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Is verbal abuse a form of domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a serious and sadly common problem in marriages and relationships across the nation.  Across the United States, it is believed that over 10 million people are subjected to a form of domestic violence each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Domestic violence is a factor in a number of divorces in Texas. Domestic violence is traditionally thought of as physical abuse, but it can also encompass verbal and emotional abuse. Our Midland, Texas divorce lawyers discuss some facts about emotional and verbal abuse, along with how such abuse might impact your divorce.

What is verbal abuse?

Abuse comes in many forms, with one of the most common types of abuse being verbal abuse.  Verbal abuse involves the use of words to frighten, control, or demean another. Verbal abuse can occur in romantic relationships, as well as nearly any relationship. It can be difficult to differentiate between verbal abuse and normal arguing. While it is normal to argue at times with your partner, verbal abuse is never normal.  

Verbal abuse can be distinguished because it often involves the following:  attempts to humiliate, insult, yell or scream, make accusations, invade your personal space, hit walls or pound things, and name calling.  Continued verbal abuse can damage the victim psychologically and often escalates to physical abuse. 

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse, also referred to as psychological abuse, involves verbal assaults, humiliation, confinement, isolation, intimidation, and other treatment that diminishes the identity and self-worth of the victim.  Emotional abuse may include symptoms such as yelling or swearing, threats, intimidation, name calling, isolation, humiliation, victim blaming, and more. Emotional abuse often accompanies verbal abuse, but goes beyond that to include other acts.  Like verbal abuse, emotional abuse can cripple the victim psychologically. Both verbal abuse and emotional abuse are a form of domestic violence.

Abuse and divorce 

If domestic violence exists in your relationship, it can impact your Texas divorce. As a domestic violence victim, it is essential that you take steps to protect yourself before you file for divorce.  It is a real concern that by filing for divorce, your abuser could escalate to physical violence. Your divorce lawyer can help you to seek a protective order and take other measures to keep you safe as you go through a divorce from an abusive spouse.