When your spouse communicates with you, what is the goal of his/her communication? When married to a verbal abuser the goal is usually to gain control over you. The objective is to put you in the role of someone who meets his/her needs.
Below are a few examples of verbally manipulative conversations:
What is he saying with this statement? He is complimenting you and at the same time dismissing your hard work. You have become his servant; a person whose job it is to meet what he feels is appropriate as far as cleaning the house. If your spouse makes statements that cause you to want to defend yourself…explain why you didn’t use more wax, you are being verbally manipulated.
What is her objective with this statement? To cause you to feel guilt. If you were a good husband, you would put your needs aside in favor of her needs. You love your spouse; you go out of your way to show how much you love your spouse. What better way to manipulate you than for your spouse to question your love for her?
“I did it for us. You’ve been so stressed over work and we haven’t spent time alone in a long time. I thought it would be nice for us to get away for a romantic vacation.” Don’t fall for it! She is nothing more than a snake-oil salesman. She is bent and determined to get what she wants at the appearance of giving you something you need. Truth be told, she isn’t the least bit concerned about you and your level of stress.
Most of us are socially conditioned to be nice. The verbal manipulator knows this and will play on your desire to be nice…to meet their needs. Most of us also respond to comments made by others, especially if we are married to that person. To protect yourself, your best response to the verbal manipulator is no response at all. If he thinks you should have used more wax, who cares. Don’t defend your choices. If she spends money you don’t have, tell her to get a refund for those cruise tickets and refuse to discuss the matter further.
I don’t normally suggest spouses give each other the silent treatment but when dealing with the verbal manipulator, silence is a powerful tool.
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