Emotional/Verbal Abuse IS Abuse

"You are worthless. You are nothing, but a worthless slut."

Have you heard this before?

Is a vile name your term of endearment? Does your partner tell you how pitiful you are? Instead of complimenting your many beauties, he casually makes you aware of all your supposed physical 'flaws' (the ones he knows will cut you way down deep) and then plays it off like he was just kidding. Has this ever happened to you?

It alarms me that many people think that unless you have a black eye or a broken nose, you are not being abused, or that verbal and emotional warfare is somehow excusable.

I have heard opinions like: a woman is simply making a big deal of nothing or 'playing' the abuse card; that it's ridiculous to classify 'name calling' as 'real' abuse.

That is, first off, unfair and second, absolute crap. Words, ugly words your partner should never say to you, that some hear in place of praises every day, DO hurt.

This isn't only about 'name calling' though. A lot of times the stress and abuse is in the delivery. When he's barking at you about how slow you are at getting ready, yet barging in literally every 3 minutes or so to remind you that you are, as he has stated once, twice, three times already, "fucking slow."

Some of you may think this doesn't sound bad enough to call abuse. How about if he is screaming at you? In front of your family, friends or even your child. And no one even deserves this. There was no reason for him to start yelling. He just has a short, blind temper.

Now it takes every bit of your strength not to start crying, because then, he will feed off of your tears. He will start going on about what a “pussy” you are for crying. For crying because he is standing there like a drill sergeant bellowing in your ear to “hurry the fuck up," when all you want is to get ready in peace and have a fun day with your family. These are mornings for you.

Should you happen to try and talk back, stand up for yourself, he acts out as a bully. Grabbing your face and smearing your freshly applied make up all to ruins or breaking a belonging of yours. Now what? All this time you've been rushing to get ready (partially just so his lecture will end) and now he has either added more time to your routine because you have to fix what he just smeared all over your face OR you have to wipe off what you can and go out the way you are. How is this fair? How is this humane? How on earth did he ever get it in his head that he was allowed to treat you this way?

We aren't finished yet. This confrontation has left a bad taste in your mouth, has left you in a quiet daze. You stay silent. You have nothing to say and he starts to notice...

(In a sickening, mocking tone) "Oh, did I ruin your day because I got mad. Poor baby. You are fucking stupid. I fucking hate you."

You say you're fine, make up some excuse for being quiet and change the subject to try and curb his anger. You have learned by now that trying to defend yourself, your feelings, your rights…that is futile. It will only fuel his fiery tongue. And he will make it go on and on, for what seems like an eternity. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is sunny, lively, cheerful and completely oblivious to the emotional hell you call a relationship every day.


There are plenty more examples of this kind of abuse, many worse. And plenty of reasons why a woman can feel stuck, like she has no way out, ESPECIALLY when there are children and/or a history of violence involved.

What if he takes your kid and they potentially have to deal with this overflow of misdirected anger every day? Until, it has slowly eaten away at their innocent character leaving an emotional brokenness where a pure, unadulterated love for existence once dwelled. What if he hurts you? What if he leaves you disfigured? (You have seen stories about this on TV before, about how it has happened to other women.) What if he KILLS you? Then who will raise and protect your child from unnecessary evils?

Not every woman has found the strength that seems to come so easily to some, to "Just leave his sorry ass." Perhaps it takes a specific breed of compassion to sympathize for women in this position, maybe it takes personal experience. Either way, they shouldn't be dismissed as, "whiners, with no REAL abuse issues."

One of my favorite sayings on this topic: Verbal abuse may not leave a bruise, but it DOES leave a scar.

More articles by Category: Feminism, Violence against women
More articles by Tag: Domestic violence, Sexualized violence, Sexual harassment, Activism and advocacy



Ashleigh J
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