Not sure where this article came from, I had saved it in my computer files. Excellent informational and I HIGHLY recommend reading the book yourself to really understand the dynamics of an emotionally abusive relationship so you can see the red flags avoid this kind of situation in your own life.
Emotional abuse can be defined as any nonphysical behavior that is designed to control, intimidate, subjugate, demean, punish or isolate another person through the use of degradation, humiliation or fear.” (From: The Emotionally Abusive Relationship – Beverly Engle)
This article is designed to give you the tools to identify emotionally abusive patterns in your life…and give you a way out…a way to cope…a way to love yourself and others in your life…every moment of every day.
Patricia Evans in her book: “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” points out that most emotional and verbal abuse can be very difficult to recognize and sometimes goes on without notice.
Evans points to some of the reasons verbal and emotional abuse can seem elusive, these
1. Mostly, verbal abuse is secretive. Usually only the partner of the abuser hears it.
2. Verbal abuse becomes more intense over time. The partner becomes used to and
adapted to it.
3. Verbal abuse takes many forms and disguises
4. Verbal abuse consistently discounts the partner’s perception of the abuse.
Evans includes “Categories of Verbal Abuse” in her book. I include the list below
followed by their definitions:
4. Verbal abuse disguised as jokes
5. Blocking and diverting
6. Accusing and blaming
7. Judging and criticizing
11. Name calling
1. Withholding Withholding is primarily manifested as a withholding of information and a failure to share thoughts and feelings. A person who withholds information refuses to engage with his partner in a healthy relationship. He does not share his feelings or thoughts. When he does share anything at all, it is purely factual or functional information of the sort his partner could have looked up on the Internet, read on his Facebook wall or figured out for herself by looking around. Examples of withholding communication that fails to engage the partner include “The car is almost out of gas,” “The keys are on the table,” and “The show is on now.”
2. Countering Countering is a tendency to be very argumentative but not merely in political, philosophical or scientific contexts but in ordinary contexts as well. The victim of the abuse may share her positive feelings about a movie she just saw, and the abuser may then attempt to convince her that her feelings are wrong. This is an example of countering. Countering is a way of dismissing the victim’s feelings, thoughts and experiences on a regular basis.
3. Discounting Discounting is an attempt to deny that the victim of the abuse has any right to her thoughts or feelings. It may come out as criticism but criticism of a particular kind. The abuser may tell the victim on a regular basis that she is too sensitive, too childish, has no sense of humor or tends to make a big deal out of nothing. The abuser thereby denies the victim’s inner reality, indirectly telling her that how she feels and what she experiences is wrong.
4. Verbal abuse disguised as jokes Verbal abuse is often disguised as jokes. The abuser may say something very upsetting to the victim of the abuse and then after seeing her reaction add “It was just a joke.” Abuse is not okay in any form. Jokes that hurt are abusive.
5. Blocking and diverting Blocking and diverting is a form of withholding but one where the abuser decides which topics are good conversation topics. An abuser practicing this form of abuse may tell the victim that she is talking out of turn or is complaining too much.
6. Accusing and blaming Accusing and blaming are forms of abuse in which the abuser will accuse the victim of the abuse for things that are outside of her control. He might accuse her of preventing him from getting a promotion because she is overweight or ruining his reputation because she dropped out of college.
7. Judging and criticizing Judging and criticizing is similar to accusing and blaming but also involves a negative evaluation of the partner. As Evans points out, “Most ‘you’ statements are judgmental, critical, and abusive.” Some abusive judging and criticizing “you” statements are: “You are never satisfied”, “You always find something to be upset about”, “The reason no one likes you is that you are so negative”.
8. Trivializing Trivializing is a form of verbal abuse that makes most things the victim of the abuse does or wants to do seem insignificant. The abuser might undermine her work, her way of dressing or her choice of food.
9. Undermining Undermining is similar to trivializing but further consists in undermining everything the victim says or suggests, making her question herself and her own opinions and interests.
