The Secret of
Verbal Abuse
Getting Off the Emotional
Roller Coaster and Regaining
Control of Your Life
Albert Ellis, Ph.D.
Marcia Grad Powers

If you feel as though you are on a runaway emotional roller coaster with your partner at the controls, this book is for you! It can save you years of torment, tumult, and tears.

If you are being mistreated by your partner, The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse can dramatically change your life. You will learn an entirely new way of perceiving and coping with your relationship and your feelings.

The time-tested, proven secret contained in this book will wrap itself around you like a thick, warm, protective blanket, insulating you from your pain. And the next time your "Price Charming" takes aim and tries to pierce your heart with his unkind words, you will be ready. You will feel strong and be in charge of your own reaction.

Whether you want to stay, need to stay, or plan to leave, this book can help you to
  • Set yourself free from confusion, anxiety, frustration, self-doubt, guilt, anger, and depression
  • Restore your dignity, self-respect, self-love, and personal power
  • Create the inner peace and happiness you have wanted, wished for, and in tearful private moments prayed for--perhaps for years
Now get ready to begin an exciting journey of enlightenment and empowerment that will help you regain control of your life.
Ellis and Powers, The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse
Buy This Book

About the Author

Albert Ellis, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned psychologist and eminent teacher of psychotherapists. He is founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and originator of modern Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and is ranked as one of the world's "Most Influential Psychotherapists" by his peers.

Marcia Grad Powers is an accredited psychological educator, a credentialed teacher, and a bestselling author. She has lectured to business and professional groups and at colleges and universities.

Table of Contents

About the Authors  xi
Preface xii

Enchanted by the Fairy Tale
Heartbroken by the Reality

1 Once Upon a Time   3
2 Learning the Truth: Your First Step to
Emotional Freedom
3 How You Are Affected: What You Think,
Feel, and Do
4 Why, Oh Why, Does It Have to Be
This Way?
5 It Feels Like Love...But Is It?  41

The Secret Revealed

6 The Secret: What It Is  53
7 How the Secret Works: The ABCs of
Being Rational in an Irrational Relationship

Using the Secret to Set Yourself Free
Whether You Want to Stay, Need to Stay,
or Plan to Leave

8 Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster  77
9 Stopping the Thinking That Does You In  91
10 Getting Your Feelings About Yourself
to Work For -- Rather than Against -- You
11 Your Practical New Philosophy in Action 125

Getting Past the Fears
and Anxieties That Keep You Stuck...
No More Staying for the Wrong Reasons
or Suffering After You Have Left

12 Overcoming Your Three Biggest Fears
of Leaving
13 Quieting Other Fears That Haunt You 157
14 Embracing Your New Philosophy With Feeling 169
15 Taking Action Against Feeling Bad 185

Living Happily Ever After

16 Taking Back Your Life 203
17 A Personal Word from Marcia Grad Powers 209
From the Authors 221
Suggested Reading 223
Index 225

[from the softbound edition]


You may feel sorry for your abuser when you think about the causes of his abusive behavior. You may begin to believe that they excuse his behavior and that he had little choice other than to become abusive. Well, think again.

Is it sad he may be prone to behave abusively? Yes, but others have the same tendency, yet do not act upon it. Is it sad he was not taught differently, conditioned differently, and did not have a different childhood or different life experiences? Yes, but many of us have had painful pasts and families of origin that taught unhealthy behaviors, yet we don't abuse other people.

Adulthood is when most of us assume responsibility for our behavior in spite of what we may be innately prone to do and what may have happened to us in childhood. Your abusive partner has to be treated like an adult and held accountable for his actions.

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse
page 35

As incredible as it sounds, the devastating emotions you attribute to being verbally abused are of your own making. In fact, all your emotions are of your own making. No one can make you feel anything. You make you feel every emotion you experience. You also are in control of the intensity of each emotion you experience. Your abuser does not have the power to hurt you with his words and behavior--not without your help. No one can make you feel anything without your permission, without your participation.

So as much as you might believe your abusive partner is to blame for all your pain, the truth is that the most painful emotional hoops you continuously jump through are of your own creation. Although you may not want to hear this, it is wonderful news. Why? Because it means you can do something to stop the pain without having to rely on your abuser to stop it for you! Did you get this? It is going to turn out to be the best news you have heard in a long time. Here it is again: You can do something to stop the pain without having to rely on your abuser to stop it for you.

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse
page 56

It would seem that once you have become aware of how abusive relationships work and understand that it is your partner's goal to make himself seem okay and you seem flawed and inferior, you would no longer be vulnerable to his abusive behavior. You would realize there is no basis for continuing your excruciating soul-searching, self-analysis, self-blame, and self-downing, since the abuse is not about you. His behavior would no longer cause you debilitating pain.

But does this knowledge actually stop the cycle of obsessive thoughts and out-of-control emotions? Not necessarily. It may be that you still get caught up in the old, familiar quagmire of confusion, pain, and tears--even when you know that your partner's behavior is irrational, that his statements about you are usually untrue, and that the abusive incidents are not your fault. Why? Because although you know better, a part of you gets caught up in what your partner says. A part of you thinks he may be right about you. A part of you still judges you harshly and sees you as lacking. A part of you believes that you may--as he insists--not be okay, after all. Insidiously, your insecurities, negative perception and non-acceptance of yourself, and your tendency to blame yourself and feel guilty set you up to play right into his hands.

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse
page 110

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Other Books by
Albert Ellis, Ph.D.

Learn more about these books also written by Albert Ellis, Ph.D.:

How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You
How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable
When AA Doesn't Work for You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol
How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything--Yes, Anything
Making Intimate Connections: Seven Guidelines for Great Relationships and Better Communication
How to Control Your Anger Before It Controls You

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