"Stick and stones may break my bones yet words will never hurt me." Anyone who has been on the end of verbal abuse, especially over a sustained period, will know that this is simply not true.
Physical abuse is something one can prove. The scars and bruises are obvious and are enough for intervention to take place and help to be given. No one would dare say "get over it" or "oh just let it go over your head". For some reason though, when it comes to verbal abuse there seems to be a misconception that it is somehow unimportant or easy to resolve. Well it is not. Sustained verbal abuse whether domestic, at schools or in the workplace is simply unacceptable, extremely damaging and thoroughly cruel. What it does reveal is a weakness inherent in the abuser or a need to cover up their own failings by projecting their own deep rooted dissatisfaction with their lives onto those they see as weaker than themselves. This by no means is an apology for the abuser; for there is none. To use verbal abuse as a direct attack is inexcusable and do not think for one minute that the abuser does not know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing.
So if you are experiencing this form of abuse then do something. Do not let verbal abuse be sustained for it will feed the abuser and allow then to carry on thinking that those they abuse are weaker than themselves. Face the abuser directly and show them your true strength and nature and let them know that they have no power of any kind. Now, this is obviously difficult in a working environment especially if they are in a superior position. In this case talk to someone further up the line or to your human resources department or to an independent organisation. The important thing is to tell someone so that it can be stopped before it gains momentum.
Another tragic effect of verbal abuse is upon children. It is amazing how parents enjoy teasing their children to the point where all self confidence is eradicated, self worth reduced to shreds and belief in failure starts to germinate to rear its ugly head later on in life. If you are a parent who teases, please understand that what may be funny to you is extremely damaging to the child. If you know that this abuse is going on yet allow your spouse to tease mercifully then please finally stand up for your child.
Verbal abuse can be far more damaging than physical abuse simply because it can continue for many years undetected. There are no broken bones or bruises yet the scars that form from an early age will get deeper and deeper and remove all trace of humanity and self respect. If you know someone who is suffering from verbal abuse then please help in some way. Of course one needs to tread carefully so as not to cause the situation to inflame, yet please do not just stand by and watch the abuse continue. It is indeed a tragedy for good people to do nothing.