[St. Jude House]

SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT


Verbal Abuse

What is Verbal Abuse?
Categories of Verbal Abuse
Feelings of a Verbally Abused Person
Patterns Which Indicate Verbal Abuse
Responses to Verbal Abuse
When You Respond to Verbal Abuse, Remember...
Effects of Verbal Abuse


WHAT IS VERBAL ABUSE?

Can you identify with the following: The partner of a Verbal Abuser may experience: *Adapted from: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans


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CATEGORIES OF VERBAL ABUSE

  1. Withholding: Relationships require intimacy, which requires empathy. Intimacy cannot be created if one partner is unable to support his partner empathically. The abuser refuses to listen, denies her experiences and refuses to share himself . This violates the primary agreement of a relationship -- he is withholding.
  2. Countering: This is the dominant response of some verbal abusers. He sees his partner as the adversary. If she sees things differently, he may lose control. He may then choose to argue against her thoughts. It prevents all possibility of discussion -- it denies the victim reality and prevents her from knowing what he thinks.
  3. Discounting: This denies the reality and experiences of the partner and is extremely destructive.
  4. Verbal Abuse Disguised As Jokes: Disparaging comments disguised as jokes often refer to the feminine nature of the partner, to her intellectual abilities, or to her competency. Brainwashing effects cannot be overemphasized.
  5. Blocking & Diverting: The abuser controls interpersonal communication. He refuses to communicate. He establishes what can be discussed and withholds information. The primary purpose is to prevent discussion and to end communication.
  6. Accusing and Blaming: The abuser accuses his partner of wrong doing. There is a breach in the basic agreement of the relationship.He blames his partner for his rage, anger and insecurity.
  7. Judging and Criticizing: The abuser expresses judgement in a critical way and expresses a lack of acceptance for his partner. The abuser uses a judgmental tone and makes comments which negate his partner's feeling.
  8. Trivializing: What the partner has done or expressed is insignificant. The abuser may feel "one up" when putting the partner down. The partner is kept on an emotional roller coaster.
  9. Undermining: The abuser withholds emotional support, erodes confidence and determination. Sabotaging is also a way of undermining.
  10. Threatening: This manipulates the partner by bringing up the partner's greatest fears. The threat of loss or pain is often used.
  11. Name Calling: All name calling is abusive.
  12. Forgetting: This involves both denial and covert manipulation. The abuser may forget the promises which are most important to his partner.
  13. Ordering: This denies the equality and autonomy of the partner.
  14. Denial: Is one of the most insidious categories. It denies the reality of the partner.
  15. Abusive Anger: This arises out of his general sense of personal powerlessness. When the abuser vents anger on the partner he releases the underlying tension that is felt from his sense of personal powerlessness. The partner feels bad and the abuser feels good.

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    FEELINGS OF A VERBALLY
    ABUSED PERSON

    (Primary Feelings in the Partnerís Experiences)
    RESPONSIBILITY and INADEQUACY
    DETERMINATION and FRUSTRATION
    AFFECTION and REJECTION
    HOPE and DISAPPOINTMENT
    HAPPINESS and SADNESS
    SECURITY and FEAR
    SERENITY and SURPRISE/SHOCK

    CONFUSION:

    1. The feeling of RESPONSIBILITY makes a person more aware of their ability to achieve a level of personal power and independence. At this level or state, the "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of INADEQUACY makes a person aware of their inability to achieve such personal power. At this level, the "spirit" is diminished.

    2. The feeling of DETERMINATION helps a person attempt to reach their desired level of personal power. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of FRUSTRATION arises when a person feels as though theyíve been kept from achieving that goal. The "spirit" is diminished.

    3. The feeling of AFFECTION causes a person to share their personal power with others. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of REJECTION arises when a person feels as though theyíve been refused. At this level, the "spirit" is again diminished.

    4. The feeling of HOPE occurs when a person sees that itís possible to achieve the state of personal power. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of DISAPPOINTMENT comes when the desired state has not been realized. The "spirit" is diminished.

    5. The feeling of HAPPINESS comes when a person recognizes that their desired level is attainable. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of SADNESS occurs when achieving that desired level is lost. The "spirit" is diminished.

    6. The feeling of SECURITY helps to insure a person that nothing will keep them from achieving their goal. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of FEAR arises when the desired level is threatened. The "spirit" is endangered.

    7. The feeling of SERENITY enables a person to visualize themselves in their desired state. The "spirit" is nourished. The feeling of SHOCK arises when the desired state has been lost. The "spirit" is diminished.

    8. The feeling of CONFUSION arises when a person is unclear of how to resolve an inner conflict.
    *Adapted From The Verbally Abused Woman by Patricia Evans

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    PATTERNS WHICH INDICATE
    VERBAL ABUSE

    1. When interactions which upset, hurt or confuse the partner:
      • rarely occur in public
      • are unexpected
      • occur when she is feeling happy, enthusiastic, or successful
      • seem to become familiar
      • often communicate disdain for her interests, and
      • the abuser does not seem to seek reconciliation or even be bothered by the incident.
    2. Between the actions which upset, hurt or confuse the partner, the relationship seems to be functional.
    3. In some way the partner feels isolated.
    4. The abuser defines the partner, the relationship and most often, the upsetting interactions.
    5. The partner does not repeat to the abuser what she hears him say to her.
    *Adapted from The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

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    RESPONSES TO VERBAL ABUSE

    Say firmly & decisively:

    *Adapted from The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

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    WHEN YOU RESPOND
    TO VERBAL ABUSE, REMEMBER:

    *Adapted from The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

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    EFFECTS OF VERBAL ABUSE

    * Adapted from, The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans

    St. Jude House
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    Crown Point, Indiana 46307-4856

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