When you think of an abusive relationship, you probably think about physical abuse. The picture that pops into your mind is probably a battered girlfriend, someone who looks sad and worn down next to her boyfriend, a guy who seems nice but has a fierce angry streak. Physical abuse in any kind of relationship, platonic or romantic, is obviously a huge issue that needs to be addressed, but it’s important to note that it certainly is not the only kind of abuse that can happen in a relationship. As we’ve discussed before, your significant other can also be emotionally abusive – something that comes off as much more sneaky and manipulative. One big part of emotional abuse is verbal abuse, which can be especially easy to ignore or blow off – but it’s something you absolutely should not accept from a partner.
Verbal abuse refers to a partner who uses name-calling, humiliation, gaslighting, and infantilization to get their way or assert their control. Verbally abusive behavior can leave someone feeling intimidated and full of self-doubt, which can lead to them relying more on the partner doing the abusing. It’s a vicious cycle, and it happens more often than you think. Unfortunately, it’s easy to pretend it isn’t happening. When there’s no hitting or shoving involved, and your partner apologizes for their mean words later on, it’s easy to blow it off as just another relationship argument and to assume this happens all the time. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t. You need to be aware of the signs of verbal abuse just as much as you need to be aware of the signs of physical abuse.
One example of this is a recent story about social media stars and now exes Madison Beer and Jack Gilinsky. An audio recording of Jake verbally abusing Madison was released on Twitter recently, and in it, you can hear Jack calling her a “f****** slut,” a “bitch,” and generally just putting her down and talking to her with zero respect – you can listen here if you want. The two are clearly fighting about something, and obviously neither of them are being really nice to each other, but that’s expected in a relationship argument. What isn’t expected or okay? Calling your girlfriend slurs like “slut” and “bitch” to prove your point.
Since the recording was leaked, Madison has explained her side of the story, and Jack has apologized, but it was a depressing story that was made even worse when Madison’s own mother defended Jack. For me, it reinforced the idea that girls need to be made aware of verbal abuse signs, and need to be told that it should never, under any circumstances, be something you accept or stand for in a relationship. So, how do you know if it’s happening to you? Read these signs that your boyfriend might be verbally abusing you now:
If you think you are being verbally abused by your partner, you can find help by visiting the National Domestic Violence Hotline website or calling 1-800-799-7233.