The link between verbal abuse and anxiety is a powerful one. There are several mental disorders that are caused by trauma and chronic stress – in fact, the two are one of the leading causes of mental disorders in adults. A lot of attention is put into physical abuse and its negative effects. Sadly, we all tend to ignore the effects of mental abuse.

Scientific studies have shown that cyber-bullying and real-life verbal abuse [1] are extremely dangerous. They both have a negative effect on the hemispheres of the brain. So anytime someone is being yelled at, disrespected or insulted, they are actually suffering.

Sherri Gordon is a published author and a renowned bullying prevention expert. According to the author, “Because verbal abuse isn’t as clear-cut as other forms of abuse and bullying, like physical bullying and sexual bullying, it can be hard to identify. But that doesn’t make it any less real”.

The usual norm with verbal abuse is that the person gets involved in some sort of verbal interaction that leads to emotional harm in the person. Examples of forms of verbal abuse include unfounded criticism, lashing out at a person in anger and use of manipulative words.

This leads to self-doubt in the person being oppressed. It also leads to a feeling of inadequacy, feeling of worthlessness and feeling downright stupid. All they do is pre-determined by the words of the abusive person.

In the case of romantic relationships, verbal abuse can be confusing. Usually, a partner that is verbally abusive wouldn’t be physical abusive – which confuses the partner. The abuser would time to time show love and gentleness which misleads the abused partner to forget all their abusive behaviors. This is a real dilemma in many relationships.

In the end, the abused partner ignores the pattern of abuse. Sometimes they even make excuses for their abusive partners and justify their abusive behaviors. Common excuses include “they are just stressed out or they are going through a tough time right now.”

The following are the effects of verbal abuse:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines
  • Eating disorders
  • Digestive issue

The following are the short-term symptoms

  • Overthinking
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of enthusiasm and low self-esteem

Verbal abuse is manifested in various ways and these are some of the common manifestations of it [2] :

Mood Killer

Abusers love control – so anytime you are having a good time, they feel the need to exert their control and kill the mood. The sadness of their victims keeps them going.


Name-calling is one way in which verbal abuses manifests.

Abusers Are Always Right

You would never find an abuser that apologizes. To them, they cannot be wrong. Instead, they would rather have their victims being sympathetic. 


Abusers blame everyone for everything except themselves – this is one of the most common manifestations of verbal abuse.


Sometimes, jokes can be harmful. Abusers tend to hide behind the guise of jokes to prey on their victims.

Attack Interests

Abusers always attack the interests of their attackers, bringing a feeling of worthlessness in them.


It is common to find a verbal abuser disrespecting everyone, they always act in contempt and never appreciate the efforts of others. 

Behind Closed Doors

Abusers love to perpetuate their actions behind closed doors. This can be anywhere – school, workplace, home – but in private where others won’t see them.


Many cases of abuse persons tend to find solace in isolation as a form of protection from the abuses. They feel anxious all time and never show confidence in their works, words or actions.

Whenever you notice anyone showing the slightest of signs of the above, try and help this person. We should all fight verbal abuse the way we fight physical abuse.

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