Man yelling and pointing angrily toward a woman across the table

Emerging Trend: Verbal Abuse

In terms of Verbal Abuse MUIs in 2023, Summit County is headed in the wrong direction. Summit County is on pace to see an increase of almost 20% for Verbal Abuse MUIs. Get the facts, as well as tips to help curb this unfortunate trend in our community.

The Hidden Dangers of Verbal Abuse and How You Can Help

As of April 30, 2023, 49 Verbal Abuse allegations have been opened in Summit County. This puts us on pace for approximately 147 total Verbal Abuse allegations in 2023 if this trend continues. Summit County had a total of 127 Verbal Abuse investigations in 2022. Of this year’s incidents, 31 had no provider present at incident. This would indicate that the alleged abuse occurred during community interactions, alone/unstaffed times, or during digital/phone contact.

According to the website, Verbal abuse is considered a form of psychological or emotional abuse. Research has shown that those on the receiving end of consistent verbal abuse can experience mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, pain, traumatic stress, substance abuse, thoughts of suicide, and/or bi-polar disorder.

Tips iconWhile we would always encourage you to have an individual consult with a licensed therapist to address any psychological trauma, PsychCentral provides tips to help cope with Verbal Abuse that you can share with those we serve:

  1. Walk away: If it is safe to do so, encourage the person to walk away if someone is trying to hurt them with words.
  2. Take the high road: Resisting the urge to retaliate when someone has verbally abusive behaviors can be challenging, but it may be an important step to ending the verbal abuse cycle. Encourage them to not retaliate to the verbal abuse.
  3. Be clear about your own boundaries: Before engaging with someone who has a history of verbally abusive behaviors, try to encourage an individual to actively calm and ground themself. You can advise them to tell themself that they “will not continue to engage with this person if they raise their voice, call me names, or manipulate my emotions.”
  4. Protect your self-worth: Help the person build a strong sense of self-worth. Help them understand that they do not deserve to be spoken to in an abusive way. Tell them to trust their gut and remove themselves from situations of abuse, even if this means ending a relationship with someone. Practice self-care and self-respect.
  5. Harness empathy: Depending on the nature of the relationship, it’s natural to get defensive or even want to fire back when you feel attacked, hurt, or offended. Protecting yourself is a natural and needed instinct. That being said, understanding where the abuse may be coming from can help prevent those on the receiving end from internalizing the abuse themselves. Licensed clinical social worker Frank Thewes states, “The best way to handle verbal abuse mentally is to use empathy to understand the source. What are they going through? What are they feeling? Why are they in so much pain that they want to hurt me and others with their words?”
  6. Re-centering: Verbal abuse can end up making you feel flustered and off guard. It’s easy to get swept away in the flurry of words and emotions coming your way. Feeling this way is valid, but it could hurt you if it’s not addressed. It is suggested that a victim of verbal abuse conduct self-soothing techniques to help them cope with the abuse. This could include breathing techniques, listening to music, positive self-talk, crying, etc.


For more resources & citations on how to cope with Verbal Abuse, please visit PsychCentral’s website.

Remember that verbal abuse can be just as traumatic as physical abuse. If someone is struggling with their mental health due to being the victim of verbal abuse, please encourage them to seek mental health services to address this trauma. Contact their SSA if you need assistance with locating a Mental Health provider.

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