7 Consequences of Verbal Abuse

July 17, 2018 Emily J. Sullivan

The consequences of verbal abuse can be severe and long-lasting. Learn about 7 dangerous consequences of verbal abuse on HealthyPlace.

Consequences of verbal abuse can creep up on anyone suffering abuse, causing severe and lasting effects. Verbal abuse in relationships begins slowly and then typically gets progressively worse, the abuse serving as a catalyst for dangerous psychological consequences for the victim. A verbally abusive relationship can cause a person to become plagued with depression, mood swings, lowered self-esteem, misplaced guilt, isolation, loneliness, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although these negative side effects may outlast the relationship itself, they are not generally permanent and can be treated and overcome completely. Continue reading to find out more about these seven consequences of verbal abuse.  

7 Consequences of Verbal Abuse

  1. Depression -- Depression is an understandable consequence of verbal abuse, especially prolonged abuse. Common symptoms associated with depression include sadness, hopelessness, feelings of emptiness, trouble sleeping or even oversleeping. You may find yourself unhappy doing things you once loved or feeling like things will never get better. Verbal abuse can cause depression for the victim after weeks, months, or even years of feeling worn down by the abuser.  
  2. Mood swings -- Mood swings are a pretty standard psychological side effect for people involved in toxic relationships. Abusive relationships work in cycles that entail honeymoon periods in which everyone feels happy and in love and then a build-up of tension that leads to an abusive episode, and then a period of remorse that leads back to the honeymoon phase. Naturally, all of those ups and downs can have a person feeling mood swings. Mood swings can be chaotic and confusing, causing a person to feel like he or she can't trust his or her own judgment or feelings. 
  3. Lowered self-esteem -- Victims of verbal abuse have likely been called terrible names, belittled, degraded, blamed for things they feel they had no control over, screamed at, and bullied in ways that would take a major blow to anyone's self-esteem and ability to value one's self. Perpetual hyper-criticism can work like an icepick, picking away until there's nothing but pieces everywhere. The stress of the criticism can cause a person to feel like he or she cannot perform simple tasks effectively and lead to feelings of worthlessness. 
  4. Misplaced guilt -- Most people who have suffered verbal abuse have heard again and again that everything that goes wrong -- and I mean everything, including the price of the tea in China -- is all their fault. Being told repeatedly that you are at fault and to blame for anything negative that happens in your partner's life as well as the abuse you are suffering is at first, seemingly ludicrous but eventually, it is accepted as an obvious truth like the sky is blue and grass is green. This misplaced guilt will likely originate within the confines of the relationship but then seep out into other areas of the victim's life -- other relationships, work, his or her own misfortunes or random misfortunes of the people in his or her life, etc.  
  5. Isolation -- Verbal abuse in relationships often leads to friend and family estrangement, alienating the victim from loved ones. First, you may choose to spend all of your time with your new partner because you're happy and in love, then you may start to pull away from social gatherings because your partner doesn't like certain friends or family members, then you find yourself defensive of or embarrassed by the relationship you've found yourself in, so you isolate yourself.  Isolating yourself is a progressive pattern that begins with an ignored call or missed family event here or there, but then one day, you realize you haven't seen your mom in months and your best friend has found a new best friend. 
  6. Loneliness -- Loneliness is different from isolation because a person can feel lonely even in the company of others. To feel lonely can be to feel alone, misunderstood, uncared for, without friends or love, without companionship, etc. It is entirely possible to feel lonely while sitting right next to your partner, or falling asleep next to someone at night because loneliness is a mental symptom rather than a physical state of being. Loneliness is a common consequence of verbal abuse because the victim feels rejected and cast-aside from his or her partner as well as isolated from friends and family. 
  7. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- Posttraumatic stress disorder is a dangerous and understandable consequence of verbal abuse. Being beaten down by verbal abuse is extremely traumatic. The trauma of abuse carries over into new relationships, romantic, platonic, professional, and familial because the trauma comes from the subsequent communication issues, self-doubt, and fear of rejection. You may find yourself extremely sensitive to a tense conversation or really hard on yourself for a minor faux-pas at work. Disorders like PTSD can pop up unexpectedly, making you feel mentally unstable over things you think you should have a handle on.  

