I was working with a gentleman whose marriage was on the rocks. As I work with individuals, I like to meet their spouse at least one time, to make sure we are on the right path. I met with his wife. She brought in an article she found on verbal abuse to discuss what she had been experiencing. It was written by a former verbal abuser, which impressed me. I wish I knew who this was so I could give them full credit. Here are some excerpts from his short article.
“Verbal abuseis any use of language that causes someone harm. Criticism, cursing, recounting past offenses, expressing negative expectations, yelling, expressing distrust are all forms of abuse. The level of abuse can be gauged by the frequency, volume, and emotional weight given to the words.”
How did he recover? He is a former verbal abuser. Here is what he said:
“If you are the abuser,although you feel justified speaking like this, you MUST STOP. You may think you’re pointing out something your child needs to change, or a weakness your mate has, but the more you degrade them, the worse they will feel, and the worse they will become. You may recall how you felt at times when you were in this position. If you find you cannot stop the abuse, get some professional help so you can stop hurting the people you love.”
I would add, speaking to loved ones in this manner will not encourage them to open up or be close to you. You are destroying the trust, love and respect they have for you. Instead of fostering intimacy, you are destroying the very thing you crave. He admits that his wife began to feel that their home, “was a very dangerous environment in which to have an opinion, so she became distant and quiet, inviting even more anger and criticism from me.”
What if you are the victim?Here is what the gentleman wrote:
“You need to understand the abuser is the one with the problem…not you. Even if you’ve made mistakes, you DON’T DESERVE the verbal beatings you are getting. If a loved one just won’t stop verbally abusing you and won’t get help for the problem, get away from them. If they still won’t get help, make the absence permanent.”
He then goes on to say you can recover if you still think enough of yourself to get it stopped or get away. He recommends staying away from negative or toxic people. Be optimistic. Do enjoyable and relaxing activities. Instead of news, listen to upbeat music and read. He states you can, “overcome the abusive crud someone poured on you, simply by choosing a life that’s the opposite of it.” As you progress, you get healthier and stronger and turn into the person you wish to be. I agree.