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What's worse?

What is worse Physical abuse, emotional abuse, or verbal abuse?

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Ravenwolfcasey 7 Oct 1

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Verbal abuse doesn't have to end with screaming, physical abuse doesn't have to end with murder. Emotional abuse doesn't have an end. I don't know of a scenario wherein I will ever stop feeling what my ex wife put me through. Finding my dream love, a billion dollars, curing cancer, and solving world hunger wouldn't completely make me stop resenting myself. I didn't do anything to her physically, emotionally, or verbally... But she sure felt the need for me to feel all three.

I can relate

I feel sad about your statement. Whatever your ex did, surely created a deep wound! There is a possibility you are still in a state of grief. If that is true, allow yourself to heal from all your losses! Your love, your dreams, belonging and a future that you wanted with someone special! Re-visit the person you were before your ex, came into your life! And, reinvent yourself using who you are, not the ideas that your ex (or anyone), may have forced upon you! When your thinking wonders off to what she did or said, challenge your thoughts and don’t waste your energy on them! Replace those ideas with ones about leaving behind what was not good for you and face into the future toward that which gives you joy! And, if it appears that joy is in short very well may be, but head in that direction anyway! You deserve it! You will heal!

@Freedompath I am too critical of myself to get past what I did wrong. I'm over her, I just can't let go of my mistakes. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat history. Idle hands and all, but I have nothing but room for improvement.

@stinklizard I cannot know what happen, but I do know that you will need to ‘own’ what you did wrong and try and make amends. Sometimes all you can do is admit your mistake and apologize. The other person may still not get over it, but that is not your job! Your only job is to search your own self, and correct your thinking and behaving! When I first realized what harm I did to my 5 young children, I wrote it all down and sent a letter to each of them! I worked hard from that point on to try and be a good and understanding mother to each of them! But, their wounds were many and deep and even though I could see that they wanted to forgive me and let’s all move forward with love and has not worked out so smoothly! And that will always be a disappointment to me. However,, my job is to work on myself and what I need to feel like and behave like...a decent human being! I have learned to carry my grief over this...because it can never be erased! But, hopefully at some future date, it will make a difference in the eyes of children that I love..,that i did apply myself to correct where I went wrong!

@Freedompath it warms my heart to hear you are making positive steps to moving forward and trying to rebuild bridges. I hope only positive results will be your biggest problem.

@stinklizard thank you...I have a great life! I had to face the fact that my children’s developmental process is not in my hands, now. There is no need for me to beat myself up, any longer (it did take time to claw my way out of that). Beating ourself up, takes up energy that can be put toward being a happy caring person...which everyone will benefit from.

Upvoted for username. Carry on. 🙂


Why did you leave out mental abuse?

or sexual abuse is left out.

@sweetcharlotte so many ways to be hurt.?

@sweetcharlotte I did not put that in here because obviously that's the worse form of abuse..

I feel mental and emotional abuse are the same

I think mental and emotional abuse are two different things. I was physically, mentally, and emotional abused as a child by my stepdad.


All are bad, but no one directly died from emotional or verbal abuse

Unless they kill them selves because of said emotional abuse. 😟

@Kriptikos that is why I said directly. You are right but one does have time to get away

Emotional Abuse can cause people to self harm


If you do not get married, just live together you can leave at any time. No reason to take any abuse. The only thing worse than abuse, is a pathetic person who is so weak ("but...but...I love him..." ) that they put up with it.

You are seriously saying that you fault the abused for staying (though the whole m.o. of an abuser is to manipulate and demean a person to where they don't know any different, are financially dependent on the abuser, and believe it when their abuser tells them they don't deserve better) more than you fault the abuser for abusing?

Men stay in abusive relationships too. Just because people are unmarried, it doesn't mean they don't have financial entanglements, children etc. Rarely are things that simple.

They can’t always “just leave”, money, children, and the biggest one, “I’ll kill you if you try”, and they do. The % of women killed by a crazy partner is insanely high. Don’t judge what you don’t understand, have some compassion, and look up some facts as well.


Having seen all three, the idea of me seeing a male inflict "any of the above" to a female is just plain Wrong.

What about in the other direction? Is that just plain wrong as well?

@maturin1919 I would submit that in both cases, suggests that violence(mental, physical, verbal) is still wrong, especially if the offender is just obviously just plain ugly, wrong, or a dumb bully. There is truth to the axiom that violence begets violence and sadly, violence begets More Violence...thereby elevating the chances of violence increased to higher levels or more(verbal & emotional upped to physical violence). There are ways, critically chosen word(s) and/or legal process(I resorted in 2003), that can easily put the offender "on notice". If it cannot eliminate it, it can minimize more "violence begetting more violence"...since any civil/legal act puts the offender under a public microscope. And since those type of offenders are really bullies...Bullies are Merely Functional Cowards who act out when they "think" that they free from any consequences..

