How to tell if you are a Verbal Physical or Emotional Abuser

VERBAL ABUSE, Think You’re Innocent?
~Recognizing the different types of verbal abuse~

We’ve all grown up with the saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. But the reality is: words can hurt and once they’re said, they can’t be taken back.

So what exactly is “verbal abuse”? Some may think its name-calling; others may think its jabs, insults or cut-downs. How about yelling? Yes, depending on what we’re yelling about, this can apply toward verbal abuse as well. All of this type of behavior falls into the verbal abuse category.

We’ve become seasoned to the way we treat each other. Its okay if we call each other names “in fun”, or its okay to run down another person if it’s “in fun”. Look at all the shows on television; movies, sitcoms, even children’s or teens shows. The comedy stems from characters making fun of other characters with name-calling and insults. We don’t laugh now days unless we’re hurting each other “in fun”. Even commercials; one commercial that was running for awhile had two men talking to each other. The second of the two men was insulting the first one and the final comment in the commercial was “what, did you take a stupid pill this morning?” Nice. It’s no wonder our children are so cruel to each other at school and adults carry on just like this during their workdays. It’s the “norm”.

The types of verbal abuse that we’ve been discussing so far are the more blatant, obvious behaviors. These actions are very cruel and the one spouting off the offensive words; the name-calling or the jabs, is hurting the other person. People tend to take everything very personally and get hurt easily so why aren’t we watching what we say to others?

What about the more subtle verbally abusive behaviors; the kinds that are done ever so cleverly? Let’s look at some other situations. Listed below are several questions you may want to ask yourself:

Have you ever tried to make someone else feel guilty for something that you did, something that’s your fault?
Have you ever criticized someone stating that what they did wasn’t good or they could have done this or that better? (When in actuality they probably performed their task better than you could have ever done?)
Do you ever just relentlessly criticize over and over again?
Have you ever just not answered when someone was talking to you when they were trying to share feelings or something that meant a lot to them?
How about comparing a person to another person to their face?
Have you ever just talked about a subject to death? Say for example, you want a new car badly and your spouse doesn’t think it’s a good idea. So here it comes; the subject is talked about over and over again in any and every way until your spouse finally gives in from sheer exhaustion.

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you’re guilty of verbal abuse as well.

Why are these things considered verbally abusive? What are we doing with these more subtle behaviors? We’re building ourselves up at another’s expense. We’re controlling the other person and the other person’s feelings by the comments that are, or aren’t coming out of our mouths. We are belittling the other party in order to build ourselves up. What does this do to their self esteem? It destroys it. The more the person is made to feel at fault and is made to take the blame, the more they will feel like they can’t do anything right. They will withdraw into themselves.

Whether this withdrawal is obvious or not has to do with the individual that’s being harmed in this manner. Some people will literally withdraw and never attempt to do anything on their own; they may withdraw completely from society. Then others, who try to appear stronger, will just keep trying and trying and trying to make themselves worthy in the eyes of their abusers. They lose themselves in trying to please the controlling party.

We, as people in general, take pride in our manipulation of others. If we can get someone else to do what we want them to do, no matter what it takes, we’ll do it. Or if we want something badly enough, again, we’ll do whatever it takes to get the other party to give in.

We’ve lost compassion for each other. Life isn’t all about us, it’s about others. Maybe we should remember another phrase “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. We should be trying to build each other up, caring and nurturing each other in our daily lives. Why don’t we try to be the ones to break the vicious cycle? Why don’t we set the example and say things that only build self esteem instead of tearing it down? There might be a lot less depression in the world today and much more happiness to share.