‘’Honey! I love you, but you don’t know anything about people.” ‘You’re not worth it.” ‘’I am saying everything for your good.” Do you have any idea about the depth of all these sentences? Many of you may consider these a kind of help, a gesture of love, or maybe good advice. But is it really some sort of help or a kind of verbal abuse?
Verbal abuse is very common in everyday relationships. Most of the time verbal abuse can be overlooked because we don’t recognize it.
Many of us consider yelling, belittling behavior, put-downs, and name-calling as self -abuse.
Verbal assaults consider it a normal way of communication. It is because the attacking person uses the overt forms of abuse. Of course, they make threats and also remain to engage in name-calling. But they also attack with their insidious secret weapons to overcome its seriousness. Like they use prolonged silence treatment, interrupting you, and gas lighting. Even demanding a person, putting down their ideas, and constantly correcting them are also forms of verbal abuse.
It means there is so much to know and understand about it.
What is Verbal Abuse?
Being in an argument is completely natural and it is almost a part of our daily life. It is also true that sometimes we lose our control and start yelling. All of this is normal but what is not normal in all this situation is verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse is defined as:
”Improper or excessive use of language to humiliate a person, or undermining their dignity on regular basis is called verbal abuse.”
In other words, it can be explained as,
”An act of forceful insult, criticism, or accusation of a person is verbal abuse.”
Verbal abuse is a flawed mechanism. It is identified by underlying enmity and anger. Verbal abuse is brutally destroying the self-concept of an individual. It is a disastrous kind of interaction that produces negative emotions.
Verbal abuse is in actual emotional exploitation. It ruins the self-esteem, confidence, and courage of the victim. The signs of verbal abuse are:
- Extreme yelling
- The profanity of a person in private or public
- A regular criticism of a person’s parenting, physical appearance, or intelligence
Sometimes oink, an eye roll, just a sigh after a conversation or act, can also be abuse. It also becomes a part of an ongoing pattern of actions and words to degrade a person. Everyone often obviously observes the abuse signs but the victim.
Some additional complicated signs of abuse are:
The abuser shifts the blame of every single mishap to the accuser. Accuser automatically starts considering their self as faulty or guilty.
Accuser feels guilty from being criticized for doing actions or participating in activities.
The abuser turns into a difficult or split kind of person. He/she shows different shades of his/her characters according to the situations.
When the victim desires to escape from the mess, the accuser threats him/her with various tactics. Abuser threats with committing suicide attempt, leaving the kids or family, or to harm the family pet.
A victim, family member, or a friend should remain aware of these signs of abuse.
Types of Verbal Abuse:
Behavior that makes someone feel uneasy or bad about themselves. Verbal abuse is commonly a part of very close relationships. Whether it is a parent-child bond, a romantic relation, or family or working relation verbal abuse ruins the beauty and warmth of emotional moments.
Let’s observe some of these types one by one.
Verbal Child Abuse:
Negligence abuse, emotional child abuse, and mental injury of a child – there are so many names for verbal child abuse.
Verbal abuse use can be defined as:
”A behavior in which a child is made to feel alone, worthless, unloved or scared repeatedly. It particularly damages the self-esteem and well-being of a child.”
Verbal abuse can include teasing, criticizing, bullying, yelling, and, hostility constant rejection. We can also include family violence exposure in verbal abuse.
After child negligence and physical torture, it is the third most frequent form of child abuse. It is difficult to detect and more difficult to document. That is why it is greatly under-rated. Children are so soft and gentle, even words can harm them badly.
Types of Verbal Child Abuse:
Verbal/emotional abuse can be equally hurtful as physical abuse. And the effect of verbal abuse can last for the lifetime of a kid.
Some examples of verbal child abuse include:
- Keeping a child physically or socially isolated
- Scaring a child to do anything
- Giving a child exposure to domestic violence
- Ignoring or rejecting a child
- Treating a child badly because of their sexuality, disability or any other thing which they cannot change
- Belittling, bullying, or teasing a child constantly
- Yelling, screaming, blaming, or humiliating a child
- Giving them a feeling of being different from other family members
- Restricting a child from expressing themselves, exploring, learning, and making friends
How is it possible to identify a child suffering from verbal abuse?
Children are free souls but yet they are dependent to express and explain many things. That is why it is difficult for them to understand and respond to verbal abuse. But observing a specific kind of attitude or behavior in children indicates the possibility of verbal abuse;
- Sometimes children avoid being at home or try to escape from home
- Children start consuming alcohol or show drug addiction
- They show behaviors like stealing, lying, or self-harming
- Children feel insecure and may become demanding, secretive, or disruptive
- Slow development and poor school progress.
- Shows extremes of behaviors e.g. highly aggressive to very passive
- Very low self-confidence, even not able to communicate with parents
- Often show anxious and distressed
- Remain in constant fear of being scolded in case of another mistake
Negative Effects of Verbal Abuse on Children:
Verbal abuse is the most overlooked kind of abuse that is camouflage under the cover of ‘’tough love”, disciplining, and teaching manners. And due to this ignorant behavior children undergo devastating after effects.
Verbal abuse can cause both short and long term effects on children. Most of the time children cannot get healed of the scars that left prints on their soul.
