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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Love: Living in Fear...How to Cope?

Jewel of wisdom du jour: It's hard to look for the light...when you're lost in darkness.

This week we're going to begin our series on abuse of various forms. To begin, let's get the actual definition of the term abuse.
  1. to use wrongly or improperly, misuse
  2. to treat in harmful, injurious, or offensive way
  3. to speak insultingly, harshly or unjustly to or about, revile, malign
So with the term abuse now clearly defined, let's take a look at some of the more common forms of abuse which are Verbal; which is closely linked to emotional/psychological abuse, as well as Physical abuse; which can include sexual abuse. (Unfortunately, we won't be able to discuss EVERY single form of abuse).

In this piece, we're going to begin addressing verbal abuse and how it's closely related to the emotional scars we find in so many people.

Verbal abuse while being one of the more common forms of abuse is rarely taken as seriously as is physical abuse; although it should be. Verbal abuse is characterized by harsh speech that is designed to make the receiver feel low self-worth and or inferiority. This is done through negative or overly sarcastic comments, belittling or demeaning speech, name calling, yelling, and or threatening statements.

  1. Verbal abusers will usually attack their partners through angry outbursts or through blame or accusatory speech, which is aimed at confusing the attacked. It can also be soft/subtle coercion into doing what the abuser wants their partner to do without them even realizing it.
  2. Verbal abuse is a manipulative and controlling behavior. Aimed at eroding one person's self-esteem so that they're dependent upon the abuser.
  3. The unpredictable nature of verbal abuse is a huge problem for those suffering from it. The fact that they never know when a verbal tirade may be on the horizon keeps them on edge and even forces them to believe that they're own behavior is the cause for their partner's outbursts and treatment of them.
  4. Verbal abuse usually escalates in frequency, variety, and intensity the longer it goes on. It tends to start out as little put-downs disguised as jokes and can eventually lead to full verbal barrages intended on striking fear into the person on the receiving end.
Verbal abusers tend to have insecurities within themselves or doubts of adequacy which they tend to impress on others in yet another attempt to control their partner, and make themselves feel better all at the same time.

What most people tend to forget is that words can hurt just as much as physical acts can. People who believe the old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will NEVER hurt me"....have obviously never been verbally abused. When someone is verbally abused it often feels like a punch in the face!

However, most if not all abusers will categorically deny that they are abusive and then it becomes the responsibility of the abused to recognize the abuse as quickly as possible because if left unchecked it can lead the abused into depression to grow. Next week we'll talk about some steps that anyone can take to be proactive against the effects that can be brought on by verbal abuse.

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