Domestic violence isn't just physical. It can be verbal, too. Allegations of verbal abuse can be damaging to your reputation, even if they end up proving untrue. As someone with your professional future in mind, it's vital that you protect yourself regardless of the kind of abuse you're accused of committing.
Verbal abuse isn't talked about as often as physical abuse, but it can be just as damaging as any physical violence. Verbal abuse is seen as a manipulation technique and something abusers use to control their victims.
Would you recognize verbal abuse?
It's no surprise when people lose their tempers, and it's not unlikely for couples to lose their tempers at each other once in a while. A single, one-off fight where you call someone stupid or selfish is unlikely to be considered verbal abuse, but when you use this verbiage to control or coerce a person into doing something, it's different.
This kind of abuse leads to a fear of humiliation, failure and physical violence. The victim may feel a risk of abandonment as well.
What is the difference between a verbally abusive or non-abusive situation?
One good example would be if you made a major mistake at home that led to your washer and dryer catching on fire. Your spouse comes home and panics, calling you stupid for letting it happen. Is it right that a person should name call? No, but it's also likely only in the heat of the moment and not something he or she truly feels.
True abusers act with knowledge of what they're doing. They know how to act to make you feel down about yourself and how to act to control you. Single reactions that come off negatively aren't the same as repeated abusive tactics used to harm a person's self-esteem.
Here's a good example of an abusive situation. If you get fired from your job, any compassionate person may ask what happened or if you're okay. He or she may say it was stupid of you to act in a way that led to your getting fired (if it was for an obvious reason that you could have prevented with common sense) but be generally supportive, although disappointed.
An abusive person would react differently, growing angry and calling you names, saying you'll never amount to anything and continue to insult and degrade you. It may be extreme, leading to screaming or such aggression that the victim feels worried for his or her safety.
In any case, there are many times when people are accused of being verbally abusive, but they were reacting to a single event where their anger or aggravation was justified. They should not be subjected to penalties from the law as a result of natural reactions.