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You deserve more than tongue lashing!

“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” How many women think that this old school rhyme really comes to…

“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” How many women think that this old school rhyme really comes to pass when their partners put them down or tongue lashe them in angry and at times deliberate outbursts? Well, wake up because the rhyme is a blunt lie. Cruel and abusive words will do more than just break your bones; they will break your spirit, neutralise your confidence and even make you physically and mentally ill.

In relationships, verbal abuse creates pain and trauma and can lead to physical illness. Continuous abuse is stressful, no matter how much one tries to ignore it. Stress compromises the immune system leaving the abused person vulnerable to a host of illnesses. Back pain and exhaustion are often the first symptoms.

Women are the main victims of a verbally abusive relationship, in a situation where we have the man always trying to show he is the superior or the head of the home or relationship and tongue lashing the woman in public, making her feel worthless and inferior. Such a relationship is disastrous to the woman in question because the man will always want to remain a subject under his every abusive control. And most of these women suffer in silence and isolation as there is no evidence that they are in an abusive relationship. Though, this does not rule out the fact that there are some verbally abusive women in some relationships.

Almost everyone has heard of  or knows of someone who has been verbally abused. Perhaps you are involved in a verbally abusive relationship. It is also possible that no one even knows your circumstances. Verbal abuse is a kind of battering which doesn’t leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering.

Verbal abuse is often less visible simply because the abuse may always take place privately. The victim of verbal abuse lives in a gradually more confusing realm. In public, the victim is with one person. While in private, the abuser may become a completely different person.

Most people recognize name-calling as verbal abuse, but name-calling is just one of more than a dozen categories of verbal abuses. Typically, people who are put down in verbally abusive relationships think that somehow, in some way their being treated has something to do with them. They have the impression that there is something about them that makes their loved ones mad at them, apprehensive of them, distant toward them, fed up with them, unbelieving of them, or disdainful of them.

Verbal abuse occurs because the abuser is in a reality where he feels he must overpower his victim to feel good about himself. Often he was abused as a child. Or perhaps both victim and victimizer are influenced by cultural beliefs which support the man dominating and controlling the woman. Often the victim is confused, as in the scenario above, because she wants an equal relationship with the male. She wants to feel empathy, respect, compassion and acceptance from him. She may believe she can elicit this behavior from him by modeling it – by treating him as she wants him to treat her. Unfortunately, from his reality, he sees this as a weakness on her part and will, most often only escalate his abuse because scoring a “win” makes him feel good about himself. He suffers low self esteem and the abusive behaviors help him to cover up the part of himself he doesn’t like. He blames his faults on the victim, thereby feeling the abuse is justified.

What should a woman do if she believes she is being verbally abused in a relationship? I think there are several answers, depending on the individual and the situation.  But, first, remember the abuser is not going to understand that he is abusive if you try to explain this to him. This is not his reality – he will see any explanations as your weakness. The best thing is just to tell him to “stop”, that his behavior is abusive and will not be tolerated as it is a violation of your right and personality. In the best scenario, this will bring him to a realization that he is abusive and he will be open to trying to change his behavior. All too frequently, however, this confrontation about the abuse may actually make the behavior escalate as he struggles for control. He may accuse you of attacking him! He is often in a position to become more hostile to you or make you even more miserable, and you may be forced to live in agonised slience.

If there isn’t a feeling of goodwill and understanding between two people in their relationship, if one is hurting and feeling constantly put down by actual comments, for instance, “you just can’t do anything right,” You aren’t listening,” or is frequently yelled at, then that person is probably in a verbally abusive relationship and needs to act fast to put an end to this behavior.

Here are some of the pointers that you are in a verbally abusive relationship: being called names by your partner. Any negative form of name calling is unacceptable. There are names that are obvious and without question abusive. Verbal abusers love to use constructive criticism to beat down a spouse, so if your spouse is constantly criticizing you for your own good, then be careful as this is the most insidious form of verbal abuse.

 Yelling, swearing and screaming are symptoms that you are living with someone who goes verbally hysterical for every little cause. Threats should not be taken lightly even if it is a joke especially if it causes you to change behaviors or to feel on guard in the relationship. If your spouse refuses to discuss issues that upset or affect you or they avoid discussions of topics that they might have to take responsibility for their actions, he is showing that your feelings are not regarded and dismissed.

These are some signals that you are in a verbally abusive relationship. There are ways you can survive such kinds of relationships, do not engage your abuser in any conflict of any sort. If he becomes angry, remain calm, walk away and do not give him any reaction as that is what he wants and this will only give him the privilege and edge to do more than just being verbally abusive.

Bur most importantly, take back your power. If you react to the abuser you are only rewarding him by letting him know that he has power over your emotions. Do not allow the abuser have control over how you feel, once you have that in control, then you have your power back because whatever he says or does will not in any way bother you.

You deserve more than to be verbally and eventually physically abused!


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