There are a number of different types of abuse, like sexual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse.
But there is one type of abuse that tends to be more normalized and trivialized: verbal abuse. We need to have a basic understanding before we can continue:
Abuse is not normal.
No type of abuse is normal or acceptable. Abuse in all its forms should be rejected and discontinued. When it comes to verbal abuse, there are many different kinds.
Here are 10 types of verbal abuse you shouldn’t ever tolerate.
One of the more common types of verbal abuse is yelling. Yelling is portrayed in popular culture as a normal human interaction. When two people are fighting, they are often shown to be yelling or screaming at each other. In reality, this is absolutely a type of verbal abuse. This kind of abuse can be a two-way street too. If you’re yelling at each other, then really, you’re both abusing one another.
Name-calling is a pretty large umbrella term. Not all name-calling us abuse. Calling someone “silly” is still technically name-calling, but that’s not a particularly abusive thing to call someone, and often the intent behind it isn’t bad. The intent is what makes name-calling abusive. Is the intent to call you a name that’ll make you smile or laugh? Or is the intent to call you a name that will make you feel small and sad?
Like name-calling, not all swearing is abusive. There is general swearing, and then there is being sworn at. It’s all about the intent, just like with name-calling. Is the swearing meant to make you feel bad? If so, it is a type of verbal abuse and you should not tolerate being sworn at in such a way.
4. The silent treatment.
The verbal abuse portrayed so far has been quite aggressive, but there are types of verbal abuse that are actually quite passive. In fact, one of the worst types of verbal abuse is mostly silent. It’s the silent treatment. The silence, or terseness, that you receive when getting the silent treatment is a type of abuse meant to manipulate you into feeling guilty, thus changing your behavior. It may seem passive and banal, but it is a form of abuse.
Your experiences are just that: yours. No one can take what you’ve experienced away from you. But some abusive people will try, by trivializing your experiences or trying to one-up you. Make no mistake, it is a type of abuse. The goal is to make their experiences seem more meaningful than your own, thus giving themselves gratification while robbing you of your catharsis.
6. Bad faith criticisms.
Criticism is okay if it’s constructive criticism made in good faith. Criticism becomes abusive when it is made in bad faith. Bad faith criticisms are designed to make you feel bad about yourself, your life, and your choices. Bad faith criticisms don’t necessarily come with yelling, name-calling, or swearing, but it is still a type of verbal abuse you shouldn’t tolerate.
Often times when an abuser wants to fight about something but doesn’t really have anything to attack you over, they’ll just invent something. They might accuse you of doing things you didn’t, from something as trivial as dirtying a dish or something as awful as cheating. If you are being accused of something you didn’t do and for which there is no evidence, make no mistake, this is verbal abuse.
Joking around can be fun and games, but just like with some of the other items on this list, the intent behind it determines whether it’s fun and games or abuse. If someone is telling “jokes” that are actually quite pointed and hurtful, this is definitely a form of verbal abuse, and it’s something you don’t need to tolerate.
9. Deflecting and projecting.
This type of verbal abuse often comes with one or more of the above items on this list. The idea here is for the abuser to deflect your good faith criticisms and turn it back around on you. Get ready for the “Yeah but what about…” statements. The ultimate way to disarm this type of abuse is to say “I’m sorry that you felt that way at the time and I’d like to talk to you about that, but right now I’d like to address this situation.”
Verbal threats of any kind, whether they’re a threat of bodily harm or another type of emotional threat, is definitely a form of verbal abuse. You should not tolerate threats. If someone is threatening to harm you, it is best for you to immediately seek safe haven with a friend or loved one and call the authorities to address the situation. You don’t have to try to deal with it on your own.
While there are many types of abuse, and some leave deeper scars than others, verbal abuse shouldn’t be tolerated.
If you’re experiencing these types of verbal abuse, it may be time to rethink the relationship you have with that person.