These seven consequences of verbal abuse in relationships are devastating to a person's quality of life. It can be difficult to move on and find happiness when you're still carrying around these negative side effects of toxic love. The good news is, none of these consequences of verbal abuse have to be permanent. With an investment in your own mental wellbeing, either through therapy, self-help reading, reaching out to close friends and family, or other options for recovery, you can overcome these painful symptoms of a relationship gone wrong. 


APA Reference
Sullivan, E. (2018, July 17). 7 Consequences of Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Emily J. Sullivan

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Clara J Chauteco
July, 17 2018 at 10:22 am

This is an incredibly informative article that accurately describes that painfully devastating effects of verbal abuse. Shared to my blog!

Emily Sullivan
July, 17 2018 at 11:52 am

Clara, thanks so much for reading and commenting! -Emily

Lizanne Corbit
July, 18 2018 at 11:41 pm

I think this is such an important read and I so appreciate how you point to the fact that it can have these kinds of results for anyone, "normal" life and all. Verbal abuse is not something to take lightly or underestimate and these are very, very real consequences of it. Thank you for sharing!

July, 22 2018 at 1:08 am

I can relate to all of these, as I’ve gone through these periods and am still there. 18 years of verbal abuse is not simple to undo and even the order in which you’ve placed them here is exactly how they’ve all been for me. Now that I’m away it’s still hard because none of my family and friends have believed me, but then many of them are people I was alienated from either by him or after giving up on the fight. You simply cannot win against them.
Thank you again for such an article that is identical to my experiences.

June, 16 2020 at 10:01 pm

Man. I just discovered this place and read this article and it describes me to a T. I spent 7 years with a verbally, financially, physically abusive narcissist, lived with him for 2 years, and those last 2 years especially were a living hell. I sometimes had to sleep in my car in the parking lot just to have a moment of peace. I sacrificed my career, all of my friends, my looks, my dignity, and almost my life. He also physically abused me sometimes..until that very last time. He threw me all around the apartment, slapping and kicked me, and pushed me backwards over the couch. My kids also witnessed the verbal abuse and saw the bruises many times. When I went to the cops, I snuck out and he was texting me the whole time saying he was ill and need me to take him to the doctor.. (which was a lie) and I didn’t care about him for not responding, letting him suffer. When the officer came to arrest him, he LIED saying I hit him and he had to defend himself. The cop knew he was lying because I told him my boyfriend would threaten that to me every time he hit me, and threatened to even go as far as injure himself so we’d BOTH get arrested! Luckily he had no injuries, because he didn’t know I was at the police station and of course I never touched him, not even to defend myself. Anyways, he moved out and we went to court, but I subsequently dropped the charges. I saw him after a couple months and he cried that he realized what he did to me and the kids and wanted a chance to prove himself. Stupid me.. I said to myself, if he can really prove himself for a year, I’d give him another chance. Well it’s been about 4 1/2 months and after only a few weeks he slowly started back with the verbal abuse. Just a few days ago he got up in my face intimidating me and pushed my head (not hard, but it was enough to scare me) I’m in therapy right now, but honestly, despite the fact that my therapist cares and all that, I think I need someone to talk to who is more specialized in domestic and especially narcissistic abuse. I know it’s up to me to cut him out completely, but I’m still struggling with doing so. I would really appreciate any resources and pray someone will read this and can PLEASE RESPOND. I live in Mount Prospect, Illinois. I literally have NO friends left and can’t really talk about this with the few family members I still do talk to (with his big objection, of course. He complains that I shouldn’t even have my own father in my house because my dad doesn’t like him anymore after what he did.) He even started complaining again about me spending time with my children (11 and 13), saying I “kiss their butts” but don’t care about him. What the heck is wrong with me?? Why am I even talking to this guy at all?

