Warning Signs – Insults You, Calls You Names

NOTE: We are re-posting this article on Warning Signs – Insults You/Calls You Names to allow you to read some of the excellent comments we’ve received from those who are or have been in an abusive relationship. Please be aware that these comments are for informational purposes only; we cannot verify the validity of each individual comment. If you need help, please contact a professional organization such as loveisrespect.org at 1-866-331-9474.

DASH’s early warning signs are meant to guide you in determining whether your relationship is healthy. In this series of articles, we will explore each warning sign in more depth so that you will have a better idea about what each sign means and if you need to address a problem in your relationship. Our second early warning sign of abuse is:

Insults you, calls you names

This may seem like an obvious warning sign. No one likes to be called names, even when it’s innocent teasing by friends. The increased awareness of bullying behavior has brought this warning sign more attention. The old rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” certainly isn’t true. Names, particularly if they are hurled at you by someone who claims to love you, can be terribly painful. If people you don’t really care about call you names, it may not be as upsetting. If that person is your boyfriend or girlfriend it becomes a whole different story. As in the first warning sign calling names is about control and humiliation.

We all have dealt with nicknames and insults, even among our friends. You might be a nerd, a jock, a popular and be proud about it. Having others call you names might roll right off you. You need to be able to tell the difference between a silly nickname and an abusive one. Any time your partner chooses to insult you, your appearance, your intelligence, your choices or opinions it’s emotional abuse. Yes, your partner can have his/her own opinions, but when they question your ideas to the point of insult or humiliation, it becomes emotional abuse.

It doesn’t matter if the verbal abuse takes place in front of others or not. An abusive partner will tell you that no one else will love you because you are fat, ugly, stupid – pick a word. Some partners may use the most disgusting references in order to crush your self esteem. There is no need to spell them out here; you can imagine what kinds of words they use. By insulting you he/she is making you more dependent. Many abusers will humiliate or embarrass their partners in public as a method of control to “prove” that only the abuser can love them. A victim of emotional abuse may start to blame themselves for the abuser’s behavior and come to believe what the abuser says. Constant criticism will compel the victim to “improve” him/herself. After all, if the person who loves you thinks you’re stupid then it must be true.

Remember, if the person you love is making you feel bad about yourself then he/she really doesn’t love you. A healthy relationship should be relaxing and fun. You should feel free to express who you really are with your partner. You shouldn’t feel that you need to fix yourself in order to meet your partner’s standard. Emotional abuse can happen to any one and it may eventually escalate to physical abuse if it isn’t stopped.

If you determine that these warning signs are part of your relationship, remember: you are not alone. You may not know how to get help. You may be afraid to leave the situation. Abusers know that they can control you emotionally because no one wants to admit that someone else has treated them so poorly. Do not be ashamed. Dating abuse is not your fault. Recognize the signs of dating abuse and get help if your relationship exhibits any of these characteristics. You don’t have to handle this alone. Sharing can save your life. For confidential help, please call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474.

loveisrespect.org, a collaboration of Break the Cycle and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, can now answer your questions and concerns via text message. Simply text “Love Is” to 77054 for confidential help. Normal texting fees apply.

22 Responses to Warning Signs – Insults You, Calls You Names

  1. Zintle says:

    My boyfriend calls me names constantly and im tired of it and he would insult me to the point where i would feel like im nothing and useless but that usually happens when his angry and sometimes i doubt if he loves me or what. I believe that if someone loves you is not meant to say such hurtful things and claim to love you in the end.

  2. Patricia says:

    I have been dating a man who is older than me by about 20 years…I’m not a teenager, but I am considered mature. We met about 4 months ago and we really hit it off well in the beginning, but after a few weeks I noticed that he would use names like Tootsie, or toots and tell me my opinions were silly and similar names that made me feel slightly uncomfortable and then one night we were talking and he called me stupid and I immediately told hm to never call me that again. over the Christmas holidays he brought me to a family party to introduce me to his family…when it came time for me to leave because I had to go to work, he walked me to my car and as I was getting in my car I turned around and he slapped me on my bottom and sad “thanks tootsie for coming with me. I was hurt that even after I told him not to call me those names that he cared so little about my feelings on the matter, I decided to end the relationship the next day. It spoiled my holiday for sure, but if I continued, it would only get worse. Strangely enough however instead of feeling bad about it which did,I also started to feel like a weight had been lifted from me. I had not realized how much with in those few short months he had been controlling my emotions and self esteem. It’s nice to be back n control…Patrica

    • Lira says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I have been in a similar situation as you. He would call me names and make fun of me. When I protested he would do it even more to irritate me. I broke up with him and he kept begging me to go back to him. When I went back to him , he started repeating his abusive behavior. So I took a lot of courage and finally left him.

      You be brave,
      Best wishes

  3. megan says:

    I’ve been in this relationship for 4 years, and every single fight me and my “companion” have… Its not very good, … Bad its bad even… He calls me very bad things everytime we fight… And I actually “LOVE” this guy? And he claims he loves me ?
    Someone please tell me how ? I need someone to reassure me that am I wasting my time?

