How to Handle Verbal Abuse
Children and Adults are Victims of Verbal Abuse
Verbal Abuse Has Deep Emotional Effects
Verbal abuse affects children and adults alike. The affects of verbal abuse are not readily seen. The scars one bears from being mistreated lie deep within the hurting soul of the person who is being abused. They often suffer in silence, but there is hope. With self awareness, therapy, and support the pattern of abuse can be broken and new healthier relationships can be established.
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Some are healthy and some are not. Some are easily recognizable as abusive and some are not. Verbal abuse in relaionships is not recognized by physical bruises or noticeable injuries.
Yet verbal abuse hurts deeply. The feelings of being in such a relationship can easily overwhelm an adult or a child. Verbal abuse against children often causes severe emotional damage to their self esteem. They may have trouble in future relationships with trust issues and establishing healthy bonds.
This can affect them socially, academically, and occupationally forever. People who are verbally abused are at risk for anxiety and depression. Sometimes the effects can be debilitating. A person may doubt their own decisions, feel helpless, hopeless, worthless, and undeserving. These psychological effects can impact the health and well being of the victim of abuse.
There is no difference in the terms verbal abuse, emotional abuse, or mental abuse.
People are sometimes unaware that they are verbally abusive. But if you:
- call people names
- belittle others
- swear at people
- say insulting things
- say negative comments about people to other people when you know they hear you
- threaten someone with abandonment
- reject or exclude the person
- make someone feel unwanted
- threatening someone physically
- blaming that person
- making that person a scapegoat
- being sarcastic to that person
You might be a victim of verbal abuse if:
- You feel put down
- You notice the person switches from being charming to being angry, with no warning.
- You are walking on eggshells, trying not to set the person off
- You feel tense, angry, upset, sad, drained,depressed.
- You feel like your relationship with this person is somewhat out of control.
- You are constantly critized.
- No matter what you do,the person complains.
- You are never able to satisfy the person.
- The other person expects you to know what they are thinking
- The other person expects you to put their needs ahead of your own
- The other person twists things around so no matter what, it is your fault.
- You feel misunderstood
- You feel like there is no logical way to discuss and resolve the issues with the other person.
- The other person takes much of what you say, as a personal attack on them, no matter how nonthreatening you say things, even though you are not criticizing them in any way.
- The person makes you feel inadequate, incapable, and bad about yourself
- The other person undermines you in front of other people.
- The other person tries to control you in different ways.
- The other person acts nice, after acting badly to you, without apologizing for their behavior.
- You make excuses for the other person.
- You feel like you can not tell anyone what you are going through.
- You feel hopeless about the situation
Verbal Abuse in Relationships
Are You in a Verbally Abusive Relationship?
After looking at these lists, you may find that you are in a verbally abusive relationship. The wonderful news about this new awareness is that you are on your way to living a life you want to live. You can recreate your story.You can be happy.You can be fulfilled.You can love yourself and you can be have people in your life that will value you.
The truth about verbally abusive relationships -
It is important to understand the dynamics of your relationship with the person who is verbally abusing you.
Abuse can be defined as any behavior that attempts to control and make someone else submissive by using tactics such as humiliation and fear. Verbal abuse comes in the form of incessant criticism, intimidation, refusal to please someone else, and making it difficult for someone else to please them, manipulation, insults, belittling, and putting someone down.
The effects of verbal abuse can erode someone else’s feeling of self worth, their ego, and their self perceptions. A person’s self esteem is damaged and can lead them to feeling invalidated, and distrustful of their own emotions, experiences, and viewpoints. Abuse victims often lose their sense of self. Their inner feelings of personal value are degraded, and the scars a verbally abused person wears are never seen by others.
Power and Control Wheel
Patterns of Verbal Abuse
There are generally 3 patterns of verbal abuse:
- attacking - name calling, blaming, accusations, threatening, judging, making the relationship unequal, belittling, controlling.
