Admitting to yourself that you’re in an abusive relationship is incredibly difficult. When your partner doesn’t ever hurt you, when your problems are “limited” to “mean words”, it feels hard to believe that it’s justified to call it abuse, especially if they are a good partner in other ways.
But that doesn’t mean that the relationship isn’t abusive, and that doesn’t mean it’s something you have to settle for. Verbal abuse is incredibly harmful for your mental health, and can leave you feeling broken, trapped, deeply depressed and worthless over time.
If you’re seeing signs of verbal abuse present in your relationship with your partner, don’t try to ignore it or convince yourself it’s not serious. It is, and you deserve to confront the problem, and should do whatever it takes to protect yourself. Here are tips on how to spot a verbal abuser.
You hide what he/she says to you from others
You’re probably used to venting to your girlfriend when your partner bugs you or leaves you disappointed, but what happens when he says something you know will outrage your friends? If you find yourself keeping something he said to yourself because you’re uncomfortable sharing it with your friends, dig deep to evaluate why you’re doing that.
Is it because you’re worried about what your friends will say about him? Is it because you don’t want people to know he says those kinds of things? Is it because you’re worried about how he will react if he knows you’ve told people?
All of these are signs that something is wrong. If you know your friends are going to be horrified by a sentence, consider that you too have reason to be horrified by it. If you’re worried about people knowing this trait about him, consider that his behavior reflects who he is. If you’re worried about how he will react, ask yourself what he’s hiding and why.
Abusers are very anxious to ensure their reputation is well-maintained, and are very concerned about public image – regardless of whether or not it reflects your private life. All of these are signs that something is wrong, and that you may be sacrificing yourself for someone who is hurting you.
He/she makes you cry and doesn’t apologize
When you get into arguments, does he start saying nasty things intended to hurt your feelings? Does he target sensitive topics on purpose? Does he say cruel things seemingly out-of-the-blue, and does he leave you in tears frequently? When you cry, does he show remorse or does he tell you to stop overreacting, stop faking, “get over yourself” or otherwise dismiss your tears? This shows a selfish insensitivity that you should never see in a partner, and is a huge warning sign.
If he is incapable of or uninterested in empathizing with you when you’re in pain, particularly pain he caused, then he doesn’t show himself to be someone who cares about your feelings, making him a fundamentally unacceptable partner. Incidents like these are not normal, and are not the way loving partners behave.
He/she eventually apologizes profusely and showers you with gifts
After a fight, argument or abusive episode has taken place, does he eventually come back with a profuse apology and gifts to make it up to you? This may feel like a kind and reassuring gesture on the part of your partner that reassures you he understands what he did wrong, cares about his impact and wants to improve. But the reality is it’s a standard step in the classic abuse cycle : a period of calm, a period of building tehension, a period of acting out and then the honeymoon phase, where he: apologizes or shows regret, promises it won’t happen again, tries to put some blame on you for the incident and tries to minimize or deny the abuse occurred.
All of this does not need to happen at once – for example, it’s very common for an abuser to immediately admit they were being abusive, but then later on – perhaps days or weeks later – try to reframe the incident as less serious or not their fault. You get this a lot with people you meet on dating apps , who genuinely admit they were in the wrong but don’t try to take it back. Now, after he’s apologized to you and reassured you he understands what he did wrong… does he do it again?
You’re hoping he/she will change over time
One of the most difficult things about abuse is that it is cyclical. Once your partner seems like they’ve really changed, you reassure yourself that things will get better – and then another incident occurs. Then they apologize profusely, reassure you they know they messed up, and you think you’re dedicated to your relationship and they seem remorseful so you’ll keep working at it. Then he does it again, and you tell him he has to shape up or you’ll leave, and he says he will. Things get better, you think he’s a better partner now that he’s realized he was in the wrong – and then he does it again.
The truth is, abusers rarely change or improve, and your love and dedi cation won’t improve him. Rather than staying stuck in the cycle, take a look at your life and realize that one failed relationship won’t ruin it – get out. Preserve your mental health. Don’t settle for a verbal abuser.
|||^||Healthy Place: The Signs of Verbal Abuse|