10. Threatening Threatening is a common form of verbal abuse and can be very explicit, as in “If you don’t start doing what I say, I will leave you” or more subtle, as in “If you don’t follow my advice, others will find out that you are a very unreliable person.”
11. Name calling Name calling, too, can be explicit or subtle. Explicit name calling can consist in calling the victim of the abuse a “cunt” a “whore” or a “bitch”. But it can also be more subtle, calling the other person things that are implicitly hurtful, for instance, “You are such a victim” or “You think you are so precious, don’t you?”
12. Forgetting The category of forgetting covers a range of issues ranging from forgetting to keep a promise to forgetting a date or an appointment. Even if the abuser really forgot, it is still abuse, because he ought to have made an effort to remember.
13. Ordering Any form of ordering or demanding is a form of verbal abuse. It falls under the general issue of control. I have written another post about controlling people. The link is here.
14. Denial Denial is abusive when it consists in denying bad behavior and failing to realize the consequences of one’s behavior. An abuser will find a way to justify and rationalize his behavior. This is a way of denying that he has done anything wrong.
15. Abusive anger Abusive anger consists in any form of yelling and screaming, particularly out of context. Even yelling “shut up!” is abusive. There are other ways to deal with people who need to “shut up”. No one deserves to be yelled at.
Another article shared:
A very good book I highly recommend to recognize verbal abuse is “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans. I googled a bit of info and this is a good synopsis of the book:
Patricia Evans’ book is packed full of detailed information about the major differences in the way the verbal/emotional abuser and the victim or partner thinks. It is a great book to read as it goes into great detail about the two separate realities the abuser and the partner live in.
The two realities are called Reality 1, which the abuser lives in, and Reality 2 which the partner lives in. Both realities deal with power but in different ways. Reality 1 deals with “Power-Over”, and Reality 2 deals with “Empowerment”. The problem comes along when the partner, living in Reality 2, thinks the abuser is also living in Reality 2.
“Power-Over” is just that: Power over anything and anyone. Everything is weighed by the abuser as a win or lose situation, even those casual conversations that you may define as trivial. To feel good the abuser must always win at all costs and only the abuser can define a “win”. It is a “me first” kind of reality where everything is geared around self.
“Empowerment”, in Reality 2, is gained by living a life of mutuality where there is support, trust, assurance and encouragement. The partner always wants the best for and thinks the best of their spouse or significant other. They also unknowingly believe their spouse or significant other is thinking the same way they are. If there is an argument, the partner thinks if they only explain themselves to their abuser, he/she will someday understand – there will be an “Ah-hah” moment and everything will be better. Unfortunately this does not happen. The abuser, living in Reality 1, does not care for explanations. The abuser is only concerned with winning and “Power-Over”.
Evans describes the different categories of verbal abuse. These are withholding, countering, discounting, joking, blocking and diverting, accusing and blaming, judging and criticizing, trivializing, undermining, threatening, name calling, forgetting, ordering, denial and abusive anger. She also gives information on how to respond to each of these categories. There is also a section about protecting your children against verbal abuse which is very helpful.
From another source: Since the verbal abuser needs to have Power Over his partner, he cannot accept her as an equal. He may, however, tell her that he does. Why can’t he accept her as an equal? Because he would experience her equality as his inferiority. He would have to ask for what he wanted. He would be open to rejection. He would have to give up control and dominance. Control and dominance seem to give the abuser a sense of power, security and identity as a male.
One way to identify a relationship of inequality is to determine whether or not the couple can set mutual goals and discuss them together. In an abusive relationship, the couple does not really plan together. Planning together requires mutuality and equality. Mutuality and equality do not exist with Reality I (power over). In an abusive relationship the partner may discover that her mate will not discuss long – or short term goals with her, nor is he willing, in some instances, even to make plans with her for a weekend. Neither personal goals nor plans for the future together are discussed and agreed upon in a mutually supportive way.