Verbal Abuse: Handling Emotional Verbal Abuse
Verbal abuse (whether accompanied by physical abuse ) always lead a person to experience emotional turmoil. There are a lot of sites in the internet with helpful tips and ways on how to specifically handle different types of abuse. But I would like to write more on how to handle the emotional effects of verbal abuse.
Here are the emotional effects that people often experienced in abusive situations.
A twenty seven year old young lady shares to me her story. She had experienced molestation by neighboring workers near their house at the age of 5. She recalls how she grew up being angry with the world. As a coping mechanism, she made herself forget the "incident" and went through life with a thick shield and this battlecry, "Leave Me Alone!" Also, she recognized that she was angry with herself. She couldn't understand why she wasn't brave enough to tell her family or anyone of what was happening to her.
Anger is one emotion experienced during abusive situations.
Parents who forget to praise and instead constantly criticize their children often do not realize the emotional effects that goes along with it. A brother in my community experiences depression every so often. As a young professional, he sometimes have to stop and ask himself why he was feeling all these things when life seems to be going well for him. After several sharings, he realized that he still lives in his parents image of him -- someone who couldn't achieve much in life.
Depression due to deep seated feelings of unworthiness or feeling unloved is another emotional effect of verbal abuse.
In Neale Donald Walsh's book on Conversations with God, he writes that there are two emotions from where all other emotions stem from. Love and Fear. When fear starts to sneak in and rests inside you, it paralyzes you without you knowing it. It leads you through other emotions--from guilt (Did I do something wrong?), to hopelessness (Will something good come out of my life?) to worry (Will i be good enough for people to love me?)
I was a very fearful and sensitive child. I didn't handle criticisms well. And I grew up trying to please my parents thinking that if I was being good enough, obedient enough, I'd get their praise and that meant maybe they would love me. I carried this paradigm with me for years. And I experienced all those anger, depression, guilt, hopelessness and fear. I know what it is like to live in the shadow of confusion and drowning in self pity.
Some people's emotional response to verbal abuse is to either be defiant, rebellious and defensive; others become fearful, withdrawn, reclusive.
Don't Hate Yourself For Feeling this Way
Hate was so much a part of it all. I hated feeling that way and so I hated the people who did it to me. And yet, I felt guilty too. Hate and guilt was not a good combination. I recognized now that I didn't have to hate myself for feeling all the emotions I felt. I was not going insane. I did thought I was when I went through all those emotions. At one point, I thought I would wind up in a mental hospital for experiencing roller coaster emotions in a span of days or even from one moment to the next one. I thought I was going crazy! It sure felt like it.
Not judging the feelings was the first step. And then there was that moment when I just felt so tired and exhausted feeling angry, depressed or fearful. I wanted it all to stop. With that, I started on my healing journey. And more light came through. It didn't happen in one instance. But everyday was a discovery of how to heal inside. And if you want it enough, I know you are on your way there.
Here are some things that I did that helped me in my healing journey.
When you feel very negative and down in the dumps, start by being grateful with who you are, with what you have, and in whatever situation you are in. My best friend Stella, used to do this exercise with me. Before the day would end, she wouldn't let me say good night, not until I was able to tell her one thing that I could be thankful for.
Being grateful brings you into the state of awareness that life may be imperfect, but in its imperfection, you have decided to see its perfection and beauty. My aunt (who happens to be a nun) shared to me in one of our conversations, "I do see the dirt but I choose to see the diamonds." This helped her a lot to view people and circumstances in a positive way.
Use the Power of Choice
We have within us the power to choose. We can start right now to decide that we want a better life. A life that is full of joy and hope and love and peace. If that is what you want, then start using the power of choice. Use it well and use it wisely.
Choose to forgive the self, those who have hurt you, even God (who you may have blame at one time or the other.)
Choose to give as well as receive. Healing can happen when we start giving what we want badly enough. If we want love, then start to give love. If we want generosity, start being generous.
I remember the day I chose to forgive those who have hurt me. It took a bit of time to forgive myself. But when I did, I felt freer and lighter and more at peace with myself and the world.
Surround Yourself with Positive Things
You attract what you constantly focus on. So if you surround yourself with positive people, inspirational music and songs, read books that encourage and uplift, your healing will move on much faster.
Daily Affirmations is a must. Everyday without fail, affirm your worth. Say aloud and believe it with all your heart. "I am special. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am at peace. I am joyful. I am free. I am open to all the good things that life brings me. I am love.
I have kept this picture of young Michelle who is giggling. I look at it to remind me that I have within me the capacity to be happy.
God Loves You
As I am finishing this hub, there are still a hundred things I want to share about my healing. But I know at this point I have to end here. To end and to begin.
To You From Me: I believe now that all of life has a purpose and a reason. I have become a stronger person because of what I have went through. I have found out that if I decide and choose a course of action, in time, I gain mastery in what I want to achieve in my life.
It is not a coincidence that you are reading this words. You have been brought here. And I want you to know that no matter how much ugliness you feel inside or outside of yourself, God sees you with tenderness and so much love. He is ultimately the one person who has held my hand all these years. He has kept me sane when I was about to go insane. And with every breath in me, I want you to know that He is there for you too.
You can choose to be healed from the pains of verbal abuse. Handling emotional verbal abuse can be a challenging one. Is it your choice now to let go and move on? Choose now. And healing will be yours.