Self-Defense Against Verbal Abuse

If someone does this, it is considered verbal abuse.

  • They make fun of you or attempt to make you feel inadequate. As a result, they'll accuse you of being overly sentimental or lacking in wit.

  • They constantly rant or scream at you.

  • Arguments take you by surprise, but you are the one who is held accountable.

  • Following the initial quarrel, a chain of allegations and resurfacing of unimportant topics ensues.

  • They will go to great lengths to make you feel awful and put themselves in your shoes.

  • Their damaging behavior is reserved for moments when you are alone, yet they behave completely differently when other people are there.

  • When they infringe on your personal space or prohibit you from leaving, they are infringing on your right to leave.

  • They slam against the wall, punch with their fists, and toss objects when they are enraged.

  • They're looking to take credit for not striking you.

As a general rule, self-defense only justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat. The threat can be verbal, as long as it puts the intended victim in an immediate fear of physical harm.

When faced with verbal abuse, you should be prepared to defend yourself.

Conduct an investigation into the source of the verbal abuse.


There may be an underlying issue that is prompting your abuser to act out at this time. While this is not an excuse for verbal abuse, it may help you understand why they are acting abusively against you. If the root of the anger can be identified, you may be able to diffuse the situation more effectively. Was there something you said or did that they misinterpreted for something you intended to say? Have they directed their rage at someone else, but you are the person in front of them at the moment, and hence are absorbing their negative energy? How do they regard you as a threat?

When we are threatened or abused, our bodies naturally shift into a defensive mode in order to protect us. When we are subjected to verbal abuse, it is normal to desire to defend ourselves and retaliate. However, doing so may exacerbate the problem. Several of these solutions may help to alleviate the severity of the disease.

  • Maintain a steady, nearly monotone tone of speech and refrain from yelling or exhibiting annoyance.

  • Releasing your muscles will help you appear less rigid, afraid, scared, or annoyed.

  • Avoid involving the abuser in lengthy explanations; they are unlikely to pay attention in the first place.

  • Avoid drawing broad generalizations or citing hypothetical situations in your statements to an abuser.

  • You should refrain from responding, as doing so will enable the abuser to continue their verbal assault.

  • Make the use straightforward, succinct, and uncomplicated language and refrain from wandering from the subject at hand.

  • Depending on whether you have witnesses or not, it may be prudent to physically remove yourself from the situation if possible.

Recognize Several Effective Reactions


Regardless of how hard you try, you will not always be able to diffuse a situation as quickly or as optimally as you would like. Knowing how to convince the abuser to stop verbally attacking you can be really valuable in a variety of scenarios. If they are a regular acquaintance in your life, once you grasp their reason, you will be able to respond appropriately.


Consider the following response examples:

  • "I apologize, but I will not sit here and listen to you speak to me in this manner."

  • Saying something along the lines of, "It's interesting you said I eat too much junk food, but I was just thinking about a story I saw in the newspaper about a convenience store owner having a problem with their supplier," the abuser will continue to rant at him until he grows tired of it and goes.

  • The fact that you are unaware of your teammates' progress on their assigned duties and that the deadline is nearing might be frustrating the person for example.

Each circumstance is unique, and it is vital that you retain your composure, remember to breathe, and abstain from retaliating if you are the victim of verbal abuse. If you are unable to resolve the situation on your own, you must seek support from others immediately.

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