- denying - failure to take responsibility for their actions,refusal to listen or communicate,.emotionally withdrawing to punish, silent treatment, lacking acknowledgement of someone else’s feelings.
- devaluing - making the other person feel as though their perceptions are faulty, and their emotions are undeserving of being acknowledged. Making less of the other person, that they are inconsequential, unimportant, and discounting their points.
The recipients of verbal abuse will usually find themselves in other abusive relationships. If a parent or other signicant person verbally abused a child, that child will probably grow up finding a partner who will verbally abuse them. Why is this? Often victims of abuse have not learned how to validate their own perceptions, set their own standards, or develop points of view.
The feelings of being controlled and put down, actually feel comfortable. Even though this is counter productive and even self destructive, they have not learned the necessary defenses to protect themselves. We all seek what we know, even if it is unhealthy. Abused people often feel powerless, angry, fearful, and are hurt.
Abusers, in contrast, look for people who feel helpless, unworthy, and have poor self perceptions. In this way the abuser can feel more in control, more secure, and don’t have to deal with their own unresolved feelings.
We have relationships with others and let them treat us, much as we expected to be treated. If we don’t value ourselves, how can we find someone who will value us?
Relationships have particular patterns where each partner, or family member has a role to fulfill. In dysfunctional families, these roles may be unhealthy ones. It is hard to have your eyes wide open and be completely self aware in relationships, given the fact that our behaviors often are modeled from the time we are very young.
But you can still help yourself become more aware of your situations. Knowing you are, how you behave in your relationships, how you let others control and define you, and understanding your past will help you get out of bad relationships and avoid being abused.
Think about how you think about yourself, and how you truly feel about yourself. As you learn to think more highly of yourself, you will have healthier relationships with others.
What Is a Healthy Relationship?
What does a healthy relationship look like?
- Getting emotional support
- Being heard
- Being respected
- Being treated with politeness and courtesy
- Having your feelings acknowledged
- Being apologized to
- Having the right to your own opinion, especially when it is different from the other person’s
- To not be mistreated.
- Not being blamed or accused, criticized, or judged.
- Having the things you do, valued.
- Being encouraged.
- Not being subjected to someone else’s fits of rage.
- Not being called names, or being put down.
- To be asked to do something, instead of ordered.
- To not be threatened, physically or emotionally.
- To be valued as a person.
- A healthy relationship will nurture you.
When someone is intentionally and repeatedlyhurt by another, they may be suffering from verbal abuse. Sometimes people will get into arguments with another person, and say something that is hurtful. This is not necessarily abuse. It is misdirected anger.
When destructive words are habitually part of a relationship, it is abusive behavior. Verbally abusive relationships involve one person undermining the other person by attacking their self esteem, manipulation, and devaluing the other person.
Sometimes verbal abuse is made in direct and insulting comments. Sometimes it comes out in the form of sarcasm, nasty looks, grimaces, cold shoulders, rejection, slamming doors, sighs, and to be uncooperative. These are just a few of the many tactics abusive people use on their victims.
You Deserve to Be Treated Right
Often, people who are verbally abused blame themselves. They think they are the problem, and buy into the devaluation and lack of self worth that is put upon them.Verbal abuse can break someone’s spirit.
You deserve to be in a healthy relationship. You deserve to be appreciated and appreciate yourself. Therapy is a very helpful way for you to become self aware so that you stop putting yourself in abusive situations.
If you are an abusive person, you can help yourself through therapy too. We bond with people, expecting they will love and care about us, that they will respect how we feel.
But sometimes those we chose, don’t care if we are hurt, or inflict emotional pain on us, in order to strike at us. We feel betrayed, when our partner lacks compassion for us. You don’t have to accept their abuse. You can stand up for yourself, you don’t have to allow yourself to be treated that way.
You just have to take the first of many healthy steps that are in your best interest to be treated right. Believe in yourself. Break the patterns that brought you to being treated unjustly. Love yourself and your world will surely improve. Re-evaluate your relationships and seek help so that things will improve.