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Verbal Abuse - Does It Really Hurt That Much?

Updated on June 26, 2013

It is not something that is talked about much but it happens quite often. Verbal abuse is real and many people get away with being verbally abusive to others on a daily basis. There are some who make others lives miserable because of the hurtful things they say and it is well known that the bullying that goes on today has a lot more to do with words that with actions.

Excerpt from a project by Ragia Elkhashab
Excerpt from a project by Ragia Elkhashab | Source

Discussing Verbal Abuse In The Home - Patricia Evans

Verbal Abuse In The Home

There have been quite a few cases (as seen on Lifetime television) where a wife has attacked her husband after years of verbal abuse. Some men are capable of completely terrifying their wives with treats, insults and well-timed remarks. Some women are capable of such things as well.

Verbal abuse in the home is not a new thing. The book of Proverbs says:

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." Proverbs 21:19


He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him." Proverbs 27:14

"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." Proverbs 27:15

It is clear that words have a lot of power and what we say can impact on people. Words can send someone into a blind rage as evidenced in Proverbs 27: 14 and they can eat away at a person's soul and build hatred as evidenced in Proverbs 27:15 and 21:19.

A cartoonist's version of a very angry man in the process of letting someone feel his wrath. Is this a picture of verbal abuse?
A cartoonist's version of a very angry man in the process of letting someone feel his wrath. Is this a picture of verbal abuse? | Source

Patricia Evans on Verbal Abuse - Part 2

Have you ever been a victim of verbal abuse?

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Verbal Abuse At School

A remark such as, 'You'll never amount to anything in life,' is one that is a form of verbal abuse and it is said, sometimes, by the parent and other times, by the teacher at school. When this remark is made to the student, usually it is because of some misunderstanding of a topic on the student's part. Sometimes, the remark is prompted by a serious lack of discipline and therefore said in frustration. Then, perhaps, the speaker is ignorant of the fact that the words can hurt but there are instances where teachers intentionally verbally abuse students in the hopes that they retaliate by 'showing Mr./ Mrs. (insert name here) just how wrong they were about me'. It is a sort of last resort that they use in order to motivate a student who seems to put his entire being into not caring.

Regardless of this fact, students can be and are verbally abused by their teachers and they can also be verbally abused by their peers. This verbal abuse among peers is, of course, a part of bullying. A bully need not always act out physically but can torment someone by simply passing sly insults, muttering about the insipidness of the person and generally finding all sorts of ways to bring down the emotional confidence that a person (in this case a student) may have. This does cause despair and sometimes it causes deep depression.

Unfortunately, it does not always occur to the one who does the insulting just how powerful his words are. He never really stops to consider that his words eat away at his classmate's happiness and many times, the insults become a habit and it is not unusual to hear him use these sorts of insults towards both friends and enemies alike.

A picture of what verbal abuse can feel like
A picture of what verbal abuse can feel like | Source

Impact of Verbal Abuse - Patricia Evans

Have you ever ignorantly verbally abused someone?

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Ignorant Verbal Abusers

Some people verbally abuse others and do not even suspect that they do. If they did realize what they were doing, if the fact was brought to their attention, then they would immediately stop doing it. However, for people who feel verbally abused, it is not something that is easy to admit and most often people can feel a bit afraid to say it for fear of being laughed at or targeted even more.

My experience With Verbal Abuse

Most people laugh it off when I say that I cannot stand to hear others using profanity. It is my habit to ask others not to use that type of language in my presence because it really offends me. Some people genuinely try to respect that fact and apologize if they slip up while others just do not care and let it rip. In my case, I find that cursing is the verbal version of a hard slap. People who curse flippantly, to me, are like children who do not know that hitting hurts. People who curse violently are like violent men who take pleasure in striking those around them. For some, the verbal slap might be someone repeatedly saying, 'You're so stupid,' or insulting their intelligence based on their looks ( blondes are often labeled as 'dumb' simply because of their hair color) Whatever the case, if the words cause you too reel and you find that you are reeling a lot more often than you'd like, you need to sit up and face the very real possibility that you are being verbally abused.

Even though, most times I am ignored when it comes to asking people not to curse in front of me, I feel better when I do it because I have told them what I do not like and asked them not to do it. The more they do do it, the less I know they respect me. The emotional hurt from the words is still there but I can get over it knowing that I can avoid the one who said the hurtful things. To me, it really shows me who my friends are and it brings it home to me just who I should avoid.

I have found that even though there is the very real possibility of being laughed at, or shrugged off, it is better to be honest with yourself and others around you. In some cases you cannot be frank with the one who does the abusing because the abusing is intentional. Revealing this to the person will only spur them on and give them the feeling that they have power over you.Being honest with the ignorant verbal abuser can prevent the verbal abuse and/or make you aware of it so that you can distance yourself from it.


What To Do In The Midst Of Verbal Abuse


  • Keep a clear head and think carefully before you speak. When a person is using words in an abusive way it is best not to use words in that manner as well. It will only upset you and your calm will help you get over the incident better that your anger will.
  • Answer as rationally as you can and do not base it on feelings. Someone who verbally abuses does get satisfaction in thinking that they have some control over your emotions. This gives them a feeling of power. Showing no emotion takes away that power from them.


  • Try to end the confrontation as soon as you can. Leaving the room or the place where the confrontation is taking place is sometimes the best thing to do. This is a literal way of showing the person that their words have no hold on you.

When in the midst of a confrontation that involves verbal abuse, self-control is the key. The more control you have over yourself, your words and your emotions, the less control the other person has over you. As the book of Proverbs says: 'He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.' (Proverbs 25:28)


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