How to Survive Emotional or Verbal Abuse

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Emotional and verbal abuse can be as bad as or even worse than physical abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse has many manifestations, including yelling, criticizing, name-calling, blaming you for everything and playing mind games or manipulating you. In addition, ordering you around, keeping you from spending time with friends and family and threatening to hurt you are also forms of emotional and verbal abuse. If you are subjected to this type of abuse, know that you can survive it.

Keep your self-control and try not to be emotional. The person abusing you probably wants to hurt you, and showing that you are vulnerable will only encourage her to continue her verbal assault. If you can, adopt a confident and dignified voice. Speak articulately and calmly. If you have trouble cooling down, try to think about something pleasant.

Impose consequences. The consequences can vary, depending on the context. For example, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you can threaten to leave the abuser. If you are being abused at school, you can warn the abuser than you will notify a teacher or the principal about the abuse. If the abuser threatens you with physical force, tell him that you will call the police if he does not change his behavior.

Leave the situation. Do not act with violence. Calm down, move on and forget about it the incident, if possible. Verbal and emotional abuse happens from time to time, and it is best to remove yourself from this type of situation.

If the abuse is either severe or ongoing, call government hotlines. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224 (TTY) if you are suffering from domestic verbal abuse. If you are a teen being abused by your boyfriend or girlfriend, call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453. If the emotional or verbal abuse is of a sexual nature, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. All hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Surround yourself with supportive people who love you. People who love you will not abuse you. In addition, those who love you can be there to offer you support if someone else starts to abuse you.


It is often very difficult to leave an abusive relationship. You might need to consult a professional for assistance.


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