Some short term effects of verbal abuse on kids are:
- Clinical depression and inferiority complex.
- Degenerated physical and mental performance.
- Unresponsive condition.
- And the long term effects of verbal abuse on children are:
- Feeling hopeless, always think negatively, and show poor self-confidence.
- Anti-social tendencies appear and may suffer from an antisocial personality disorder.
- Sleep, eating, learning, and speech disorders can also appear.
- Complicated mental disorders, phobias, and suicidal tendencies can also be observed.
Parental Verbal Abuse:
Parents are real role models for their kids. Every action, word, and moment affects. No one else has a greater influence on a child than parents. Verbal interaction between parents and children can originate from a feeling of care and comfort. But it can also be a source of abuse and ridicule.
Neglectful and abusive childhood experiences, and verbal aggressive parenting lefts lasting effects on the brain development of a child. Parental verbal aggression exerts adverse psychiatric effects.
Parental verbal aggression is a kind of emotional maltreatment. According to a study, parental verbal aggression shows more adverse effects than other forms of childhood adversity. The magnitude of parental verbal aggression is far severe than experiencing extra-familial sexual abuse and domestic violence.
The individuals experienced maternal verbal aggression shows 3 times more risk towards borderline paranoid-personality disorder, Narcissistic, and extreme anxiety during early adulthood. The abasement, arrogance, and ridicule by one parent are nearly impossible to negate by care, warmth, and love from the same or another parent.
Unluckily, parental verbal aggression is a highly underrated factor. And verbal affection is an undervalued contributor to health development.
Parental verbal affection is the key to raise a successful, happy, and balanced individual. This affection launches a feeling of being contented and promising for a lifetime.
While the less verbal affection from parents decreases the options for foster feelings of friendliness and well-being.
Everyone understands how beating a child damages brain development. But the verbal/emotional abuse lefts the wounds that time cannot heal.
Verbal Abuse in Marriage:
Marriage is the sum of small efforts of showing love and appreciation. But what to do when this lovely bonding turns into manipulative mind games, insensitive words, and cruel put-downs?
Verbal abuse in marriage is Kind of cruel wording to control and hurt your partner. Sometimes, verbal abuse is more obvious, like using swear words or yelling. But words aren’t the only kind that can hurt. The verbal abuser has the power to damage even with silent treatments and underhanded comments. Being in a marital relationship your partner can use various patterns to tease you. These patterns are serious threats to abuse you. It is essential to understand these tactics of verbal abuse:
Coercion and Threats:
If your marital partner threatens you with public humiliation and physical violence. Or make you fearful of hurting themselves or your loved ones – it’s alarming.
Emotional threats to leave you, not to be with you or divorce option are equally harmful. These fears can break a person mentally and emotionally. And the person can suffer through trauma or severe mental and physical health issues.
Gaslighting is a typical kind of manipulation. Abuser efforts to control the sense of the reality of their victim. It is dangerous because the victim accepts the situation. He/she cannot realize the fact that they may be exploited.
Abuser implants the concept of being crazy and irrational in the mind of the victim. The sufferer gets confused between reality and fantasy. Sooner or later victim accepts the version of reality given my abuser. And believes the abuse with him/her is justified.
Babbling and Undermining:
Verbal abusers stave the feelings, sense of self, and opinion of their partner. Abuser ignores the feelings and emotions of their victim and blames them of exaggerating the things.
Abuser trivializes the victim by calling them ”too sensitive”. It can cause many psychological issues such as:
- Drug addiction
- Memory disorders
- Sleeping and eating issues
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)
How To Deal With Verbal Abuse?
Verbal abuse is an ongoing pattern of criticism. This kind of abuse works in the cycle in which the abuser turns into a loving and caring person But ends up with the hurtful ways.
Of course, it is difficult to deal with verbal abuse for children. They cannot retaliate or agitate even against parental mishandling. But for an adult, it is possible to resist in front of the abuser for their self-esteem and pride.
If you are being abused or bullied, it’s your responsibility to stop it. You can easily deal with an abuser in three ways:
- The abuser always wants control over you but the best response you can give them is to keep control of your attitude and remain attentive to your self.
- Set boundaries and consequences in every relation. And strictly follow the rules set for yourself.
- If you feel that anyone is crossing their boundaries, be courageous and move out of the situation. Quitting the relationship is far better than being abused by that relation.
Avoid Risky Confrontations:
- Verbal abuse may accelerate into physical violence. The abuser tries to force you into a confrontation but de-escalating the abuse is a strategy to protect yourself
- Use calm body language, even voice, give respect and try to avoid confrontation by not justifying your argument
- Stay present but not get involved in the tricks of an abuse
Get Away from Chronic Abuse:
- It is essential to involve other people for help. As a victim, you maybe feel not so strong emotionally or mentally to deal with the abuser.
- It’s better to get help from professionals.
- Talk to your other family members and friends to get confidence and assurance of not being alone in any kind of situation.
Everyone deserves respect and care in any kind of relation. But if anyone, in any way, tries to tare you down!That behavior deserves to kick down to the curb.
Don’t afraid to reach out for help and security. No one is allowed to use anyone as a toy to satisfy their evil desires. Recognize your self-respect and raise your voice against verbal abuse. Not from today but from right now.
Share your story with us as it might help in venting out.