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Intimate Partner Abuse Screen




Emotional Verbal Abuse - Signs that Serve to Save Domestic Abuse Survivors

domestic violence consulting expert


By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.


Women say, I was glad when he hit me, because I finally realized what was on my plate. I finally got it. This is abuse!


Do you need the altercations in your home to become physical before you can see them for what they are? If so, you could be making your remedy more difficult, more debilitating, than you may imagine.


Each time a verbal assault occurs, is neutralized, rationalized, forgiven, swept under the carpet, the elephant that forms under the carpet gets larger and larger and larger...until the day comes when it’s so large we trip over it.


Allowance for verbal and emotional abuse


The verbal attacks and emotional blows are simply another medium of battering. And some people will tell you that the scars of these wounds can be as destructive, if not more, than those of physical abuse.


When on the receiving end of verbal and emotional abuse from someone you love, it is easier to create “permissions” by our own internal denial mechanisms, even though we may know the verbal and emotional abuse are “wrong.”


The psychology here is the two contradictory behaviors—emotional verbal attack and multiple expressions of promise, caring and perceived love—are cancelled out by the person on the receiving end, all with the hopes of starting anew. Yet, when physical abuse creeps into the picture, a whole new level of rationalization must take place for the couple to move forward in the abusive relationship.


Emotional and Verbal Abuse Maintain the Threat of Physical Abuse


Once they do move forward in the relationship, the emotional verbal abuse can be used to sustain the abuse dynamic. How and why? Because, the use of the verbal assault serves to remind the victim that the big blow is right around the corner.  This knowing invariably complicates the survivor’s dealing with the abusive relationship. What happens is it keeps her in the corner for longer periods of time.


If verbal abuse or emotional abuse knocks on the door of your relationship, see it for what it is before it spirals into physical abuse.


The sooner you do, the easier it will be for you to remedy the conflict you live in your home. If you are wondering if the emotional verbal abuse you encounter is indicative of intimate partner violence, visit

Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D., founding director of partners in Prevention, helps people recognize, end and heal from emotional abuse.

This series of eInsights is presented to you by Partners in Prevention, a nonprofit organization. If you find this eInsight article useful, we invite you to contribute to the maintenance and growth of the Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit


©Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.