Is it a normal fight or verbal abuse? Here’s how to tell.

Even the most dynamic of duos has the occasional fight. Whether it begins with “Who forgot to take the dog out?” or “Do I really have to go to your brother’s birthday party?”, having arguments is a common — and healthy — part of any relationship.

But in some cases, what we call an “argument” is actually something worse. Ever had a partner who criticizes everything you do? Who shouts and uses cruel language when they get angry (and they may fly off the handle a lot)? Who makes you feel like you’re wrong or “too sensitive” when you try to speak up?

That’s not a normal argument. That’s verbal abuse.

Many of us know the signs of physical abuse. But verbal abuse, on the other hand, can be trickier to spotbecause we’re just not taught to look for it. As the childhood rhyme teaches us: Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you.

But words can hurt — badly. No kind of abuse is okay, and verbal abuse can devastate a victim’s emotional and mental health, not to mention escalate to other kinds of violence. So how can you tell the difference between the occasional lost temper and verbal abuse? It’s all about the power dynamic.

Read the original article at Talkspace.

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