How to Deal With Someone Who Is Verbally Abusive and Screams at You

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Dealing with someone’s verbal abuse can be psychologically and emotionally taxing. Victims of verbal abuse often wish the verbally abusive person’s behavior would change for the better, but victims must focus on their responses to the abuse, says Kellie Holly, a writer with website Using effective tools to address verbal abuse will enable you to successfully deal with this unhealthy behavior.

Stress Management

When someone is verbally abusive toward you, you must do is find a sufficient way to deal with the stress associated with this treatment. No one “makes” a person feel a certain way or forces a person to respond to a situation in a specific manner; your response to stress from a verbally abusive person is your choice, states Donna M. White, a licensed mental health counselor, writing on “Psych Central.” White suggests that the way you view the situation, such as realizing that you cannot change a verbally abusive person’s behavior and the way you choose to handle the abuse can help you manage your stress. White also suggests that “The Serenity Prayer” can help teach yourself to accept things you cannot change.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with verbally abusive people requires you to assertively express how someone else’s verbal abuse makes you feel and that you don’t want to be treated in this manner, and can also indicate consequences for repeated violations of overstepping your boundaries. When your friend or significant other beings yelling at you or speaking in a condescending tone, tell him you do not like him speaking to you in that way, because it makes you feel unhappy that he does not respect you. Ask your friend to tell you when he is having a bad day and would rather be alone instead of yelling at you or speaking to you in a negative tone. If your friend continues to mistreat you, implement a consequence, such as telling your friend or significant other that you choose to minimize contact with him until he learns how to treat you.

Find Support

Friends can help you deal with verbally abusive people by providing you with emotional support, Holly states. Have a network of individuals around to help you sort through the pain, anger, and hurt you experience when your friend, coworker or significant other is verbally abusive toward you. Keeping your anger penned up inside can exacerbate your stress levels and make you feel even worse. Talking to your friends about the various emotions you experience is a healthy way to cope with a verbally abusive relationship.

Move On

The Serenity Prayer says, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” If you learn that no matter what you do you are unable to convince someone who is being verbally abusive to you to treat you appropriately, and are unable to maintain good emotional health while keeping this person in your life you may need to have the courage to move on from this toxic relationship. Removing yourself from a verbally abusive person and moving on is a way that you can change this situation. Be direct and tell your verbally abusive friend or significant other that you will no longer allow him to mistreat you. If he insists that he will change and asks you not to leave, tell him you will consider being available to him once, he seeks some help for his abusive behavior and practices healthier communication.