Warning: End Verbal Abuse


Recently there’s been quite a bit of dialog about physical abuse and verbal abuse.

The question has surrounded to stay or leave when there’s abuse.

FreeMyAddict takes a zero tolerance position as it relates to physical and verbal abuse.

In saying this is easier to say than to do on a day to day basis.

For this reason this article is intended for some practical suggestions if you live or have lived with an alcoholic who has verbally abused you.

It’s Abuse

The first step to end verbal abuse is to recognize it.
When you are called names, insulted, put down, any degrading comments or attempts to control through verbal intimidation, you’re being verbally abused.

For many reasons you may think it’s just the alcohol or your alcoholic doesn’t really mean it.

There’s no circumstance when verbal abuse isn’t abuse.

In fact you may be one of those people who have heard the abuse so much you have come to believe some of it.

Your self estemm is directly affected by this type of abuse.

You don’t deserve it.

One way to begin to deal with it is to realize…

It’s not true

Know the rants and rage are about your alcoholic and not you.

When you know in yourself what is being said is not true they become easier to dismiss.

Even if you’ve gained a few pounds, don’t keep the house immaculate or food preparation isn’t gourmet there’s no reason for you to accept being put down.

You don’t deserve it.

What can you do about it?

One thing for sure…

Don’t just take it

I don’t recommend you engage in an argument or escalate the situation.

My recommendation is for you to label it what it is… Abuse!

You might say something like, “I’m not going to listen to this ‘Verbal Abuse’ anymore”.

It’s important to make sure your alcoholic understands what is happening is verbal abuse.

This is the beginning point of establishing…


At this point you have some choices.

You can end the conversation by suggesting you’ll discuss it when your alcoholic is able to communicate without verbal abuse.

You can walk away until things calm down.

If you’re on the phone simply indicate you’re not going to continue allowing the verbal abuse and hang up.

Once you put these boundaries in place you need to keep them.

After all, you don’t deserve the abuse.

Conversations only without abuse

Make a resolve to only communicate with your alcoholic when there’s no verbal abuse.

Remember, it’s pointless to try to have a civil conversation when your alcoholic has been drinking.

Just don’t do it.

Wait until your alcoholic’s sober. Then if you can have a two way conversation it’s much more likely to have a reasonable outcome.

Take a firm stand.

You deserve two way conversation.

You don’t deserve verbal abuse.


Sometimes you can find out what the triggers may be and at times there are no triggers to find.

It can be as simple as you were in the way of your alcoholic’s use of alcohol or it can be as complex as a childhood trauma that’s replayed when certain situations occur.

If you identify triggers it’s not for you to walk around on egg shells in fear you might slip and say something that will trigger an episode.

It’s your alcoholic’s responsibility to get the help needed for it to stop.

After all, You don’t deserve to be verbally abused.


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Here’s What 34 Other People Thought...

  1. Michelle


    • Michelle

      And… thank you.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        You’re welcome

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I thought it was time for this article.

  2. David

    I’m not dealing with a lot of verbal abuse, thankfully, and no physical abuse. Mostly my husband belittles or dismisses my opinions and concerns. He rarely says anthing bad about me except that he thinks I only care about myself. I think sometimes that he wants to have a fight but I often just shrug my shoulders, say ‘hmm’, or give no response at all. I fought a lot with my first husband and I was pretty nasty sometimes so when we broke up, I vowed never to be like that again. My next husband was a bit scarey and so that helped me not to fight. But now I’m at the whole other end of the spectrum. I never talk about anything. The last time we discussed his drinking at all was about 18 months ago and it was really just him talking about he was finally going to quit. Which did not happen. How this article helps me is the suggestions for disengaging from the drunk talk in a way that lets him know why I’m doing so. I mean, he can’t read my mind (last article) so I need to bring that out in a way that respects me and him. Right now, I’m not respecting anybody. Maybe if I do that more often, we can get to a point where we can talk about our problems.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It sounds like you’ve found a resolve to move ahead. I’d like you take a few minutes in front of a mirror and tell yourself you deserve to be heard. Notice I didn’t say argue or fight. When you’ve built your esteem up where you can speak with confidence what’s in your heart, find a time when he’s sober then have a discussion. I think you’ll see better outcomes.

