"My boyfriend is verbally abusive" is a difficult thing to admit to yourself. You will have suffered considerably before realizing that something is not right. It's probable that at the start of the relationship everything seemed fantastic. You may have felt that at last you had found someone who understood you. He made you feel special, cared for, even loved.
And then things changed. For the worst.
Your friends and family may have warned you but you ignored that. They didn't know him like you did. It wasn't until you began to suspect for yourself that something was wrong that you went investigating.
I am going to assume that you have read all about verbal abuse, all the usual stuff plus the vagueness of his language, the comparisons, the repeated arguments over the same issues, his playing the victim like a pro, his distorting of information and events to make out that it's all your fault and so on. I am not going to go over that stuff here. You can read the details in this article about the signs of verbal abuse here.
What I do want to look at is what you can do...
People in abuse situations, when they first begin to realize what is going on, typically have doubts. They go back and forth in their minds about whether it is actually happening to them or not.
The reason for this is that they have been trained to trust and believe in the abuser. They have been trained to defend the abuser. It's difficult for them to hear criticism of the abuser, even from themselves.
This is part of the pseudopersonality, a false personality, that is imposed on victims of abuse by the manipulator. Again, I am not going to go into details about that here but you can read more about the dynamics of this pseudopersonality in the article about narcissistic boyfriends. Do take the time to read this one, if not now, later. It will help to make sense of a lot of what has been happening to you. In fact, go ahead and read it now. I will wait!
Ok, done? Ok, back to the doubts.
"He wouldn't do that to me, he loves me." "It can't be that, maybe I am too sensitive." "But we have had such nice times together, it'll pass and we will have nice times again." "He is basically a good person, it must be me upsetting him."
These are some of the things that go through the victim's mind when they are beginning to realize what is really happening. Your real personality knows there is something wrong, and the pseudopersonality jumps in to defend him. This phase can be very disconcerting because you can't seem to keep one train of thought in place, it changes very rapidly, sometimes seemingly for no reason at all.
The best thing you can do is to talk to a trusted friend (not your boyfriend!!) about what is actually happening in your relationship. Listen carefully to what they say! It's usually easier for an outsider to see verbal abuse than it is for the person on the receiving end of the abuse. Again, there is a good reason for that.
It may feel like you are betraying your boyfriend in some way by actually telling a third party about what is happening. Or you may be afraid of the repercussions if he finds out. Just so you know, both of these are also signs that you are in an abusive relationship! And it's all the more reason to tell a friend or family member. You have to break these patterns in order to protect yourself.
Your friend will be able to validate your experience. They will confirm your suspicions and help with those doubts. You will know that it's not all you!! As well as that, you are going to need support. You may as well start with that as soon as possible.
You have to figure out who you are dealing with. Why is he verbally abusive? What kind of person is your boyfriend? Is he manipulative or insecure? Does he do it because his parents did this to him?
There are a group of people who manipulate and control for the sake of manipulating and controlling. Their relationships are based on exploitation and coercion. These are the psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.
This may be a bit of a shock, but if you are in a relationship with someone with a personality disorder, you really need to be aware of it. The rules they play by are not the usual, polite rules of society. The term is "antisocial personality disorder" for a reason. They are antisocial. Their relationships are disordered in all sorts of ways.
You have to investigate this idea, even if it is to rule it out. Thinking that your boyfriend could not possibly be a psychopath or a narcissist is a huge mistake. I know he may not fit your idea of a psychopath, but what if your idea of a psychopath is incomplete? The vast majority of psychopaths are not knife wielding maniacs or serial rapists that we see in the movies. The vast majority are hidden in society. And because people often don't know what makes a person a psychopath, they don't recognize one when they see one.
If you are in a relationship with someone with a personality disorder you have to keep in mind at all times that they are doing things on purpose and they know what they are doing, no matter how implausible or improbable it may seem.
They are not going to change either. That's worth repeating. They are not going to change. Ever! They will not suddenly realize what a wonderful person you are, how lucky they are to be with you and start treating you accordingly. It's not going to happen.
This idea that 'hurt people hurt other people' is something to pay attention to. It means that people who were hurt as kids, who had a poor upbringing, go on to abuse others. First of all, this is by no means a universal rule. Some people who were abused as kids may abuse others later on, but many people who were abused as kids go out of their way to be nice to others, especially their own kids because they absolutely do not want their own kids to suffer as they themselves did.
Many abusers will claim that they had a bad childhood. The unspoken part is that they can't do anything about it, you should feel sorry for them and you also have to just put up with their bad behavior. But wait a minute. That is a pathetic excuse! The abuser is an adult. They are responsible for what they do. If they don't like how they are treating others, they should go and get help.
But, of course, the abusers don't (or rarely) go for help. The reality is that they think they are superior to others, nothing is their fault and so they have no reason to change anything. If you end up in therapy with them, you can rest assured that things will get worse. They will use what you said to the therapist against you later. More about this below.
Anyway, the idea is to know for definite whether you are with a psychopath or not. It's very significant! It will determine how you go from here...
Assuming you are with a psychopath or a narcissist or a sociopath, step 3 is to get out. As I said, they are not going to stop abusing you and it's up to you to do something about it.
However, if you are in an abusive relationship, the thought of leaving is terrifying. You may be afraid of his reaction, you may have financial commitments and you may even be afraid that you will not be able to manage without him, or you will never find anyone else again and you will end up alone forever. These things act as phobias, irrational fears, that keep many people in abusive situations for years and even decades. I say irrational fears because they have little to do with reality. Many people have left controlling situations and have not only survived but have gone on to better, healthy relationships afterwards. But I know that when thinking of leaving such a position, these concerns are all too real.
So how do you deal with them? He has been using fear and guilt against you the whole time you were with him. He has tricked you, lied to you, threatened you and so on for months or years. He has dominated the relationship, he has taken advantage of you without your knowledge or consent. How can you trust other people again? How can you even trust yourself again?
Well, the trick is to learn. Learn about psychopaths and narcissists. Learn about mind control. What is this? How does it work? What are the tactics and techniques that were used against you? How did he know to use those techniques? What effect did they have on you?
How specifically did he control your perceptions, your values, your thinking, your decision making, your emotions and your actions? Understanding these things means that the effects of what he was doing wear off, that pseudopersonality thing disappears and you get to start controlling your own life again.
I don't mean to make it sound simple. It is not! It takes time, effort and a lot of work. But it's worth it.
Get help from a professional, not just any psychologist, but someone who understands mind control and psychopaths. That will save you time and money and heartache.
Take the "Is my boyfriend controlling"? test, learn what things are important if you think that you are in an abusive relationship, read more about the stages of an abusive relationship, more signs of someone being manipulative, things to keep in mind when leaving an emotionally abusive relationship and what's involved in recovering from a psychopathic relationship.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
You have the theory but how do you actually apply it? This book spells it out...
Do you think that you might be in an abusive relationship? Are you realizing that the group you are in may be a cult?
Do you think you are being taken advantage of emotionally, physically, sexually or financially in your relationship? Do you want to leave but you can't seem to get away?