Verbal abuse is a type of abuse that is characterized by hurtful language and threats, rather than violence. People that are verbally abusive tend to hurt people emotionally rather than physically. Many people suffer through verbally abusive marriages and do not get out because their pain isn't physical. It is important to be aware of key signs of verbal abuse, whether it is happening to you or to someone that you know.
Verbally abusive husbands tend to belittle their wives by calling them derogatory names, mocking them or belittling them. This can either happen privately or in front of other people. The name calling and the insults can range from the obvious to the veiled. For example, if a husband is constantly telling his wife that she needs to lose weight and "put down the Twinkies," he most likely is trying to hurt her and keep her down rather than get her to improve herself.
If a wife is constantly walking on eggshells due to her husband's rage and temper, then she is likely being verbally abused. One telling sign of verbal abuse is topic avoidance. If a wife avoids ever mentioning a male co-worker that she often has to work with out of fear that her husband is going to get enraged and accuse her of cheating on him, then the situation may be seriously abusive and emotionally damaging.
If a wife is always being blamed for everything and being told that all of her problems are her own fault, she is probably in a verbally abusive marriage. Verbally abusive husbands often try to make their wives feel that all of their shortcomings or difficulties in life are because they deserve them or because they somehow brought them on by themselves.
Control also is a possible sign of verbal abuse. If a husband constantly monitors the whereabouts of his wife, she is probably being verbally abused. Some examples of this include not allowing his wife to have a social life, keeping her isolated away from her friends and family and restricting her access to communication, finances and transportation.
Another common tactic employed by verbally abusive husbands is that of intimidation. If a wife is always being threatened, no matter what the threat is, the situation points to verbal abuse. The husband could threaten to run away with their children, threaten to sabotage her relationship with her best friend or threaten to kill himself if she leaves him. All of these behaviors are characteristic of abuse.
Mood swings also can indicate verbal abuse. If a husband's behavior is impossible to predict, and one minute he's jumping for joy and the next he's either giving the silent treatment or screaming at you without any apparent reason or trigger, the instability is creating a volatile, uncomfortable and serious verbally abusive environment.
In conversations, if a husband is always trying to manipulate language or play word games, he is likely engaging in verbally abusive behavior. If he twists his wife's words, he is trying to manipulate the situation for his own benefit. For example, if she states that she trusts her mother and he retorts "So you're saying you don't trust me? I see how it is," then he is abusing her and trying to manipulate her words.
Sexual objectification also can point to verbal abuse. If a husband treats his wife like a submissive sex object and demands sex from her no matter what -- whether she is busy, ill or just doesn't want to -- then he is committing some seriously emotionally abusive behavior.