Last updated:

May 5, 2024


 min read

What is Verbal Abuse?

Learn about verbal abuse: its definition, types, signs, and effects, and discover how online therapy like Rocket Health India can provide support and resources for those experiencing verbal abuse in India.



Verbal abuse can have serious adverse effects on people, families, and communities. It is frequently disregarded and misinterpreted. In India, where social pressures and cultural standards can make the problem more dire, it is important to fully understand verbal abuse in order to prevent and address it. This thorough article attempts to explain what verbal abuse is, how it manifests itself, what to do if you suspect it, what to do if it's happening to you, and how online therapy and resources like Rocket Health India may help you get through this difficult situation.

What is Verbal Abuse?

Any communication that hurts another individual emotionally or psychologically is considered verbal abuse. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as manipulation, threats, humiliation, intimidation, and insults. Verbal abuse can happen in families, friendships, businesses, and communities, in addition to romantic relationships. The perception and expression of verbal abuse can be influenced by cultural dynamics in India, thus it's important to identify the various ways it manifests.

Settings Verbal Abuse Can Occur In

  1. Intimate Relationships: Abuse in interpersonal relationships is widespread, where one partner may use words to dominate, manipulate, or disparage the other. Verbal abuse is not a form of love or care.
  2. Families: Family ties can become trained and cause emotional pain when verbal abuse occurs between parents and children, siblings, or other relatives. Verbal abuse in families can take the form of yelling, name-calling, a showcase of authority to control the victim and guilt-tripping.
  3. Workplaces: In workplaces, verbal abuse can happen when coworkers or superiors use their words to threaten, degrade, or discredit one another, their work, or even humiliate an employee for personal satisfaction or grudge. 
  4. Academic Settings: Peer pressure and authoritative adults, such as teachers or administrators, who intimidate or bully pupils and even publicly humiliate some of them, can cause psychological trauma.
  5. Social Circles: Friends and acquaintances may verbally abuse one another by using words to control or dominate the other person. They might boss around the victim or make sure to gaslight them and isolate them from other friend groups.

Types of Verbal Abuse

  1. Name-calling: Persistently demeaning the victim by using labels or phrases of disparagement or hurling insults.
  2. Gaslighting: Manipulative strategies intended to cause the victim to question their senses, recollections, and sanity. This also includes dismissing the victim’s feelings or thoughts.
  3. Criticism: Scathing and unrelenting criticism that is meant to lower the victim's self-esteem and is frequently covered up as constructive feedback.
  4. Threats: Threats, either explicit or implicit, of injury, punishment, or desertion to control the victim's actions.
  5. Scapegoating: Accusing the victim of having faults or shortcomings, notwithstanding their true responsibility or accountability.
  6. Shaming: Public denigration or humiliation with the intention of controlling and gaining influence over the victim. Degrading and humiliating the victim to feel more in control.
  7. Withholding Affection: Purposeful withholding of love, support, or communication in order to manipulate or punish someone.
  8. Stalking: Intimidation or verbal threats are frequently used in stalking to restrict the victim's actions or movements. Stalking entails unwelcome and continuous attention or harassment.
  9. Isolation: Victims of verbal abuse may experience social estrangement from friends, family, or other support systems, which increases their susceptibility to manipulation.
  10. Shouting or yelling: Yelling is a form of verbal abuse when it is done to intimidate. While yelling and screaming may be common, using them excessively, especially if they occur frequently, might be considered abusive behavior.

Spotting Signs of Verbal Abuse

  • Frequent rude or demeaning comments are meant to destroy the victim's self-worth.
  • Seclusion from family and friends in an effort to maintain control over the victim's social support system.
  • Severe mood swings or unstable emotions, frequently brought on by verbal abuse that is unrelenting.
  • Anxious or fearful actions near the abuser, a sign that the victim fears being abused more. Constant fear of the abuser.
  • Low self-worth and self-esteem as a result of internalizing the abuser's harsh comments. Constantly degrading yourself and believing you’re less than the abuser.

  • Avoiding particular subjects or pastimes in an effort to placate the abuser and stop more confrontation.
  • Physical signs like headaches or stomach aches could appear as a result of the abuse's anxiety and stress.
  • Perpetual feelings of threat around the abuser.
  • Being terrified to appear in public alongside the perpetrator due to their capricious and barbed behavior.

Effects of Verbal Abuse

Short-term effects

  • Fear and anxiety as a result of the victim's constant expectation of verbal abuse.
  • Depression and mood fluctuations brought on by a decline in one's feeling of value and self-worth.
  • Inability to focus and make decisions because of the emotional upheaval brought on by the abuse.
  • Withdrawal from interpersonal interactions in an effort to prevent more conflict on the part of the victim.

Long-term effects

  • Persistently poor self-worth and self-esteem that affects the victim's relationships and job, among other areas of their life.
  • Because of the manipulation and betrayal in abusive relationships, there are trust issues and difficulties establishing healthy connections.
  • Abusing drugs as a coping mechanism to lessen the pain that the abuse causes.
  • Long-term psychological trauma that may need support and assistance from professionals, such as PTSD, despair, and self-harm thoughts. 

How To Handle Verbal Abuse

  1. Recognize the abuse: Recognize that the actions are harmful and should not be tolerated.
  2. Set boundaries: Make sure the abuser knows exactly what your boundaries are, and if they are breached, enforce the consequences.
  3. Seek support: Seek advice and support from dependable family members, friends, or professionals.
  4. Document the abuse: For proof of your experience if necessary, keep an account of instances, including dates, times, and particular actions.
  5. Consider therapy: A secure place to process your feelings, create coping mechanisms, and reestablish your self-worth can be found in counseling.
  6. Explore legal options: Consider obtaining legal counsel or reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities in circumstances of serious or ongoing abuse.


Online therapy is a great alternative for people who are being verbally abused because it is convenient, accessible, and confidential. Online therapy offers a private, encouraging setting to address the psychological impacts of abuse in India, where access to traditional mental health care may be restricted or stigmatized. Furthermore, websites such as Rocket Health India provide tools and advice specifically designed for Indian clientele, guaranteeing successful and culturally aware care.

The issue of verbal abuse is widespread and has significant repercussions. People can reclaim their well-being and dignity by being aware of its many manifestations, identifying the warning signs, and acting quickly to remedy it. Don't endure verbal abuse in silence if you or someone you know is being abused.


Semin, G.R. and Rubini, M. (1990), Unfolding the concept of person by verbal abuse. European Journal of Social Psychology, 20, 463-474.

Straus, M.A. and Field, C.J. (2003), Psychological Aggression by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, and Severity. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 795-808.