Why Verbal Abuse can be just as Damaging as Mental Abuse

I would argue that verbal abuse turns into mental abuse. If you are told that you are worthless enough times, then you hear those words in your head even when your tormentor is not around. And it would appear to be in the depths of night when everything seems worse and the only thing to focus on in the dark are your own thoughts.

Verbal abuse is damaging. If we don’t let those hurtful words go, they can eat into our psyche and break down our sense of self and confidence. But it is possible to stop the negative cycle of emotions caused by verbal abuse. I speak from experience because I was verbally abused by being bullied in the workplace. The horrid words that were spoken to me would reverberate through my head at night or when I was on the train on the way home. It is difficult but I have learned through the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to argue with the statements that were thrown at me. Why let those words be carried around within you to cause you pain again and again?

I would take each statement that is said to you, like “you’re worthless” and think through times in your life when you have done something worthwhile. It can be anything, even if it seems really trivial to you, like helping an old lady across a road or helping a young mother with a pushchair. Soon, you will have a list of items that categorically prove that you are not worthless. Your brain only holds onto phrases and thoughts and whirls them around in your head when it is looking for an answer to them. If you can provide yourself with a rational argument then your brain will move onto something else – and with time you will be able to learn to hold healthy thoughts in your head rather than unhealthy ones.

It is important to remember that verbal and mental abuse (which I feel become interchangeable) can only keep hurting you if you let it. By taking control of the only thing you can, i.e. your mind, then no matter what gets said to you you can rise above. I’m sure it is obvious to state that people who abuse others are covering their own inadequacies but sometimes we need a gentle reminder of this.