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Most people are not aware they are in an abusive relationship. They seem to think it’s only when your significant other throws a punch at you or gives you a black eye, that you’re domestically abused. There’s another type of abuse that’s kills from the inside; verbal abuse. This affects the emotions and causes low self esteem among other effects. Sometimes, this escalates into physical abuse. Verbal abuse not only occur in romantic relationship but also parent-child relationship, friendship and even on the job. It’s important to look out for these red flags.     

TYPES OF VERBAL ABUSE

Blame. Verbally abusive people tend to make you feel responsible for how they behave. They want you to believe that you’re at fault; even for their own mistakes. E. g, “because of you, I get angry easily”.

Name-calling. This belittles you. It is sometimes obvious or disguised as a tease or pet name. E.g, “Sweetheart, sometimes you behave like you’re senseless”.

Manipulation  It is a controlling attempt to make you do something without making it a direct order. E.g, “do this for me, if you love me”.

Withholding  This is when they refuse to talk to you for a long time so that you’ll work harder to get their attention.  It’s also called silent treatment. E.g, when you both go out, you say or do something they don’t like, they leave you to come home alone, and don’t talk to you for a while, waiting for you to apologize; not concerned even if they do it publicly. 

Threats. This is suppose to make you comply to their demand. E.g, “if you don’t have sex with me, I’ll go and get it elsewhere”.

Gaslighting. It’s a systematic effort to make you question yourself;  blaming yourself. You’ll always be apologizing for every misunderstanding.

Degradation  They use this to make you feel less of yourself. E.g, “before we got married, you were nothing, who would have wanted you? , I made you what you’re today”.

Critisism. This eats away at your self worth; in a verbally abusive relationship, constructive criticism is usually harsh and persistent. E.g, “there’s nothing at all you can do”. 

HOW TO HELP YOURSELF.   You must first recognise that you’re being verbally abused before you can seek for help. Speak with a counsellor or join a support group, this can help you see things in a different light. Healing takes time, so it’s important to give yourself time to heal before going into another relationship to prevent insecurities. Isolate yourself from your abuser. Reach out to family and friends who are supportive. When you’ve finally come out of that abused state, you’ll then see it for what it was. 

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