The overwhelming effects of verbal abuse

Recently I was reminded about the lasting effects of verbal abuse. My fiancé and I were visiting friends in another city.  We have not been to their place too much and got a bit lost on our way home.  It was late, we were all tired and somehow ended up in some industrial area. Wrong turns were made and tensions rose.  No name calling happened between us but suddenly I was being verbally abused. I could hear my ex in my head telling me how stupid I was, that I was an idiot. I had flashbacks to times he would give me a map and tell me to navigate (usually in a strange city while we sped down some freeway)  and I would fail at it.  This is of course what he wanted to happen so then he could justify yelling at me for a 1/2 hour or more. It was horrible and damaging to my self worth. Last night, as I quietly cried, I  was a reminded of the damage done.

Many verbal abuse Survivors will tell you that they would take getting hit over one more minute of being verbally abused.  I remember saying to my ex more than once, “just hit me already!” My thinking was that if I was hit then the abuse was over and I could heal from a bruise whereas verbal abuse  cuts you to your soul. Verbal abuse changes how you think of yourself. Verbal abuse is crazy making.  Often the victim feels like it is all just in their head, maybe they aren’t being abused, maybe they are just going crazy. If this is how you feel after suffering verbal abuse let me tell you that you are NOT crazy. You have been abused.

So what is verbal abuse? It is just name calling? No it is not.

Verbal abuse includes the following:[4]

How do you heal from verbal abuse?

Well I am still working that, its a journey of ups and downs. If you have to remain in contact with your verbal abuser it is important to set boundaries with them. Telling them to “Stop it!” or saying, “You aren’t allowed to talk to me that way!” are two statements you can use to bring your abuser up  short. If possible cut all ties with your abuser.  I know this is not always easy to do. Some verbal abusers are family members, a boss or your spouse, but you are worth more than what they are giving you.  You cannot properly heal until there is closure.  Another important point is that most verbal abuse will escalate over time and it WILL lead to physical abuse.  No one deserves that.

It’s important to seek support as  you recover from the abuse. A counsellor can be a great confident who can give you insight as a third party. Unlike a family member or close friend they are able to give you  professional advice without the overshadowing of family dynamics or friendships. This does not mean support from family and friends is not valid, it defiantly is. You might even find yourself reconnecting with family and friends once you leave the relationship.  Abusers often isolate their victim from family and friends as it is then easier to control them. So reach out to them.  They can help you remember who you are rather than what the abuser tells you, you are.  Social support is also another support system.  There are many groups on facebook, twitter or domestic violence hotlines that can help you. It is easier to move forward when you have a positive support system around you.

As for me, well we did find our way home.  Today my fiancé and I sorted through what the effects of my verbally abusive past had on me last night.  It is a two steps forward, one step back sort of journey.  I am just glad that I keep moving forward.

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9 thoughts on “The overwhelming effects of verbal abuse

  1. Oh how right you are!! I haven been out of my abusive marriage for over 4 years now!!! It would be so much easier if we never had to speak or see each other again!! sadly that is not a option for us!!! His dad passed away a few months ago and he was forced to move out of the place his dad had!! My mom whom assumes we should be back together decided to let him let him have the trailer next to me!!! I have a new faience and my 3 girls live in the trailer next to my ex!!! It cause problems from time to time! They have had there differences.. My faience just started a new job yesterday!!!! :))) My ex has threatened to kill me in front of my 8 year old!!! I want my kids to love their dad, but is hard for me and my ex to keep from saying anything bad!!

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      1. She knows how is!! She says I should have got more! I have told my therapist years ago and that along with my family is what lead to the divorce. the last time my family told not to say anything!!!

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  2. I think the verbal abuse was often times even worse than the physical for me. Much of what my Abuser told me about myself still resounds in my head from time to time and it feels like I am being torn down all over again. Powerful post!

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  3. I am a victim of Domestic Violence, for 13 years. All verbally and mentally abusive. I was with a man who is a severe Narcissis. in 13 years I tried to leave 15 times.. Finally was able to Feb. 2014 I thought it was my fault. We have children and it has affected them also the abuse…I am writing a blog now about my 13 year battle with myself and him.while trying to protect everyone. Even though I’m not with him, I still act as if I am. Hoping to help others. And thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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