Verbal Abusers And Their Victims

Verbal abusers pick their victims well and most of the time they keep the abuse behind closed doors with no witnesses. Their public persona is so totally different than the one they save for the husband or wife or child who bears the force of their cutting words.

Were you the kid other kids taunted at school? Maybe you wore glasses or were a little taller or shorter or thinner or fatter or your clothes weren’t the latest fashion. Maybe you just happened to like school and you got good grades and they hated you for it. You would go home and tell you mom or dad what happened and did they tell you to just ignore the words, they wouldn’t hurt you?

Or did the abuse happen once you got home? Did your mom or dad find fault with everything you did, it was never good enough no matter how hard you tried? Or maybe it was your older brother or sister who you adored but could never please?

We all grew up believing that physical abuse was the thing that hurt the most but if you have ever experienced a verbally abusive relationship, you know that words can feel as though they are literally killing your soul.

Physical abuse, those sticks and stones, leave visible marks, the kind you can see and show someone else so they understand what’s happening to you, what damage is being done to you.

Abusive words don’t leave visible marks of any sort and their use can be so cunning and insidious that you’re damaged before you even realize what is being done to you. No scars, no marks, no visible signs of hurt to show someone, to ask for help. If anyone is going to look foolish or petty, it will be the victim who seeks help from family or friends who only experience the “good” side of the abuser.

Verbal abuse isn’t just shouting profanities, it is finding a sensitive spot and working on it. It’s joking about a tender subject and when the abused person reacts (as the abuser expected) telling them that they “are too sensitive” or that they “need to grow up” or that they “are stupid” or some other negative put-down remark to further demean.

A person who has been verbally abused may believe they are worthless, not capable of the simplest tasks, not worthy of living on this earth. When it comes from a parent, it is particularly devastating.

All relationships are going to have times of arguing and harsh words. That’s a normal part of a normal relationship. It leads to “kiss and make up” and the relationship continues on having cleared the air of issues that needed to be dealt with. Both partners say they’re sorry, they both admit to their mistakes. They apologize.

Abusers may apologize, although most don’t, but even with apologies they won’t stop the abuse. Even if they say they’re sorry, and most won’t, they aren’t sorry enough to stop the abuse.

Some abused children grow up to become abusers, although they don’t necessarily recognize their actions as being abusive. The legacy of abuse is passed from father to son, mother to daughter, mother to son, father to daughter.

If your spouse is being abusive to you, are you willing to accept it knowing that your son or daughter is learning from your actions that abusive behavior is acceptable?

Break the legacy of abuse within your family. Get counseling for yourself and your children even if your spouse denies there is a problem.