October, 19 2021 at 11:52 pm

I hope you get this message. I live near by and in similar situation. How is everything now ??? Please message me 312-505-1052 Beth

May, 30 2022 at 8:59 pm

Your self esteem has worn down. Gos less you forgiving him a chance. It’s time to pick up your kids and your belongings and start fresh. Do it for your precious children. If you stay with him, your childrens childhood will be ruined, and that’s sad. Your family are your children.

October, 30 2020 at 3:19 am

I’ve been married 23 years with verbal abuse and sleep deprivation. I stumbled on this wonderful article when I realized I’m passive on every aspect of my life. I can’t do anything even with my kids. I avoid thing as much as I can and yet blame my self. It’s amazing to know that I’m not going crazy that I lost my friends and distanced my family, I’ve blamed my self for everything even his abuse. This gave me clarification that it’s not my fault. It’s not me. It’s not who I’m suppose to be. One day I prayed and cried and had a dream that he was telling me be patient with me “I’m dying in 3 years. “ honestly I ended up feeling even worst after this dream and blamed my self. I understand the honeymoon part better and I only hope to do all I can to keep normalcy.

Me Too
December, 12 2021 at 4:04 am

Yes I to am a surviving verbal abuse victim. All what you e each said is true.. The man who profoundly says he lives me is a retired Superior Court Judge.
He knows how to play the game with finesse and an ego bigger than life but no common sense he can claim.. I’m planning my escape and work hard on my own behalf to survive his game. He can side step his actions while he’s planning his next smooth attack. His ugliness will go to the grave with him…
One miserable man trying to cover his own tracks with no capacity of looking within. His problem …
Not mine. His sad mess gets no joy … if there’s joy it’s fake…Like the man he presents to his buddies,
friends and

September, 25 2022 at 1:26 am

I hear you I am married to a pilot .Again like you in a high power ,no questions asked job.We are currently in the mist of splitting ,due to his daughters and his lack of backbone towards me and my kids ,who adored him .Until his daughter decided best to ring my daughter and tell her everything I've done wrong and how I've ruined her and everyones life .....Did he have a backbone /fight for us ?he has raised my kids for 25 years they loved him and now ......well now i can't do this anymore ....daughter won ......yes apparently my daughter made up what his daughter said .....So for today I'm called horrible names, accused of being hooked on anti depressants....lovely just one of many name calling deals......I honestly don't think people believe these people in high powered jobs are like this but they are....

February, 28 2022 at 4:53 am

I’m In this place now . 24 years with him, and I don’t think I was ever happy with this man . It was young teen lust that turned into a nightmare very quickly . I don’t know how I got to this place. I’m depressed, I don’t sleep, I cry a lot . I try to find the good but there is no good. I want out. I just don’t know where to begin where to go.

February, 28 2022 at 1:46 pm

Hello Eva, I am Cheryl, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. Thank you for bravely reaching out here. It can be challenging and overwhelming to break away from an abusive situation. I want you to know that there is hope and help available. I urge you to check out some resources online or local to you for guidance. You can find some helpful ones on our Resources Page here:…. I wish you a healthy and happy future.

September, 19 2022 at 3:29 pm

My dad use verbal abuse and i usually respond with small emotion by crying but now it is nothing

September, 20 2022 at 4:44 pm

I have been with my husband for almost 10 years we have been married 7 years. This is something I deal with daily. You cannot take back words that were said that’s why I believe verbal abuse is way worse than physical! It’s like you keep replaying all these horrible things someone said to you in your head and you start to believe them. I am struggling ?

September, 21 2022 at 3:25 pm

Hello Trisha, I am Cheryl Wozny, current author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog. I want to thank you for reaching out with your story. I can empathize with how you replay negative words throughout your days, as it is still something I struggle with as well. I encourage you to check out our resources page… for some helpful referral links and tools that can guide you as you work through your healing journey. Remember that you are not how others see you but as the wonderful being that you are who is facing regular challenges.

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