Is it considered abuse when someone verbally attacks you knowing that it will cause you to become angry and hurt?

I would say it's about the same, but I would also take a look into that person's feelings of self worth and insecurities considering that's usually why people do that. Indeed there can be some good reasons why a person could be this way. They could be depressed, on medications that alter their personality, doing drugs, drinking too much or be very insecure. Still, this is no reason for you to be their whipping post. Try to reason with the person and if they refuse to discuss their problems then it's time to move on. If this is a husband/wife then it's adviseable for the verbally abusive mate to go to the doctor for a good physical. You actually can phone in ahead and discuss with the girl at the desk in the doctors office that you would like a note attached to your mate's file regarding their verbal abuse.