Verbal Abuse

Verbal Abuse

Trusted Family Law Attorneys in Westlake Village

California takes domestic violence seriously, and seeks to protect those who have been abused. Verbal abuse is considered a facet of domestic violence by the state. Verbal abuse is handled by civil counts, and is considered a form of harassment. If you are not sure if you require legal help, many organizations exist to provide information for victims. Domestic violence counselors can help you find protection, but if you wish to take legal action against your abuser, you will need experienced legal advocacy from a family law attorney.

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, I will protect you with over 35 years of legal experience. I understand the ins and outs of family law, and have served as a Judge Pro Tem and a mediator. With my deep knowledge of family law, I will provide you with personalized attention for your case and I am available to you whenever you need me, even after hours.

Types of Verbal Abuse

Violence is violence, whether it is physical or verbal. You deserve to be safe from threats, name calling, and psychological manipulation just as much as you deserve to be safe from physical violence. Verbal abuse is often subtle, and designed to make your abuser feel more powerful than you. There are many forms of verbal abuse, and some may occur so often that you may no longer recognize it for what it is—abuse.

Forms of verbal abuse can include:

  • Withholding information about their thoughts or feelings
  • Countering or dismissing expressions of emotion, opinions, or experiences
  • Disguising verbal abuse as “just a joke”
  • Blocking certain topics and diverting the other speaker with accusations of speaking too much or out of turn
  • Accusing or blaming situations on the victim, even if the situation is beyond their control
  • Judging or criticizing the victim, and using “you” statements, such as “You’re always so negative.”
  • Trivializing the victim’s achievements and making them seem insignificant
  • Undermining the victim’s suggestions or thoughts, opinions, or interests
  • Threatening the victim with physical violence, breakups, or damage to their reputation
  • Name calling, either explicitly, or more subtly by implying the name has negative connotations
  • Forgetting promises, appointments, or dates without remorse
  • Ordering the victim around or demanding certain behaviors
  • Denial of poor behavior or consequences of these behaviors
  • Abusive anger, such as yelling or telling the victim to “shut up”

The Lasting Effects of Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse can leave scars long after the victim has been removed from the situation. Many victims of verbal abuse experience anxiety and depression after an abusive relationship. The effects of an abusive relationship may not appear immediately, but can build over time. Often, victims may be afraid to seek professional help for their issues, or the root of the problem may not be treated.

Some lasting effects of verbal abuse include:

  • Mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • A loss of enthusiasm or spontaneity
  • Perpetually feeling on-guard
  • Worry about how you present yourself to others
  • Feel they caused their abuse or were in the wrong
  • Worry about your happiness or not allow yourself time to heal
  • Feel as if you are missing out
  • Live in the future, and ignore the present
  • Low self esteem

Finding Help

Getting help is critically important in an abusive relationship. Many abusers seek to isolate victims, and it can be difficult to get in touch with reality again. Victims may also need help getting out of an abusive marriage or gaining legal protection from an abuser.

An experienced family law attorney can help you petition for a restraining order, file for a divorce, or bring a claim against your abuser for harassment. Your safety should come first, but a qualified lawyer will understand the complexity of a case involving domestic violence, and will ensure that you are protected during the process. If you have children, it is particularly important that you stay safe and that they are protected as well.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff can help you protect yourself from your abuser. Whether you need help obtaining a restraining order, filing for divorce, or gaining custody of your children, I can offer compassionate legal representation and assistance.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today for a free initial consultation by calling (805) 633-4999.

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • I felt that he always had my best interest in mind!

    “I selected Jeff to represent me because he specialized divorce cases and had worked with the Ventura County judges for many years. He was very patient with me as dealt with the emotions of getting a divorce after a 19-year marriage, and helped me through the terrible stress of facing my ex-spouse and being in the courtroom. He gave me very good advice on how to manage the property settlement, especially on when I should capitulate and when I should hold my ground. I felt that he always had my best interest in mind (rather than just collecting his fee) and worked diligently to bring the case to a fair conclusion.”

    Mrs. M

  • His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.

    “Jeff and his team are by far the best to work with. His staff is kind, courteous, and he is excellent at getting the job done in a timely fashion. He is very straight forward and makes it easy to understand what is going on step by step in your case. His experience and insight into the family law field is excellent. Jeff and his office have helped my family tremendously and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for family law help. If you wants to be sure it is done correct the first time and that your family's best interest are always cared for, he is the guy. His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.”


  • I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades.

    “I knew Jeffrey personally as a proud family man and a pillar of the community with an stellar reputation as a family/divorce attorney. When my daughter was going through her divorce and had several bad experiences with two attorneys, in the Westlake Village area, I recommended Jeffery to her. After meeting with us to discuss the situation and issues, Jeffery and his staff went to work, we went to court, Jeffery not only got the results my daughter had hoped for, but also managed to have the opposing party cover his fees, he is beyond knowledgeable, professional and fair, he's brilliant at what he does and worth every penny. I have since recommended Jeffrey to all my friends and acquaintances who need legal help and will continue to do so. I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades and thanks for his help and exceptional negotiating skill in settling the case, thank you, again.”

    Dianne R.

  • I have faith in Jeffery Graff.

    “I am a battered woman. Jeffrey saw this when I walked in a year ago to hire him to get a divorce. I was not ready. I thought I could save my 27yr marriage. He knew I would be back when I was ready. He never pushed me to follow through, he waited for me to make to be ready for the long haul. I finally did it! I got tired of being abused in so many ways. Jeffery is a very patient man. I know he will take care of me!!!!! So far so good. I know he is going to keep me in my house for now or ever. He was honest and said we may have to sell but I know the job will get done in my best interest!”

    Former Client

  • He understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types!

    “Jeff is very kind and always takes time to listen to my issues and questions. He is very professional. Jeff is always prepared for court and his experience is obvious when you see that all the judges know him and regard him with great esteem. Jeff understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types of issues which characterized my case. If you would like to be able to trust that your lawyer is going to resolve your issue to the best possible outcome while being professional and courteous, Jeff Graff is the attorney for you.”