Psychology

Verbal Abuse



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Words... certain combinations of letters that happen to go together, right? Well, technically that is true, but beyond that, words have meanings. Some words are meant to be hopeful, encouraging, and even complimentary, while others inject hurt and pain into the minds of their victims.

While bruises can usually be seen on the body of someone who is physically abused, no bruises appear on someone who is abused verbally or emotionally. However, stinging words and personality attacks can do more damage emotionally to a person than one generally realizes.

Every human being develops a self-concept, or a way they see themselves, as they grow up. While this self-concept changes several times over the years, it is always there. An individual's self-esteem and self-worth are determined through their self-concept, and a person functions best when they see themselves as worthwhile and a positive asset to society as a whole. When one feels good about themselves and their capabilities, they are more motivated and have a positive outlook on life, whereas when they do not feel this way, it is more difficult to look at the world around them positively.

Unfortunately, there have always been people in the world who gain personal power by shooting words in the direction of others which inflict pain upon others. These people seem to believe that they have more knowledge than certain people and that they have the authority to right the wrongs they see in others by yelling, shouting, and otherwise cutting into their self-concepts with the use of hurtful words and tones. These people seem to feel satisfaction and gain power through these attacks on others. What about the victims, though? How do they feel? What happens to them?

Most everyone has fallen victim to verbal abuse at least one time in their life, and no matter how minor the attack may seem, the emotional pain it creates is real and difficult to overcome. While someone may try and stand tough or claim that other's words just bounce off of them, this is often not the truth. When someone attacks your personality and compromises your view of who you are, it causes you to question yourself, your beliefs, and everything about the way you live your life, creating doubt and uncertainty in place of self-confidence and happiness.

While most people can overcome infrequent verbal attacks on the part of others either on their own or through the help of those around them, those unfortunate people who are attacked verbally daily, weekly, or more regularly come to a point where they just feel like they can't take it anymore. These people come to feel like everything they do is wrong, that no one values them, and that they really have no worth in the world they live in, although those views are, in reality, not true.

It only takes one person to abuse someone verbally. So, just because someone appears to be well-liked or to have lots of friends, they still could have someone in their life causing them severe emotional pain through verbal abuse. Verbal abusers are usually not strangers, oftentimes they are family members, relationship partners, or other close contacts, people who a person would think would be there to support them through thick and thin.

It is extremely important to think before you speak and to choose your words carefully every time you speak to someone. Emitting hurtful and cruel words is never right, in any situation; this is just as bad as slapping someone in the face, actually worse as words stick with someone longer than physical pain, tearing at their souls.

Confronting a verbal abuser is extremely difficult as this person is likely to not be willing to admit that their actions are or were wrong. They will probably become very defensive and even more critical. The best way to approach this is to approach the verbal abuser with a neutral party that you both get along with and state how you feel using an "I feel" statement, such as "I feel sad when you yell at me and" If the abuser is unwilling to admit they are wrong or if it happens again, it is important to distance yourself from the abuser as much as your life allows and focus on other aspects of your life. If you cannot do this or experience difficulty in doing this, it is imperative that you seek help from a counselor or other helping professional or at the very least confide in a friend that you trust. If you feel the need to remain anonymous, it may be helpful to call a crisis hotline. Verbal and emotional abuse are not minor problems; they are damaging, far worse than any type of physical abuse. If you are in this situation and do not seek help, the pain will eventually come to a point where it affects your entire way of life negatively. There is nothing wrong with you, although your abuser wants you to believe that. Take control and break free from the pain that you do not deserve, there are people out there who are more than willing to help you, all you have to do is take the first step.

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More about this author: Olivia Kay

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