Sunday, February 3, 2013

Recognizing Verbal Abuse

I just read The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. I found it very informative, although it does have a gender bias due to the author's experience being limited to helping women more than men. She admits this and says that men can also be victims of verbal abuse but this particular book is aimed at women.

Ms. Evans has a website and there you can read many of the points made in the book.
Verbal abuse includes withholding, bullying, defaming, defining, trivializing, harassing, diverting, interrogating, accusing, blaming, blocking, countering, lying, berating, taunting, put downs, abuse disguised as a joke, discounting, threatening, name-calling, yelling and raging.
Early in a marriage, the abused person may be surprised by the change in her spouse, and may wonder what she did to make him angry. Ms. Evans points out that it is probably less about what she did than it is his need to control. Farther on in the book, she provides some ways to react to verbal abuse. Examples include responding to:
  • Ordering: Say "Do you hear yourself?" or "I don't follow orders."
  • Anger: Try "Stop! Take a deep breath and please talk nicely" or "You may not raise your voice to me!"
Although Patricia Evans is not a psychotherapist, she has years of experience in the field of interpersonal communications. If you think you are being verbally abused, this book can be helpful.