10 Tiny Ways To Tell If You May Be In A Verbally Abusive Relationship

Love isn't meant to feel like this.

Woman in a verbally abusive relationship Kateryna Onyshchuk | Shutterstock, Boris Jovanovic | Canva

Verbal abuse is a kind of battering that does not leave evidence. In public, he is one man, in private he is another. Subtle diminishing or anger outbursts, cool indifference or one-upmanship, witty sarcasm or silent withholding, manipulative coercion, or unreasonable demands are common occurrences. There are no witnesses to her reality therefore no one can understand her experience. The abuser is seen as a nice guy and certainly, he sees himself as one.


Although this describes a woman's experiences, some men suffer verbal abuse from their mates. Generally, they do not live in the kind of fear women experience with an angry man. If you have been verbally abused, you have been told in perhaps subtle ways that your perception of reality is wrong and that your feelings are wrong. You may doubt your own experience and often not realize that you are doing so. I suggest that rather than change your basic nature you recognize what you are encountering. You may respond to what you are recognizing in a specific way. A way that requests change.

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Here are 10 tiny ways to tell if you may be in a verbally abusive relationship:

1. He seems irritated or angry with you or in general often

It happens so much and yet you are surprised each time.

2. When you try to discuss your upset feelings with him, he has a bundle of ways he expresses his refusal to discuss the situation

It's always the same line he gives you, "You're just overthinking," "I had a long day, can't you see that?"

3. You feel perplexed and frustrated by his responses because you can't get him to understand your intentions

RELATED: Why This Toxic Behavior In A Relationship Is Never Worth It — No Matter How Angry You Are


4. You are upset mostly about the communication in the relationship: what he thinks you said and what you heard him say

You know healthy communication is important to a relationship, but he only ever misunderstands and berates you when you try to talk to him.

5 You sometimes wonder, "What's wrong with me? I shouldn't feel so bad."

He makes you feel crazy and wrong for the way you feel.

6 He rarely, if ever, seems to want to share his thoughts or plans with you
7. He takes the opposite view from you on almost everything you mention, as if your view were wrong and he was right.

It goes so far that every fight is just about him being right, no matter what started it.


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8 You sometimes wonder if he perceives you as a separate person

On your worst days, you wonder if he even loves you.

9. You can't recall saying to him, "Cut it out!" or "Stop it!"
10 He is either angry or has "No idea of what you're talking about " when you try to discuss an issue with him

If you agree with two or more of these statements, you are recognizing verbal abuse. I suggest you interview several abuse specialists and find one that comes from a non-patriarchal worldview.


If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.

If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474, or log onto thehotline.org.

RELATED: If You're Experiencing Any Of These 10 Signs, Yes, It's Emotional Abuse

Dr. Susan Ricketson was a family counselor who worked with couples and individuals using a body-mind integration and holistic approach, a life coach, and the author of Dilemma of Love.