The verbal abuser uses words to disparage, undermine, belittle or control others, which disfigures a relationship through one of the cruelest forms of emotional maltreatment.
A manipulative and controlling personality will justify his or her abusive behaviours in any way they can. Twisted thinking, circular reasoning, and entitled attitudes all merge to create a wealth of excuses and blame. Abusers often feel like they can get away with anything. Sadly, they often do.
In Becoming Allies, a book written with the intent of helping abusers change their toxic behaviours and attitudes, Dr. Chris Huffine points out the tangled logic of many domestic violators. He explains how they tend to use the excuse of “justifiable abuse” to rationalize their behaviour. For example, often an abuser will reason:
“Calling someone a negative name is abusive—unless the name accurately describes them, in which case it’s not. Labeling someone’s behavior negatively is abusive—unless that label accurately describes the behavior, in which case it’s not. For example, if you think someone is acting stupid, then saying ‘You’re acting stupid’ is not abusive; it’s simply descriptive.”
Yep. Seriously. This is a typical abusive attitude. They feel they can call their partners whatever they want — as long as they also feel it’s true.
Someone with unbalanced narcissistic tendencies and a fondness for controlling his partner often uses this justification to violate his relationship through verbal attacks. “It’s okay to call her stupid, because she truly is stupid!” he’ll reason. The attacks then continue, and likely intensify. After all, his conscience has been appeased with his own unreasonable reasonings.
I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.