Verbal Abuse

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What is verbal abuse?

You are being verbally abused if you are repeatedly spoken to with the intention to demean, criticise, frighten, or control you. Verbal abuse does not usually occur on its own and is most commonly part of a wider abusive experience such as domestic violence, cyber stalking, bullying and harassment. It can take place in the context of a couple relationship or a parent child relationship but can also occur in other family relationships, in social contexts, in the workplace or at school.

Verbal abuse takes an emotional toll but can sometimes escalate into violence or even lead to a killing. So it is serious and should be taken seriously.

Examples of verbal abuse:

  • Being insulted or humiliated, then accused of being overly sensitive or claims that it was a joke and that you have no sense of humour;
  • Being yelled or screamed at;
  • Arguments that crop up by surprise but you get the blame for starting them;
  • Disagreements turn into accusations and references to unrelated issues that make you defensive;
  • Being made to feel guilty and that the attacker is the victim;
  • Abuse that happens only when you’re alone and not when others are around;
  • Invasion of personal space or being blocked from moving away;
  • The perpetrator creates fear by violent gestures such as hitting the wall, pounding fists or throwing things;
  • The perpetrator claims credit for not hitting you.

There are other forms of abuse that are often experienced alongside verbal abuse including emotional abuse, domestic abuse and mental abuse.

How can I prove verbal abuse?

To prove verbal abuse you firstly need to understand what it is and then keep records of all the abusive incidents that are happening to you and their effect and impact on you. Your records will be the evidence needed to prove verbal abuse.

See our video guides below to show you how to make good records so you’re sure of how to do it well and make your case.