • You lose your spontaneity and excitement for life.
  • You suffer postponement, loss, or shattering of dreams.
  • You feel lost or without purpose.
  • You are missing something or feel that time is passing too swiftly to carry out your dreams.
  • You wait for some point in the future when everything will be better.
  • You want to escape or run away (but you may not know what you want to escape from).
  • You wish for death – yours or your partner’s.

Outward Effects of Verbal Abuse

  • Your doctor may diagnose you with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or some other mental health problem.
  • Others say you have low self-esteem. Or, if you realize you’re losing self-esteem, you don’t know why.
  • You turn to shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other addicting behavior.
  • You may experience insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
  • You may experience unexplained physical problems or fear that you’re a hypochondriac.
  • You might put yourself down in conversations without noticing.
  • You become isolated from friends, family, and other supportive people (often without noticing it happens).

So, what are you willing to sacrifice to tolerate abuse in your relationship?

List of verbal abuse symptoms adapted from The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans, St. Jude’s website, and my experiences with verbal abuse.

Photo by Nikko Balanial