@CarlosG903 I see brevity isn't your thing.


It doesn't matter what kind of abuse it is, whether it be physical, mental, or verbal, they all do significant damage. It's like asking which form of energy is better, coal, nuclear, or natural gas. It doesn't matter because in the end all you are doing is heating water to steam to spin a turbine. Abuse is abuse no matter the form.

This ^^

@RavenCT Thank you.


Every single one can screw a person up - be they adult or child. And most happen in some combination.

I've never been told any tale of abuse and thought "that's the one to have." .

No vote here.

On the other hand, it seems to me that both physical and verbal abuse lead to emotional abuse. And probably the abuser either conciously or subconciously intends their physical or verbal abuse to cause emotional harm. I can't say that I was ever physically abused (that I remember), but did suffer verbal abuse from my alcoholic father, and I'm sure his intention was to hurt me emotionally. Although I've always referred to this as psychological abuse, it amounts to the same thing.

@bingst Absolutely. You never have to lay a hand on someone to cause them unending harm. I saw way too much of this. (working with clients).

And in my book - it being done to a kid who usually has no decision making power over leaving? That is the worst.

At least an adult has some decision over staying or going.
Even when they believe they don't.


I would contend that verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse, so we're really left with two options, right?

Which one is worse? Emotional abuse can leave scars that last a lifetime, ruin your ability to have healthy relationships, destroy a person's self- image, and could lead to self-harm or even suicide. It's a shitty thing. You've got to pull yourself out of it as best you can, and with time and perspective the lessons learned from the pain will make you a better, stronger person, if you can make it through to the other side. What do they say, "if you're going through Hell... keep going..."?

On the other hand, someone could bash you in the head with something and kill you.

I vote physical abuse.

Thar's what Winston Churchill says, anyway.

...I never carried the idea of physical abuse to a final conclusion as you did here! It occurred to me murder was the very worst abuse in it’s own right! Interesting!


Physical abuse sucks. I feel like verbal abuse should be included in emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse takes hard work and incredible time to heal. Bruises heal much faster. Both can be deadly.

Often emotional or verbal abuse is much worse than physical abuse!

It has taken me many years to even confront the verbal/emotional abuse. It has been so damaging. forgiving and stopping the cycles has helped me heal quite a bit. We can be much better humans. 😉


I think this is a dangerous line of logic to take that is fraught with problems. As Audre Lorde is wisely said “There is no hierarchy to oppression.”


Physical abuse is the worse, it is what all forms of abuse lead up to if not checked. Emotional abuse and verbal abuse are just preliminary.

That makes sense. When the verbal and emotional abuse fail to properly cow and control you, physical abuse is their only recourse. And you've already been conditioned to accept it. That's why I'm in therapy. I don't know if my reactions to stuff is normal, I prefer to have permission to be upset about behavior I receive. I don't want to just be crazy. My therapist assures me I'm doing well, so I can disregard when my son tells me everything is my fault.


Emotional abuse. Mainly because it is the emotional abuse component that leads to victims of physical abuse to stay with their abuser. Without the emotional abuse more women and men would get the hell out upon the first occurrence of violence. By the time physical abuse happens self-worth is almost non-existent.



The worst abuse is the self abuse of enduring being abused.

Agree...why I left my ex years ago


Sexual Abuse can be pretty bad too.

Wouldn't that be part of physical abuse?


All of the above.

"worse", not "bad". we all think these are shitty things to do.


Having suffered from both, I'd say emotional abuse is the most damaging.

Exactly how I feel


Why is there NOT a " All of the above" option as well.
Every form of abuse is as bad as the next in my opinion.

I did not put a All of the Above..because obviously they are all bad but I wanted to see what people thought...about them individually


You don't have an all are equally bad option. I choose that.


They're all equally bad and leave lasting trauma.

I suppose verbal/emotional abuse could be considered worse because it isn't taken seriously.


I have to agree with the others, but to destroy one internally is damage that cannot be seen by others who may be able to help.


I voted for physical abuse.

Emotional abuse can certainly have long-term negative effects, sometimes worse than physical abuse, but it depends on the individual. Verbal abuse can be emotional abuse, also depending on the individual.

I chose physical abuse with the thought that what is worse may depend on our age, and since most of us are adults longer than we are children, as adults physical abuse is the worst. It is a violation of our political rights. As adults we have many more choices to avoid emotional abuse and what is considered abuse depends more on the receiver than the giver. Receiving verbal abuse as adults can cross the line into physical abuse, and also a violation of our rights, if our "space" is invaded or becomes threats.


I guess it depends on a case by case basis. Some people can take one or the other or both and kind of be more immune to it then others.


They r all terrible


All of the above.


Abuse is abuse. What doesn't matter is the method of delivery. Trauma will always be the result.

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