Emotional And Verbal Abuse Isn’t Always LOUD: Subtle Verbal Abuse Is Just As Damaging

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Most of us are good at identifying the “in your face verbal abuse” in our lives. There’s no mistaking outright insults, yelling, swearing and other obvious forms of verbal abuse, but it’s much harder to identify the “death by a thousand insect bites” kind of verbal abuse.

In some ways subtle verbal abuse is actually more damaging than> more obvious forms of it. Why? Because subtle verbal abuse is> something you may experience every day, perhaps dozens of times a day. It works its damage beneath the surface affecting the way you think and feel about yourself and about the people using subtle abuse techniques, sometimes even unintentionally.

Purpose of Identifying Subtle Verbal Abuse

The first step in dealing with any kind of verbal abuse is to recognize its existence. You can’t make decisions about what to do about it unless a) you understand that it is occurring, and b) you are able to identify specific behaviors on the part of other people that are abusive in nature. Also once you are able to identify the specifics of verbal abuse, it’s possible to work with the other person to improve the relationship by dealing with specific relationship behaviors that need to be changed.

What You Need To Know

It is exceedingly important that you understand some vital aspects of subtle verbal abuse. Make sure you read and understand the following before continuing.

Something is verbally abusive if it demeans, or sends a message:

  • That the recipient is “less than” what they should be AND is unsolicited.
  • Verbal abuse serves the needs of the sender, and ignores the needs of the recipient.
  • Subtle verbally abusive speech doesn’t necessarily mean the individual is consciously trying to hurt you. Some people habitually speak using subtle verbal abuse. They may do so because they are tired, upset, angry and don’t know how to phrase things in constructive ways.
  • All of us use subtle verbal abuse on occasion. That doesn’t make it acceptable, but it’s important not to over-react.
  • Subtle verbal abuse is about hidden manipulation, where your feelings and behaviors are negatively and indirectly influenced. The words used are not themselves abusive, but the message that lies below the surface is.
  • Subtle abuse is also used to obscure, or hide the issue under discussion, or create one or more of the following:
  1. Confusion
  2. Embarrassment
  3. Intimidation
  4. Anxiety
  • Other strong negative emotions
  • Generally subtle verbal abuse is used to put you off balance so the other person (or you if it’s you using them) can get his or her way or negatively affect how you feel.
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Imperfect Phrases For Relationships explains 101 phrases that inflame tempers and anger others. Not only does it help you eliminate them from your vocabulary, but it explains how to transform each one into a more constructive form of communication. Click to view on amazon.

Seventeen Subtle Verbal Attack And Abuse Patterns

We’ve identified seventeen patterns of verbal abuse, and summarized them in our mini-guide, Identifying Subtle Abuse In Your Life. It’s available for a nominal charge to download here.

More Resources On Verbal Abuse From Relationships911.org

Mental and Emotional Abuses and Abusers. By Bob Carver — This article will help you understand the different methods and behaviors used to inflict emotional abuse. Did you know that most abusers are adept at convincing their victims that the abuse is their own fault? Read more to learn more about emotional abuse. pop (Added: 16-Sep-2004 Hits: 12628 )

Females And Verbal Abuse By Pat McChristie — Verbal abuse does not leave any physical evidence, but it does leave scars on a woman’s heart and soul. This article serves as a reminder that verbal abuse can, and often does lead to physical violence. pop (Added: 16-Sep-2004 Hits: 6449 )

Symptoms of Emotional Abuse By n/a — If you’re not sure that you are being emotionally abused in your relationship, read the symptoms of emotional abuse within this article. Also included are the common characteristics of male abusers. pop (Added: 16-Sep-2004 Hits: 12718 )

Controlling Behaviors By n/a — This list is an excerpt from the MANALLIVE list of controlling behaviors. Included in the article are full details of each behavior such as: controlling by making her responsible, and controlling by assigning her status. pop (Added: 16-Sep-2004 Hits: 11774 )

The Sandwich Generation The Big ‘A’ (Not Aids) By Geraldine Sherman — The seven guests at a dinner party in the Annex are all in their forties and fifties, busy juggling careers, marriages, and nearly adult children. Conversation that might have revolved around nannies or real estate a few years ago now turns into a lament about aging parents. “I must have spoken to her five times yesterday, about dealing with her bank,” a lawyer complains. “Then, first thing this morning, she’s on the phone as if the whole thing never happened.” (Added: 18-Jun-2003 Hits: 1163 )

Females and verbal abuse By Pat McChristie — Many men are obviously verbally cruel and abusive. The verbal abuse of others is more subtle. Indeed, some women do not even recognize that they are being verbally abused. (Added: 16-Nov-2002 Hits: 1002 )

I love you, but… By NA — You are being manipulated in a power play. You are probably confused and often feeling guilty. You are being verbally abused! Your partner is constantly belittling you and abusing you while hiding behind a guise of love. The “I love you but…” person is a clever abuser. (Added: 16-Nov-2002 Hits: 1485 )

This Is A War — ABUSE By na — There is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse. Like other forms of violence in relationships, emotional abuse is based on power and control. The following are widely recognized as forms of emotional abuse: (Added: 16-Nov-2002 Hits: 922 )

Verbal abuse gives double messages to the abused person. By Stephen Fox — The double message of verbal abuse makes the abused person feel confused and sometimes even makes the abused person feel crazy. Verbal abuse is the language of control; it is not the language of love. (Added: 16-Nov-2002 Hits: 1330 )

Female abusers of men and male abuse. By NA — Many men do not report abuse rather than deal with the examination of their masculinity.. They choose to “grin and bear” the abuse unless they are severely injured. (Added: 16-Nov-2002 Hits: 1114 )

Abuser and Victim…Alike? By Dr. Irene — There is no “good guy” and no “bad guy.” We’re all a little broken. So, don’t worry about what your partner is doing or not doing, just look at what you’re doing. Attaining personal responsibility is each person’s business. Nobody is off the hook. (Added: 15-Nov-2002 Hits: 728 )

The Cycle of Abuse By Dr. Irene — The classic abusive relationship is characterized by a three-stage cycle that may or may not be visible to outsiders. Victim Beware: You are on an emotional roller coaster ride that will wear you down and deplete your self-esteem! (Added: 15-Nov-2002 Hits: 1291 )

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Pages Updated On: 21-Sep-2015–10:22:34

Originally published at relationships911.org.

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