Types of Verbal Abuse
Belittling "puts down" the victim and invalidates her opinions or feelings. Or it may be designed to tell the victim that her concerns or accomplishments are insignificant. Belittling statements may be patronizing put-downs such as, "Well, that's nice that it gives you something to do."
Some belittling statements include:
Countering and Correcting
Countering shuts down the discussion and opposes denies the victim's reality. The abuser argues against her thoughts, her opinions, and her reality. By negating her views, the abuser feels he is maintaining his control and dominance over her.
Put-downs disguised as jokes often refer to woman’s gender, to her mental abilities, or to her competency. This can include statements such as:
The abuser who refuses to share himself with his partner, who ignores or refuses to listen to her, or who refuses to share information is violating the premise of a relationship. Holding back emotional support erodes confidence and determination. Holding out includes refusal to communicate, and statements such as:
Side-Tracking and Shutting Down
Forcing the discussion off track, shutting it down, or changing the subject are ways to control and frustrate the conversation. Sometimes accusing and blaming are used to hijack the discussion and throw the victim off balance. Some shutting-down statements are:
Many abusers blame their partner for their anger, irritation, or insecurity. Telling the victim that the abuse is her fault confuses her and puts her on the defensive. An abuser may accuse the victim of the very actions done by the abuser himself. (This can be very "crazy-making.") Some blaming phrases include:
Most statements that begin with the word "you" or "always/never" signal abusive faultfinding and criticism. Faultfinding veiled in help or advice is abusive.
Intimidation can come through words or actions that threaten or imply harm or loss. It is designed to control and gain power through fear.
Insulting and Labeling
Insulting names and personal "labels" are abusive, as are demeaning sexual references.
Abusers may "conveniently forget" or alter the facts. This selective memory can be used to deny, twist, and rewrite reality (this is also "crazy-making"). Selective memory is signaled by statements such as:
When a partner commands or demands instead of respectfully requesting, he denies the worth and independence of the victim.
Lashing out at someone is never justified. Angry verbal attacks, yelling, raging, and temper tantrums can be effective ways to intimidate and control others.
|Copyright 2005 Judy Kennedy