      • KJ

        What about when you try to talk to him when he’s sober and you get name calling then and comments like, I’m not talking to you, or he completely ignores you, or punishes you by not talking to you for a couple of days???

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Name calling isn’t okay. I’m sure you know to not take them personal. It says more about him than you. He behaves that way to keep open opportunities to use. Maybe creating some distance between you and him would jar him to an awareness he may lose you if he doesn’t change. When he asks why there’s distance, speak the truth. He needs to hear name calling hurts, silence is unacceptable and being ignored for days isn’t going to work. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all these things while hoping he will understand. Tell him.

  3. robin

    thank you again …

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You’re welcome.

  4. Even if you’ve gained a few pounds, don’t keep the house immaculate or food preparation isn’t gourmet there’s no reason for you to accept being put down.

    You don’t deserve it.
    These lines are exactly what has happened to me and then some, I read these email and they have helped me to come to a relization that I just can’t stay in this type of home for myself and our daughter. I want to thank you for helping me free myself. I’m now seeking a divorce. Scared about my finances. but hopefull I will be ok.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I hope all goes well for you and your daughter. It takes time to recoup from the financial shock but you’ll do what you need to do for you and your daughter. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Ross

    I was speaking via text with my husband last night-not very long.I’d said something and he’d texted inappropriately..”f” you. I felt that was ridiculous!, insulting and offending, considering the discussion. I replied…”I’m sorry you feel in a bad mood, got to go! goodbye.I am trying not to lose all feelings for him, but at the same time his actions arent respectful and i resent his taking advantage and treating me the way he has.Like he’s cocky or something.Like its ok to do me wrong and walk on like it was justified and hes not done anything. When hes done some very wrong things against me and our marriage that cannot sanely be justified even though he acts like it is.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I’m sure as you set some boundaries and speak truth to your husband in sober moments he’ll get the picture that something or someONE has changed. This will have an affect on him. Hopefully it will end up in more respect for you.

  6. Viki

    Well said!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks, Viki.

  7. kat

    I might add , I found out just two years ago to ignore the abuse, ,when i talked to the attorney and told him husband said i was controlling him the attorney came back with I think rod is manipulating you Kathy , i ask how so, and when he got done i then realized he was right , my husband had continually abused me to where he had me doing exactly what he wanted because he knew i loved him, i was seeking consul for divorce but when he told me this! i had a new tactic and put it into play and it has worked i am a new woman and no longer let his words hurt me, if he says something not so nice i tell him that wasn’t very nice and drop it, now he apologies but it took time, when he says you look nice i thank him , the alcy has to blame someone for their down falls, we the wife are the punching bag , why because we know them , they wouldn’t say things like that to a stranger so as things go on we take it, but it builds IT MUST STOP , YOU MUST TELL THEM WHEN THEY HURT YOU AND WALK AWAY , I think this is the major weakness in us with alcys , we blame ourselves , WELL STOP IT, YOU DIDN’T JUG THE BOTTLE IN THE MOUTH

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I think your attorney’s advice to you is spot on. There are many ways to say stop besides arguing. When you indicate you’re not willing to discuss when there’s verbal abuse and then end the conversation there’s a clear message. You’re lucky to have an attorney who’s so wise.

  8. Viki

    When the alcoholic sees that he is no longer able to push my buttons with words, he will often stop it. He may, however, try to find other ways to get to me through his actions. I’m talking about ignoring me in a public setting, entering into friendships with other women that he knows will threaten me, letting his friends disrespect me without coming to my defense, bad-mouthing me to others, using me as an excuse for his bad behaviors, etc.

