May 20, 2008
here is some info on verbal abuse
Verbal Abuse Precedes Domestic Violence
by Patricia Evans
Responding to a reader, Dear Abby said,
"Although I have devoted much space to the problem of physical abuse, you have provided me with an opportunity to address the issue of verbal abuse--which is even more widespread.
from DEAR ABBY by Abigail Van Buren 1/1/1998.
Verbal Abuse Can Lead to Domestic Violence
I see verbal abuse as a boiling cauldron of pain and anguish in possibly millions of homes and physical abuse as the surface sputters that get our attention. Batterers don’t start beating their partners before they have first withheld their feelings from them, called them names, or belittled them. A person who might cross from verbal to physical abuse is likely to show signs of an impending physical assault by launching intense and repeated verbal attacks, by indulging in rages or by becoming abusive in public. Such a person attempts to justify the abuse by blaming their partner. Batterers notoriously blame the victim of their assaults. "If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be in jail," says the batterer. The verbal abuser does likewise saying, "You made me...," or "You’re trying to control me," or "You’re trying to start a fight."
Battering and Myths
Domestic violence is an enormous problem made difficult to see, not only because it is usually hidden, but also because it is hard to understand why grown ups revert to hitting and sometimes killing the people to whom they claim to be close. Myths about the victims, such as "they bring it on themselves," or are "co-dependent", or "provoke it," also obscure the problem.
Control, Verbal Abuse and Violence
Domestic violence is about the control of one human being by another. This control begins with verbal abuse and is similar to mind control. Verbal abuse attacks one’s spirit and sense of self. Verbal abuse attempts to create self doubt. "You don’t know what you’re talking about," "You don’t have a sense of humor," "You can’t take a joke," "You’re too sensitive," "You’re crazy."
Verbal abuse so controls ones mind that some women who have left a verbally and sometimes physically abusive relationship twenty or more years ago still find themselves wondering, "Maybe there’s something I could have done...," or, "Maybe if I’d tried to explain just one more time my relationship would have gotten better." Very often the people who find themselves the target of controlling behaviors can’t comprehend that anyone would want to control them so they try to be nice. This doesn’t work. You can’t stop a rapist by being extra nice.
Opinions as Opposition
On a national television show, a man who was trying to overcome verbally abusive behaviors said, "When my partner has a different opinion from me, I feel attacked." This gives us a clue to an abuser. Love is not wishing you the best and wishing you the power and strength to have your own personal freedom. Through the eyes of the abuser, even your own opinions are seen as opposition.
One of the most effective ways for the target of domestic violence to realize that it was not their fault is to recognize how they were verbally abused. With that recognition they can come to the realization that there never was, and never would be, some way to be, some explanation to make, something to do, to make it stop. And one of the most effective ways for a person who indulges in controlling behaviors to recognizes their own behavior is to recognize that they have indulged in verbal abuse. Only then can they begin to change. Change only happens when the abuser has the courage to really want to change. .
Journal Entry: "Effects of Domestic Violence Health Cons..." [Read]
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Verbal Abuse – The Characteristics
Verbal abuse is a very common malady that attacks every human being at some point in their lives; some more than others. It can be a very devastating form of abuse when the person experiences the attacks frequently. Verbal abuse cannot be readily seen like bruises, but it causes mental and emotional harm. Characteristics identifying verbal abuse are, but not limited to:
Always referring to the opinions of others as irrelevant and wrong.
Inconsideration of a person’s feelings.
Using verbal abusiveness jokingly.
Refusing to listen to others.
Using accusations and blame to manipulate and control others.
Being judgmental and critical of others.
Belittling the concerns of others.
Consistently berates a person’s confidence.
Threatens to do physical harm.
Purposeful cancellations of appointments or agreements.
Making difficult or impossible demands on others.
Denial of perpetrating the abuse.
Causing fear in people through outbursts of rage.
Verbal Abuse – Avoiding Depression
Sometimes words are used harshly by people without realizing how hurtful the words sound. A daily barrage of hurtful words leads to depression, which is very common in an abusive situation.
Avoiding depression can be accomplished when steps are taken to dispel it. Inactivity of one’s situation breeds depression. Here are some active steps people can take to counteract the effects of depression brought on by verbal abuse.
Realize that abuse is not your fault. Abuse is never justified.
Discuss the unacceptable behavior with the abuser. Let the abuser know how much the harsh words hurt.
Discuss ways both people can change to improve the relationship.
Seek counseling: whether it is together, separately, or individually.
Surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, church group, etc.
If the verbal abuse becomes physical, personal safety is imperative. Leave the volatile situation and allow time for cooling down.
The person dealing with depression due to verbal abuse must stop blaming him or herself for the problems.
At the moment of being verbally abused, remember to:
Stay calm. Do not become agitated.
Let the abuser vent. He or she will lose steam and may realize the person refuses to become a victim of their abuse.
Do not reward the abuser by reacting to their actions with hurtful responses. Lashing out lets the abuser know they had power in affecting the person’s emotions.