Verbal and Emotional Abuse



Emotional abuse (EA) is behavior that hurts someone emotionally. There are two main types of EA:

• Physical: behavior that causes physical harm to someone.

- Slapping, punching, pinching, pushing, restraining, hair-pulling, burning, cutting, choking and scratching are all forms of physical abuse. These behaviors cause emotional pain as well as physical pain.

• Verbal: (VA) is a form of communication that intimidates, controls or disrespects another person. VA can be subtle and confusing. It leaves bruises on the inside of a person that are just as painful as physical wounds. There are many forms of VA including:

- Name-calling

- Ordering someone around

- Minimizing or trivializing a person’s needs, feelings or opinions

- Countering: Disagreeing with everything a person says

- Disguising insults as “jokes”

- Diverting: Changing the subject so that issues are not discussed

- Criticizing

- Denial or “forgetting” is a defensive tactic that invalidates a person’s feelings and perceptions by denying reality

- Withdrawing/ignoring

- Explosive anger frightens and intimidates others

VA is confusing because the perpetrator tries to turn everything around and make it the victim’s fault. Partners of those who use VA are often willing to take responsibility for “their part” of the problem, but it is never the victim’s fault! There is no behavior that can justify abusing another person.

ENDING THE CYCLE OF EA/VA is a process in which the partner, who is the victim of VA, comes to recognize and believe that the VA is happening and that it is not their fault. The partner must learn how to respond to VA in ways that discourage the perpetrator from continuing their destructive behaviors. This process is complex because the partner is often suffering from core issues that makes addressing the VA difficult. Some of the core issues that may need to be addressed are: low self-esteem, depression, fear, codependency and recovery from childhood hurts and neglect.

Help must also be provided for the one who is behaving in a VA manner. People who VA are hurting deep inside, and they are too frightened to address this hurt. The VA gives them a sense of release and relief from their pain. However, this relief is only temporary because the deep hurt remains. People who VA can be helped to face and heal the core issues that continually cause them to suffer.

THE CORE HEALING CENTER offers help for people who are suffering from EA/VA. Help is also provided for people with VA behavior. Things can change. The Feeling Better Counseling Center has helped many couples to overcome the cycle of VA and to enjoy healthier, happier marriages and healthier, happier lives.

To learn more about VA read The Verbally Abusive Realtionship by Patricia Evans. This is a wonderful resource. If you would like help healing from any form of abuse, call (734) 776-2284 or email me.



Abuse: More about the Core Healing Center