    Boundaries must be established in every aspect of my relationship with the alcoholic. Every time he gets to me, it’s important to try to figure out why it affected me the way it did, and if possible, eliminate his ability to use that particular method to bring me down.

    For instance, if he is ignoring me in a public setting, this makes me feel like he is letting others know that he is not close to me. Perhaps, he can use this against me because I care too much about what other people think. I can ignore the behavior because I realize it’s just a ploy. I can interact with others at the event with no regard to what he is or isn’t doing, or I can calmly leave the setting.

    It’s okay for me to establish this boundary, but it’s important for me to keep in mind that the only behavior I can control is mine.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You’ve got it. Set boundaries and realize the only behavior you can control is your own. I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Amber

      Well said Vicki! I give you a lot credit, because it’s easier said than done. I’m in this same process, and do the same thing. I think the hardest part is getting through the not reacting part, so that we can rationally remind our self to create that boundary immediately. Lots of times, my husband will be totally fine and then catches me off guard with his behavior, and it’s tricky to not react and takes a lot of self discipline. I think if anyone deserves credit in these relationships it’s definitely us, because it is SO difficult to maintain our sanity. And really in the end, we’re the winners because we’re only improving our own self, which maybe we hadn’t been inspired to do so if it weren’t for our the alcoholics in our lives. Good job and keep up the good work!

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Thanks for your support of Viki

  9. David

    Wow, Viki. What you said about the shifting boundaries is so amazing and so true. I also try to avoid conflict when my husband is trying to pick a fight or get me mad. He doesn’t ignore me in public though. What he does do the few times we are out is he will bring up something he knows bothers me and make a joke out of it. Then he lets other people try to get to me. Luckily, since he has slowly dropped most of his friends, the people we are with seem to be just as uncomfortable as me and are only too happy with any change in conversation I can produce. I feel like what I need in my situtation is to figure out what my boundaries will be and verbalize them to him when he’s sober and then stick to it. I have not quite got up the nerve yet but you have definitely inspired me. Thanks for your comment.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I’m pleased you’ve found a way to turn the conversation to more pleasant subjects. I noted that his friends have gradually gone away and those left kind of get what he’s doing. They might even be supportive of you.

    • Viki

      I am so happy that my comment helped! That’s the most rewarding thing I could have read.

      Sounds like you have a very good handle on things, and I hope you find the strength to follow through with your plan.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        I appreciate your supportive comments.

  10. Lauren

    Hi I have been married to an alcoholic for eight years and it is a very difficult challenge. I struggle mostly with the embarrassment of being married to an alcoholic. I try to limit family and friends coming over due to what he may say or do. But I am learning how to deal I try each day to be thankful for what I have my daughters are my heroes they are 7, 4 and 9 months and so cool…So I try and cope and take day by day ..

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I understand your embarrassment about your husbands unpredictable alcoholic behavior. When he’s uninhibited you never know what will be said or done. One thing to know for sure when these occasions happen, it’s not YOUR fault and not YOUR responsibility. When you come to accept he’s totally responsible for his behavior things are a little lighter.

      Indeed you’re daughters are a bright spot in your life. They are resilient. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Laura

