Dear Patricia,

First, I would like to say that your book has helped me tremendously. It has helped me in so many ways. I was in a verbally abusive relationship for a year and 5 months. After 9 months, he became disrespectful to me and my family. In a nutshell, we were fighting and things finally reached the boiling point and I got rid of him.

I feel so much better because the abuser is no longer a part of my life........But he still is. Ill explain. The abuser and I both work for the same company but in different departments. He treated me badly at home and in front of our co-workers. I do not intend on leaving my job. I love it and plan to stick with it. He on the other hand got the job thanks to me. I told him of the opening and he has been working with me for a year. I donšt believe he plans on leaving either. But.....The abuser is very IMMATURE. He tries to argue with me at work. We donšt really have to interact with one another so that is good, but I want to keep the peace and look professional in the office.

We were getting along fine for a while, but his immaturity comes out and he makes snide remarks and comments to try to anger me. And sometimes it works. He really does get me mad. He sends emails talking badly about my family and me. Finally, after reading your book, I walked right up to him and told him that if he writes or speaks to me in an inappropriate way that I would make sure my boss knew about it. He has stopped bothering me. But my concern is that he is so immature, I stress out thinking whether he will try to get me in trouble, make more snide comments, or act worse. I want to look professional and not like a fighting child. He is trying to control me like he did when we were together. I feel so stressed. How can I make him see that I want to be professional and yet not get mad with his actions?

He is very controlling and I feel that if I try to make peace with him, he will see me as weak and take advantage of that. Is there any advice you can give me?
Thank you Patricia



Dear Stressed,

I think that it would be a good idea to tell your boss your experience and include copies of the emails he sent you. No one should be stressed over abuse in the workplace. Asking for support in keeping him away from you is mature, not childish. You might be feeling traumatized when you see your abuser and are reminded of the past. If you can avoid him altogether, so much the better.


Patricia Evans


I just finished reading "The verbally Abusive Relationship" and it was terrific! Nearly every paragraph was identical to what I lived. Thank you for writing it! I have a question, however, about responding to judging and criticizing or accusation and blame. You suggest I say "Stop judging me!" or "Cut that out!" or "Don't talk to me like that!". These responses sound like Ordering to me. Please explain why I should say "Stop that!" but he should not say, "Don't chop the onions like that!" or "Open that window!"

R On Line

Dear R. On Line,

While it is easy to say "Stop" to someone abusing a child, when it comes to themselves, adults may think they should "take it" or that saying "Stop" is unkind.

People who have suffered over a period of time from verbal abuse, sometimes fear that they are being abusive when they demand an end to it. But, it is always okay to say "No" or "Stop" to a person indulging in verbal abuse.

Orders like "Don't chop the onions like that!" or " Open that window!" are abusive because they intrude on our freedom to act as we choose (as long as it does not harm another). Accusing, blaming, judging and criticizing are abusive because they assault our freedom and define our personal reality in an attempt to control us.

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