Verbal abuse is all about dominance and establishing control over the other person in a relationship. There are certain ways verbal abusers use manipulation to bring you down, in order for them to feel more powerful and in charge of the relationship. Verbal abuse prevents you from having a real relationship, because you may think that you’re happily in love and not notice the ways the abuser brings you down, but there’s no real love there. It’s just a game of power for your partner, while you’re completely blinded by love.

If you find yourself always feeling sad around your partner and feel like you’re not the match you used to be, pay attention to some of these signs in your relationship to see if your partner could be a verbal abuser.

1. Countering

This manifests in the way of him undermining your emotions and feelings about little things. If you find yourself talking excitedly about a movie you want to see, he will tell you that it’s not worth it. If you’re happy about something, he will find a way to undermine your happiness, simply because he needs to be in control of your emotions and it feels good to him to bring you down in any way.

2. Withholding of information

He will either withhold information about his life, his work or his emotions in order to keep you in the dark, which gives him the feeling of control over you. He chooses which information to share with you, and if you ask about something that he had no intention of sharing with you, he will ask you to respect his privacy, thus making you feel bad about asking questions.

3. Abuse disguised in jokes

Abuse is abuse, no matter how it manifests. If he makes you feel bad about something and he sees that he overdid it, he will just say that he was joking. If his jokes hurt, that’s abuse.

4. Constant criticism

This is not just about you cooking badly or something you messed up; he will make you feel like you’re too emotional, too sensitive, too much or too less. He will criticize the way you feel and love, until you start believing that the way you love is wrong. The ultimate purpose of this is for you to lose yourself, which makes it easier for him to manipulate you.

5. Blame game

He will find a way to blame you for all of his failures. Your appearance is what cost him his reputation and you still working is making him look like a wuss. Or if you quit your job, he looks like an idiot for financing you. He is never satisfied. You need to try more, look better, work harder, but no matter what you do, it will never be enough. He will still have things to blame on you.

6. Undermining and trivializing

Undermining is a form of verbal abuse that makes you feel like everything you suggest is not good enough and your interests are not interesting or good. He will undermine your choice of food, work or anything you do, making you feel not worthy enough. Trivializing shows in the feeling that whatever you do is not good enough, as no matter how hard you try, he will find a way to dismiss it or call it only a minor effort.

7. Name-calling

This one manifests in many ways. He will either give you a pet name that is offensive or hurtful to you, but claim that it comes from love or he will go straight to calling you a bitch or someone playing the victim. Another form of name-calling is making you feel bad by asking you, “You think you’re so special, don’t you?”

8. Threats

If he blackmails you into doing things his way by threatening to leave you, do you need any other sign of verbal abuse? If sentences like, “If you leave, I will kill myself,” or, “If you don’t answer me now, I’m coming there,” or, “If you don’t do this, we’re done,” are common in your relationship, then that’s not a relationship at all.

9. Commanding

This one comes from his need for controlling you. He will no longer ask you nicely to do things, he will simply command you to do them. If you don’t comply, he will snap or start threatening you. Either way, it’s all about control, not love.

10. Denial

If he can’t see the problem in your relationship, it’s not because there isn’t one, it’s because he refuses to see it. He will always find a way to justify his behavior, and ultimately it will lead him to blaming it on you. If he snaps, that’s because you did something. If he denies you information, it’s because you’re smothering him. There is always a reason behind his behavior, and that reason is you.

11. Anger management issues

If he snaps at you without any particular reason, he has anger management issues. No one deserves to be yelled at, so neither do you. If he starts screaming about you being late because of traffic or any other trivial thing, who knows how long it will be before his words turn into fists. Is he really worth it?

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