    Everyone says to set boundaries and talk to them when they are sober. My alcoholic husband drinks 24-7. He only sleeps as long as the drunk is, wakes every hour or so and drinks more. There is no time of the day he is not in a rage and all aimed at me. The name calling, the insults and the screaming are constant. I haven’t taken a shower without him screaming with the door open in years. I work and on average he calls and continues this behavior 20-30 times during the 8 hour period. Needless to say I am hanging onto my job by a thread.
    I have left and the abuse is so much worse. More calls, more harassment and way more anger. When I have attempted to leave, I am told that he will ruin me, I know for a fact I will immediately lose my job, and he will make sure I don’t get another one. He says that whoever, family or friends, tries to help me, he will cause so much trouble for they will not want me around. I believe this is not a threat but a promise. He has a very ugly mind and isn’t afraid to speak it, truth or not. If he can’t get me on the phone or to listen to rants he calls someone else, he has the constant need to talk. He has alienated his friends so much, they have learned not to answer his calls and delete the horrible voice mails. If no one answers the phone for him, he just talks to himself, animation and all.
    I know I am not the terrible person he tells me I am. I am not the things he calls me. I know I am not worthless. That’s not the problem. The problem is getting it to stop. I have begged him to get help but it always comes back to how I cause his behavior. Walking away, he follows, ignoring gets ridicule, laughing at him gets mocked, arguing back and getting upset doesn’t help, his tongue is much sharper than mine.
    I do not enable him by buying beer for him, and yes he drives drunk. He usually leaves at 6AM knowing he can buy it at 6:30AM at the grocery store. He has never been in an accident or had a DUI. Many times I have wanted to call 911 and alert them afraid of what may happen to innocent people if an accident happens, I have not gotten up the courage.
    I am doomed to this life I have allowed. It started slow and escalated and I truly wish this story helps just 1 person not to have to go through this.
    Unacceptable behavior needs to not be tolerated from the first instance. The first time anyone says something or does something, be very clear that it will not be accepted or you will be in my position sooner rather than later. It comes from being strong, do not let it go, not even once.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It’s true that unacceptable behavior needs to not be tolerated. All too often it’s well past the first incidence when it becomes apparent the behavior isn’t going away. By then things have already become enmeshed.

      Thanks for your comments and I hope you find choices that work for you and your happiness.

  12. lorraine

    I found your article very interesting and could relate most of it to my situation. Ive been with my partner 11 years and its been a very long road, hes an addict to alcohol and has been from a very young age, he also has stints of heroin addiction, he is a cheat and a liar, I am now nearing the end of that road after years and years of verbal and emotional abuse.
    Im alone far away from any of my family and really need to get away, I feel ive had pieces chipped off of me for so long, Im feeling old and worn out with all the walking on egg shells, its that bad I even expect my 16 year old daughter to walk on them too, so so wrong I know but im so afraid we may say something or do something that upsets him and send him into an unstoppable rage, there has even been time when hes made a fist or cornered me but its never got physical yet but im worried it may.
    I search the internet for solutions to my situation, ways out, even strength giving advice that will change everything but I fear even the best advise will not free me from my prison, im so alone.
    However I do get strenght from knowing that im not the only one who lives this kind of life, I read the stories of others who have escaped and managed to build another life and that make me feel hopeful that one day that will be me.
    My biggest problem is me, ive let this happen to me, allowed his behavior towards me and my daughter, I also know its only me that can change that, im just waiting for the best time to leave and go miles and miles away as this will be the only way to keep him away forever.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Lorraine I’m giving you a link to the Domestic Violence Hotline What you describe is abuse and you don’t need to take it. I would suggest you visit this site.

      You are indeed not alone there are women who put up with this and more, some put up with it until it takes their life. Please decide for you and your daughter to not allow Domestic Violence (Abuse) to continue.

      Thanks for your comments.

  13. Mj

    It is so frustrating.my partner of 6 years is alcoholic and verbally abusive.he always says he will quit but it never happens.i dislike his attitude when he is drunk because he always calls name infront of my twins.my twins copy the bad word he says.screams and yell at my boys when he is drunk.i told him if he doesnt stop drinking we will leave him.i cant stand him anymore but i dont want to have a broken family.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Your husband’s impaired judgment results in many hurtful things I’m sure. You need to be very assertive when it comes to what happens in front of the children. They do learn about what life is about by what they see and experience. Make sure you aren’t enabling him in any way. Set firm boundaries when it comes to behavior around the children. Probably most important take care of yourself in the midst of the chaos. Thanks for commenting.

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