This is when a person is spoken to with abusive, offensive, frightening or intimidating language. When this form of abuse becomes a common pattern it can affect the other person’s mental health and behaviour. Sometimes the person on the receiving end of the abuse may become aggressive or strongly defiant in return.
If your friend is verbally abused, find out if they have:
1. Asked the perpetrator to stop.
This is the first step. The person doing the abusing may not know that it is causing such distress. However, it is possible that they will continue because they know the effect it has caused.
If the abuse continues then you should:
2. Encourage them to take steps to change the behaviour. You may be able to suggest some counselling that your friend and the person verbally abusing them can attend. However, this is not always possible, but perhaps your friend could go alone to speak to someone about acquiring some skills to deal with the verbal abuse. You can also assist your friend to find information on the internet – search for something like “Communication problems in [relationships/families/at work etc] in [type in your area]” and see if any useful material might come up. Often you will find some services or counsellors located in your area.