“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will break my soul” should be the content of the age old saying about words. Whoever came up with the “words will never hurt me” line must not have suffered from verbal or mental abuse.
Words are more powerful than the fist could ever be. If someone hits you with a fist, yes, it can very well hurt you and break your bones. Max healing time for a broken bone is twelve weeks. An external bruise will be gone within one week. However, if someone hits another person with bad enough words, the individual can be emotionally and mentally altered for life.
Bad words work like little mental time bombs that just keep exploding over and over and over again blowing the self-esteem to smithereens. Sometimes they do not explode immediately as they are intentionally set to detonate at a later time when they are least expected to. A victim may receive an insult or verbal attack and think to herself “There, see! Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me!”. Three hours later….BOOM! In no way, shape, or form are words harmless and not hurtful. That is why there is another saying “The pen is mightier than the sword”. That is because the pen produces words and words cut like knives.
“You are an ugly, fat, worthless, dirty, stupid piece of ____. You are too dark, too busty, too short, too emotional, not rich enough, not submissive enough, not mature enough, not sexy enough, not good enough, and no one is ever going to want you.” That is just a brief summary of different “words” that can affect a person’s self esteem and well being. They hurt far worse than “sticks and stones” because they remain in the receiver’s mind and keep beating her down until they are taken to heart and accepted as her reality. Once these words are accepted as reality, she is internally deformed.
Words can not be taken back. A venomous blow from the mouth can not be retracted or made up for. Once it “hits” the head and the heart the damage is done and it is very difficult to heal from that. Stick and stones huh? I have had experiences with both sticks and stones and words. I would choose the sticks and stones over the words any day of the week.