You can't say that to me! "Can't you do anything right?" "I can't believe you would feed that junk to your child!" "What is this? And don't tell me it's a casserole, I already know that." "If you really cared about me, you wouldn't behave this way." Sound familiar? Each of us occasionally feels the sting of very unpleasant language from those who are closest to us-spouses, employers, friends, relatives. But frequent and repeated use of unanswerable questions, scalding accusations, sarcasm, insinuations, and even icy silence is more than simply unpleasant; it is abusive, destructive, and frequently leads to escalating arguments and physical violence. Suzette Haden Elgin, creator of the "Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense," has developed a unique and revolutionary way to break the cycle of verbal violence and eliminate it from your life-without ruining your marriage, risking your job, or alienating friends or loved ones. Dr. Elgin shows you how to neutralize verbal attacks and discourage future abuse with: An 8-step program that helps you recognize the patterns of verbal abuse Specific language techniques that enable you to avoid escalating arguments and break the cycle of abuse using skills you already possess Questionnaires and diaries that help you analyze abusive situations, evaluate your responses to them, and track your progress In this book Dr. Elgin proves that verbal abuse is not caused by human nature, but by language. She helps you discover that you are an expert in your own language, already highly qualified to solve this problem for yourself, quickly and forever.