    • Vickie says:

      I have the very same problem. Its very confusing. Im very beat down and have trouble finding happiness now. And he dosnt know why im not happy. I dont know if he loves me or hates me. I dont know if i love him or hate him. I know i should leave him but everytime i try ….i just cant.

  4. sweetie123 says:

    I can totally relate as i feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life I can a stable home in England,I came to the states and meet my husband.who I felt was the love of my life but once I said those volves it was over, thats when the manipulation started the name call the jealousy he even storks me he doesnt allow me to be me he contantly complsins about everything. I work 2 jobs to try and stay out the house because of the contant put down the lies it hurts deep inside so where.I feel so lost and miss my family I gave up everything to be with someone who mentally abused me everyday the eorst thing i can not leave because i will get deported and i have nothing to go back to i gave up everything to strt a new life with him and because i have forgiven him for so much he treats me loke crap now. It hurts so much god knows this is the eorst relationship i have been in i have never neen so disrespected lile this before.

  5. Lnp says:

    I have been with the same man for almost 5 years. I am 25 he is 35. he has 2 of his three kids i raise them. he doesnt have a job. he doesnt help around the house or with children. I work, go to school full time and cook and clean and mow yard etc. He calls me ugly names that are beyond words cruel and abusive. I hate the way he makes me feel for no reason. Majority of the time its over absolutely nothing. If he is out of cigarettes, for instance that was the thing tonight. He began to call me a fatslob, and fat ass btch, along with other things. and He calls me names to his kids and refers to me as the fat bitch. I just wanna be able to leave and never look back. why do i stay and put up with the abuse not only verbal but physical.

    • Mavi says:

      Hi Lnp,
      In regards your situation, you should never let him treat you like that. For once you don’t deserved that. It is disrespectful, and he doesnt seems to appreciate all you do for him. Look at the way he treat his kids, that tells you that he doesn’t have no bounderies and if you dont listen to does feeling that’s telling you that is not ok the way he’s treating, you’ll regreat it. If he loves you enough he’ll be willing to change that behaviour tours you and be an adult.

  6. cathy says:

    I am 24 years old and I have been with my bf for four years. When I met him I wasn’t in a positive state of mind but since he was so kind and loving, I confided in him. I told him most of my secrets. Later in our relationship he began going through my things, asking me about more stuff, and he just basically wanted to know everything that’s occurred in my life. Today, I can honestly say he knows everything about me. I thought this was normal, I thought he was my best friend, and I thought he loved me.
    We had a lot of fights, about big and small things. At first it was just loud and disturbing, but then it became a little less loud and more hurtful. He started using my secrets against me. He would call me stupid, disgusting, whore, bitch, cunt, spick.
    My boyfriend is White and I am Hispanic. His family hates me because I am not White, I never considered him racist though. I thought, if he is with me and I am Hispanic then there is no way he is racist. But I think this is also something that I forced myself to believe. In private, he will call black people niggas, and not in the slang version of it; in a cold and hateful version. He also calls Hispanics spicks.
    Anyway, with all of this I still found it in me to love him so much and basically put him first on my list of priorities. When he is not angry with me he is super fun and loving. I moved out of my parents house and now live closer to him. Now that I have my own apartment, he has access at anytime but he doesn’t live with me. Thank god. He doesn’t help at all in my house. Sometimes, he buys food but that’s it. He has never offered to help me financially. He only ever gives me things on holidays or our anniversary. This year he didn’t get me anything at all. He said we agreed not to. I still got him stuff because I have always been a sucker for holidays and our anniversary. He knows this.
    Yesterday I went through his phone. I found a conversation with one of his female coworkers. She was telling him how she wanted to go bother him and how she is going away on vacation and she bought a few bathing suits. She send pics of the suits and told him how she hopes she gets cock while shes away. Smh. She said a couple of other things about her body parts and went on to talk about something else. I asked him about it and he got mad at me. He said I am not cut of to be in a serious relationship and that I am a stupid cunt. He said that that girl is his friend and so on and so fourth.
    As long as we been together, neither of us has had any friends like this. This is one of the reasons I accepted the way he was, because I thought since he doesn’t cheat on me and respects me enough to not have inappropriate “friendships” with other girls then its a good trade.
    Its been two days since he has tried to reach out. Last thing he said was that I was a paranoid, jealous stupid cunt.
    I know for sure we will be talking pretty soon, and I pity myself for wanting to talk to him but I don’t want to forgive him. I always blame myself for everything. I have been giving in for a couple years now. He is finally starting to win but I shouldn’t let him. I don’t know how I will get passed this but I have to try. One thing I realized is that before I met him, yes, I wasn’t in the best state of mind. I was all about fun and completely irresponsible. I made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of regrets but I still loved myself. I respected myself. Not anymore.

