- Dr. Love's Appearances
Ten Ways to Deal with a Verbally Abusive Mate
July 31, 2003
Top Ten Tips
- When your mate begins to verbally abuse you, tell him or her: "If you want to tell me, calmly, what I said or did and why it upset you, I will listen, but I won't allow you to talk to me that way."
- If your mate continues to abuse you verbally, walk away. Your mate must get the idea that no attention, response or reaction will be offered when he or she is abusive.
- Remember that yelling back at an abusive mate actually rewards the abuser. Giving your attention and offering verbal comebacks are all types of rewards. Remember to tell yourself: I will no longer offer any attention for abusive behavior.
- Reward any constructive attempts on your mate's part to tell you what is bothering him or her. Always reward positive behavior and ignore negative behavior.
- Often, abused mates lack power in their relationships and feel financially or emotionally dependent. The abusive mate knows this and senses that any abusive behavior will be tolerated because the abused mate feels that he or she cannot survive alone. In order to break this power imbalance which underlies abuse, do whatever is needed to reclaim your power. Go back to school, improve your earning potential, make new friends.
- Find out how the abuse relates to your history. Are you recreating your parent's abusive marriage? Are you replaying abuse that you suffered as a child? In order to break the abuse cycle, you need to understand why your mind has chosen an abusive spouse and/or tolerates abuse. You also must figure out what childhood wound you are trying to heal through this recreation of earlier abuse.
- Ask yourself, "What do I hope to gain by putting up with abuse?" When I ask many abused spouses this question and they do a little soul searching, they are surprised to find that they secretly believe that tolerating abuse will eventually bring them rewards. Sooner or later, I will be loved or appreciated for my tolerance." Wrong. Tolerating abuse yields more abuse.
- If verbal abuse leads to physical violence or if you feel physically endangered, seek professional help at once.
- Ask your mate to join in couples therapy with you. Also, join an abused spouse support group.
- Improve your self-esteem by surrounding yourself with people who love and respect you. As you feel better about yourself, you will unconsciously begin to send the message that you will not permit yourself to be treated badly.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book provides a down-to-earth, easy to apply, proven method for creating relationship harmony. This book should be mandatory reading for every couple that wants to head-off or resolve the inevitable relationship conflicts and build lasting love. Buy this book and put it to use!”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show