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


    “Mr. Graff was FANTASTIC!!! At the first meeting he was very knowledgeable as to my case details and clearly described the necessary procedures that I should expect. He was available anytime I had a question and always responded right away. When the court date arrived, he was absolutely the most professional in his presentation to the judge (compared to the other attorney who mumbled her way through) and I won my case. You can not go wrong with Jeffrey!!”


  • An Amazing Lawyer!

    “I would recommend Jeffrey to anyone that is going though a divorce or child custody. He did his job and helped me get through one of the toughest parts in my life. He is amazing and I can't thank him enough for helping me with this situation. I called around to a few different attorneys and he was the one that just made me feel good and he was super feasible for my situation.”

    Former Client

  • 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.”


  • He was easy to work with!

    “Fees were reasonable and he helped me work through my divorce to ensure it was done in a timely manner. He was easy to work with!”

    Former Client