  7. Jeff says:

    She’s called me embarrassing once…for nothing
    She loves me I hope. And she knows I love her. She was talking too me. And this the only person I’ll stay up till 5in the morning too talk too. But one time she was at her friends house and she texted me and told me too FaceTime. So I did and I told her I love her and I wasn’t talking much at all. I want her too spend time with her friends and family. And I even ask if I’m bothering her and she says no. So I don’t leave. I just don’t want too bother her. But she told me this one time she said it very rudely she said “I don’t just have too talk too you”. And that really hurt me. I love her and if I lost her it would kill me

  8. Lynn says:

    Ive been dating this much older guy for a while now and it was perfect at first but then he started calling me names every name that is and everytime I would give a guy a hug he didnt like it at all he doesnt even like me talking to other men. And he asks me to make money for him by sleeping with other men I dont know if he is joking about that or not but this is the creepiest thin g he keeps asking me to have a three some with him and his son again dont know if he is joking or not. And I also have pimples on my face and he said I have pimpleitus and that you cant even see my face anymore. And he says this stuff in a normal toned voice and its always usually when we are getting along its really weird.

  9. keira says:

    I feel like am being emotional abused by my boyfriend who’s younger that me btw.he diminishes humiliates and verbally abuses me then later on claims that he was only joking.I don’t know how to fight this because I am also in major depression and dealing with it right now.he’s the only one who knows about it maybe as to why he treats me like this.I don’t know what to do because also we don’t have support systems for such cases here.At least not any that I’ve heard of.am jus so sad with no one to talk to.my family is busy struggling with domestic issues that I don’t want to add to.my world is just so cold.

  10. irilis says:

    i have a boyfriend who is always insulting me,calling me a cheater while m not,he wants to control me,always wanting to know where i am and with who bt he dont tell me any of his and he dont provide for me

  11. john says:

    My girlfriend calls me names constantly and im tired of it and she would insult me to the point where i would feel like im nothing and useless but that usually happens when shes angry and sometimes i doubt if she loves me or what. I believe that if someone loves you is not meant to say such hurtful things and claim to love you in the end.

  12. Deb says:

    I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 10 years. Im 54 and hes 52 In the past year when he gets mad he calls me all kinds of nasty names. Its so hurtful. Names like stupid B****,Fing idiot, dumb a** and the list goes on. I was abused as a child by my stepmother and ran away at age 15.When he treats me like that it brings back all them memories as well. Anyhow the next day when we wake he is back to calling me baby ect. He acts as tho the night before never happened. when I try and talk about it he starts getting all mad and says you want to keep it going. Like I’m suppose to just wash the hurt away but I cant. Ive talked to him ask him how can he talk to me like that but says he loves me. I cant work. We both own the land and home its in both names. I feel so stuck, very sad. Its ALWAYS my fault in his opinion. I’m lost feeling so depressed. I just want to feel loved.

  13. Kayla says:

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for about a year and 3 months and in the beginning we were in that honeymoon phase for the longest time. Anyhow for about 6 months now, every single time I try to explain the way I feel, he gets mad or irritated and would start saying I’m stupid, that I’m dumb for saying that, and to just shut the fuck up. My friends have been telling me that I’m in a toxic relationship for as long as I can remember, and to be honest with you I’ve barely realized myself..

  14. Adriana says:

    Hi, I’ve been with the same guy for almost 4 years and we live together with his parents yes we are young im only 18 but hes all I have. I dont have no family or friends. When he gets mad at me and thats often he tends to call me names like a bitch and a retard and so on. This has been since we hit our 2nd year. We have broken up alot but still strong. Im unhappy and I dont know what to do. I dont want to ise him for a place to live so thats out of why im still with him. I cant figure it oit why I cant end things. I am very clost to his family and friends and it would hurt to leave them but what do I do. I feel like all mine and his relationship is, is emotional and some verbal abuse what do I do?

    • Robin says:

      Honey you are young, you have your whole wonderful life to live. You should start off by enrolling yourself in some educational classes. And get a little job and seek out some help from social services. They can help you get a little apartment of your own. Then he will no your not gonna put up with his crap. Please dont allow this to be your life. Dont allow any man or person to treat you with such disrespect. Love yourself. They will keep doing what there doing if you allow it togo on. With all my love Robin D.

  15. Karabo says:

    I’m also in a relationship for 2 and a half years now he also colls me names n I’m emotional about that always. I told my self that it will pass but it doesn’t… I’m not afraid to loss him cause hes the one who’s making me loose the love I have for hom

  16. Tjen says:

    I’m in the same situation.
    I am with this guy for 9 years, I have been stupid accepting this relationship.
    He is verbally abusing me for ages, before I wouldn’t understand because English isn’t my first language, then he would even humiliated me in my own language.
    Some minutes ago we fought, then he flipped… He called me bit.h many times, psycho, and kept insulting, I don’t insult him, I actually said that B or psycho is his mother or sister, then he came to me and said “you ugly old lady”. I’m 4 years older than him, when he really wants to hurt me, he refers to my age.
    I told him to leave my apartment, he tells me to leave and refuses to leave.

    I can’t live like that anymore, I have no more energy in my body to do so.
    He doesn’t care what he says.
    I was reading somewhere else that “they forget or simply say that didn’t mean it” how many times he said “I was angry at you that’s the reason I said so”
    I’m actually good looking woman, but I never feel so, everywhere people say that to me, he never say and as soon as we start fighting, he says how ugly I am.

    I just want to sleep and wake up in a better situation, I’m sure that this relationship is about to end.

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