Verbal Abuse refers to the use of language to manipulate, control, ridicule, insult, humiliate, belittle, vilify, and show disrespect and disdain to another, and is often a component of other types of abuse.

Verbal Abuse is not recognized and is poorly understood by the therapeutic community. Verbal Abuse is comprised of any of the following:

Accusing / Blaming
Accusing and blaming another for ones own outbursts, expressions of anger, bad moods, mistakes, and failures. Example: "If you were'nt so lazy, forgetful, sloppy, and inattentive, I wouldn't get so mad!"

Covert / Subtle
Seemingly sincere, expressed in a loving and concerned manner, but placing all blame and fault on the other person in an excusive or condesceding manner. Example: "It's OK, we have problems talking to each other because you really aren't capable of understanding the whole picture. I'll just compensate for that."

The inability to admit and take responsibility for ones actions and words concurrent with accusations and blame directed at the one abused. Examples: "I never said that, you can't get anything straight", "You’re lying, making that all up to make me look bad", "Where did you get that crazy idea?"

Discounting / Dismissiveness
Denigration and/or denial of the experience, skills, maturity, and abilities of another; often marked by distortion and/or fabrication. Examples: "You call that art? Even a chimpanzee could do better than that!", "You so dumb you couldn't even add up two and two and get four!"

Judgemental Criticism
Criticism that goes beyond neutral and/or constructive verbal correction of erroneous actions; comprised in part of ridicule, name calling, denigration, and/or humilation. Examples: "What are you, stupid? Can't you ever do anything right?", "You didn't even finish college, you're just a quitter and a failure"

Public or private intentional shaming and embarassment of any kind. Example: "oh, you need to be tolerant of him, he doesn't know any better"

Appealing to and/or using another's sense of responsibility or obligation to achieve a personal goal. Example: "If you really loved me, you would..."

Name Calling / Epithets
All name calling, and epithets directed at another are abusive.

Making fun of and otherwise "putting down" another person or group based on their appearance, gender, competency, beliefs, ethnicity, culture, or religion. Example: "He will never amount to anything because he is just a "

Teasing / Joking
Humor at the expense of another, comprised of humilation, dismissiveness, exaggeration

A list of books about the topic Behaviorism

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