What Is the Definition of Verbal Abuse?

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Verbal abuse is a nonphysical form of abuse that may involve insulting, criticizing and attempting to shame the victim, explains Day One. Verbal abuse often overlaps with emotional abuse, states Loveisrespect.org. Manipulation and coercion are forms of nonphysical abuse that combine emotional and verbal abuse, notes Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Verbal and emotional abuse may be a way for the abuser to control the victim, keeping her in the relationship and lowering her self-esteem, says Loveisrespect.org. Behaviors such as excessive calling, constant texting and digital monitoring are signs of verbal abuse that may not include overt insults.

Verbal abuse frequently gets worse the longer the victim stays in the relationship, states Day One. People who are suffering from emotional abuse can find help through calling local or national domestic abuse hotlines, such as The National Domestic Violence Hotline.