Can Verbal Abuse Be Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is an issue in many marriages, domestic partnerships and relationships in California. During a divorce case, allegations of domestic abuse, even without a criminal conviction, could be enough to alter the decisions a judge makes about matters such as child custody and spousal maintenance. Abuse does not have to be physical to constitute domestic violence in San Diego County. You might also be the victim of verbal or emotional domestic abuse. Schedule a free consultation with a divorce attorney near you to discuss your particular situation in confidence.

What Is Verbal Domestic Abuse?

Verbal abuse refers to using words to cause a victim harm. It can take many forms and look different according to each situation. It can refer to the beratement or belittling of a victim. Domestic verbal abuse occurs between two people living in the same household who have an intimate relationship. It can occur between two spouses, two people who used to date or two people who have a child together. It can also occur between two people related by blood or marriage. The definition of domestic violence from the California courts includes spoken, emotional and psychological abuse.

  • Name-calling
  • Embarrassing or humiliating the victim
  • Shaming or guilt-tripping
  • Gaslighting
  • Controlling
  • Giving the silent treatment
  • Isolating
  • Stalking
  • Threatening or intimidating the victim

Verbal domestic abuse can have long-lasting mental, emotional and psychological effects that can be just as serious as physical abuse. You may be unable to go to work and lead a productive life. You could also suffer from debilitating mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, depression and anxiety. The fear, anxiety, turmoil and stress of verbal abuse can ruin your relationships and isolate you from family and friends. It could also have effects on your physical health, causing issues such as chronic pain. Verbal abuse can give you feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, shame, guilt or low self-esteem. Verbal abuse qualifies as domestic violence in the State of California.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Verbal or Emotional Abuse

It can be difficult to ascertain whether you are the victim of verbal abuse in your relationship. It can refer to many different situations you might believe are normal of any relationship, when in fact they are signs of abuse. If your spouse wants to know what you are doing all the time, demands that you share your social medial passwords, constantly accuses you of cheating, tries to stop you from seeing your friends or family members, forces you to quit your job, controls your finances, calls you insulting names, or threatens to harm you, him/herself or people you love, you are the victim of verbal abuse.

If you are in immediate danger while in a domestic violence situation, call 911. Otherwise, reach out to a friend or family member you can trust and ask for help getting out of your domestic violence situation safely. You can also receive assistance from trained professionals by contacting a national hotline, such as 1-(800)-799-7233 (the National Domestic Violence Hotline). Professionals at the hotline will give you advice as to how to escape your situation safely.

If you wish to divorce your spouse or domestic partner, contact a San Diego family attorney for a free and confidential consultation about how domestic violence might impact your case. Explaining your situation to the courts during your divorce case could result in positive effects such as a restraining order against your abusive spouse, temporary and/or permanent alimony, sole custody of your children, and mandatory child support. The courts in California will take a history of domestic violence into account when deciding things such as parental rights and alimony. A lawyer can help you safeguard yourself and your children during and after the divorce process.