Verbal / Emotional Abuse

deepest scars

Perusing library shelves is ongoing in the 360’s section of  the Fulton County Public Library. This is a broad category called Social Problems & Social Services. With a category attempting to incorporate all social problems, you can imagine the sheer size of this section! Obviously there’s no way I can cover all social problems in a few blog posts so I’ve been trying to bring attention to many that may not be as well known. In the meantime though, I’ve actually been reading about many other topics that don’t necessarily get their own posts. Lately some of those topics have been: foster parenting, adoption, home visits, children with parents in prison, and birth mothers.

With better education most of us are at least aware of the topic of abuse.

types of abuseCertain types of abuse are more obvious than others. Physical scars and injuries make it easier for us to see and respond to abusive situations. However there are types of abuse in which the injuries and scars do not show and it might be easy to miss or not take as seriously.


Often the literature refers to only a woman as the abused and a man as the abuser. Statistically a woman is more likely to suffer from this type of abuse, but in some cases it’s the woman who is abusive and the man is the target. I’ve also read that verbal and emotional abuse is a huge problem among many same sex couples. No one deserves to be abused; ever.

The effects of verbal abuse are real and may manifest in physical and/or psychological symptoms.


The good news is that there are very effective ways to combat verbal/emotional abuse. Here are some highly recommended books to help:

Why Does He Do That

This book is exactly what it says it is on the cover. Of all of the books of this type that I’ve read, I would say this is by far one of the most encouraging and informative ones that I’ve ever come across. Why Does He do That? by Lundy Bancroft is an easy to read book (also available in audio book format)  that may be read straight through or the reader may use it as more of a reference type book by looking up a question and reading its response by the author. Even though this book is written primarily with women in mind, it is a helpful resource to anyone experiencing verbal/emotional abuse.

the verbally abusive relationship

This book is a must read. The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans literally changed my life. I happened across this book several years ago while I was doing some research about workplace bullying. When I first read this book, I was absolutely horrified that I was reading about my own life in its pages. This may sound strange, but until I read this book I had absolutely no idea that my (then) relationship was verbally abusive. It was the same story as the proverbial frog sitting in water that is slowly being heated. The changes in my life up to that time had been so gradual that I was only just beginning to feel the boil. I don’t want to make this post about me (and I will be covering more of this in my own book as I’ve mentioned before), but I think everyone should read this book.  There is invaluable information on how to respond to abuse or even recognize the abuse when it happens to your or other people.

invisible scars

Invisible Scars by Catherine Dowda, M.Ed., LPC  is a very interesting book that gives a lot of empowering information. It differs from many other books of its subject matter in that it will help the abused person to realize if his or her situation can be changed. It is the only book of it’s kind I’ve ever seen that gives specific reasons why an abuser is or is not likely to change. This book may help someone to save a lot of heartache.

stop suffering in silence

If you are experiencing emotional or verbal abuse educate yourself and then get help. Abuse of any kind is never ok. There are many ways to do this:

  1. Read books
  2. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline -advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Counselors at the hotline are fluent in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential and anonymous.
  3. Visit websites starting with the Domestic Violence Hotline site- . On this site you can read important information, chat with counselors, and learn about safety planning.

If you are not being abused but know someone who is, you can help by:

  1. Providing a safe place for a target to go-whether temporarily or long term
  2. Working out code words or signs (for example a porch light on during the day) that could signal for you to call for help.
  3. Respond appropriately EVERY time to verbal/emotional abuse.

Abuse thrives on silence so by all of us speaking up and speaking out any time we encounter verbal/emotional abuse it becomes harder to deny. More importantly it becomes harder for an abuser to continue . Abusers often try to silence their targets because they lose their “power over”  when a target speaks out. It takes courage to speak up and speak out but it is one of the best protections. The more people who know about it, the better.

Have you ever had to deal with verbal/emotional abuse? Have you ever helped someone in this type of situation?



22 thoughts on “Verbal / Emotional Abuse

  1. Very helpful post. Unfortunately, people who need this information the most are the ones who rarely see it. They are also the ones who are loath to seek professional help. Recognizing signs in friends, neighbors, co-workers, and especially children, might save lives!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right. There are also people who (hopefully) will see it and suddenly realize it’s about them. That happened to me at one point as I alluded to. And yes, absolutely, this is information that could save lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow another powerful post! I never thought about a couple of the types of abuse you mentioned like financial. You are such a strong person to read these books and share a summary! Thanks for taking on sections of the library some of us avoid!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a tendancy to hit that send key before I actually meant to! I just wanted to add a little perspective about the financial abuse. Sometimes when people hear about a woman (or even a man) who is living in an abusive situation, the advice given is “Leave!” Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. If the target has no access to money, no job, no place to go it might be more dangerous in that moment to just leave. The situation is further complicated if there are children involved. This is why it’s so important to gain knowledge, reach out, and safety plan. Basically the target must have a safety net in place before leaving. It’s not easy to leave, but the target may be staying for other reasons besides codependance. A target’s trust has been violated making it hard to reach out for help.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Even if those needing this info. are not willing or fortunate enough to accept it, people who witness these forms of abuses may become more involved to help people relieve this unacceptable suffering. Domestic violence, bullying, shaming are all forms of aberrant self expression. There’s an imbalance in the individual or group that responds in this fashion. We naturally focus on the individual on the receiving end (which is certainly important,) but an equal amount of attention needs to be placed on discovering the underlying CAUSES and SOLUTIONS to help the ABUSER. Whether they’re unaware or believe their behavior is acceptable, they need to be TAUGHT just how destructive their interaction is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you come across any resources for healing after experiencing emotional and sexual abuse? I’ve been out of the relationship for years, but he contacted me the other day and it sent me reeling right back to how I felt when I was with him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To be very honest, what has helped me the most is the Bible. I’ve read a lot of books on this topic and nothing else has helped as much. I’ve also tried to seek counseling and haven’t had the best experiences with that either, although I know that there are good counselors out there. Other than the Bible, I’ve found that in person or online groups of abuse survivors are quite therapeutic.

    I would say not to let this man back into your life. How was he able to contact you? You may need to protect yourself by changing your contact info.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow awesome post! I wrote about verbal abuse from mothers on my blog too, check it out if you can. People don’t realize how emotional abuse quietly tears down your spirit. So happy others are bringing awareness to this pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Having read dozens of books on this I found the most helpful thing for me was to forgive them. Not absolve, that isn’t possible. Abuse cannot be undone. Yes, the books did help me get to the place beyond my anger where I could finally forgive and when I did i realized the forgiveness was for me. Then healing could begin. This is a wonderful and helpful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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