Common Indications of Verbal Abuse in a Relationship

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Verbal abuse in a relationship can be challenging to detect and, unfortunately, is a typical sort of abuse in certain relationships. Verbal abusers are masters of manipulation and may harm your self-esteem while claiming to care genuinely about you. 

Using words to punish is a very subtle attempt to dominate, and no matter how loving your partner appears, verbal abuse is insidious—and sometimes as damaging as physical violence.

verbal abuse in a relationship

Identifying Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is a form of speech violence that includes harshly criticizing, insulting, or disparaging another person. It may be any method through which a partner uses words to assert control in the relationship. Speech may make a partner feel less important or appreciated in the relationship.

Verbal abuse frequently targets weaknesses, but it may take many forms, ranging from yelling and shaming to more subtle and manipulative approaches.

Physical abuse is discernible. It is obvious that if your spouse has struck or hurt you, you have been mistreated. On the other hand, verbal abuse is discreet. The injury is inside, with no visible bruises or scars—just a broken spirit. However, both can have long-term consequences such as poor self-esteem, sadness, anxiety, and other symptoms. 

Emotional abuse might be more challenging to identify without understanding the warning signals. Here are some signs of verbal abuse:

Raising Their Voice

When your partner yells without provocation, you may be naturally concerned that anything you say may set them off. It’s not a good indicator if you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and have to restrict what you say around them.

Making You Feel Inferior or Ashamed

Abuse includes critical, caustic, or ridiculing statements intended to bring you down (either alone or in front of others). These might be remarks on how you dress, how you speak, or your intelligence. Any statements that make you feel inadequate or humiliated are frequently made on purpose by the abuser.

Avoiding Responsibility for Your Feelings

When your partner refuses to discuss matters irritating you, they may attempt to dodge accountability.

Further, they terminate any conversations regarding their hurtful behavior and issues that reflect badly on them. This is a type of manipulation. 

Concerns are dismissed, and your partner maintains that certain occurrences “didn’t happen” or that “you’re imagining things.” Gaslighting and deflection can cause you to doubt your reality, returning you to a cycle of victim-blaming.

Negative Name-Calling

Negative remarks and name-calling are indications of verbal abuse. If the name feels derogatory to you, it was probably intended to be that way. Some names are clearly nasty, but others are more akin to backhanded compliments. These might be more difficult to spot, but if you’re uncomfortable or threatened, it may be verbal abuse.

verbal abuse in a relationship

Threatening You

Threats to your life or body can instill dread, whether they are real or imagined. Do not dismiss threats lightly. Even if your partner claims to be joking, there should be no need to be concerned about your safety in a healthy relationship.

Putting the Blame on You

Victimizing and blaming are the trademark of the narcissist. As a result, they will deliberately mislead you by overcomplicating arguments and excuses.  Therefore, resulting in your feeling you need to apologize for their conduct or losing their temper.


Verbal abuse and physical abuse often occur together. Although there may be no visible wounds, psychological injuries from verbal abuse can take a long time to heal. Verbal abuse can be challenging to detect, and sadly, many victims don’t see what is happening to them until it is too late.

If you are unsure how to react to verbal abuse, it is best to seek the help of a professional relationship coach.

If you are looking for individual or couples help, you can contact Rich In Relationship. We have relationship coaches to help you find out how you can strengthen your relationship or better take care of yourself. Schedule a discovery call today.

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