Verbal abuse

@SViswan (12055)
India
June 24, 2011 4:35am CST
How does one handle verbal abuse? It's not happened to me often but whenever I see it is about to start or has started, I walk away. If I get really angry, I have no control over what I do or say and things can really blow up. So, I'd rather move away. A friend of mine (who I have mentioned in one of my other discussions) said that her husband is calling her and everyone around...names and saying really mean things. I count that as verbal abuse. She says that she is affected especially when the abuse is directed at her or her family. But it also affects her when he is talking that way about other people around them. He vents at home and the people he is abusing don't get to know but his wife and kids have to hear it all the time. I have to admit that I don't know what I would do in a similar situation because it's not one where I can really walk away from and ignore the person. Most of the times, my friend bottles it up..esp. if it is about people that do not concern her. But when his venom is directed to her and her family, she can't help but react. It's just so confusing for me because I really don't know how I would have handled it if I was in her position.
5 people like this
22 responses
• United States
24 Jun 11
For his safety, I would leave!Not only the room but the house. Because if I stay, I would kill him little by little. The more he shouts the less I do. And the more angry he gets , the less healthy he is. I will just let the stress kill him for me unless... he gets so upset he hits me. Then I will kill him myself. So the first time he yells at me, I say nothing , pack my things and leave.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
Hmmm...it's not really easy for her to do that. But in a way...that's exactly what is happening to her. It's eating into her...she's returning in kind ...sometimes subtly and sometimes not so subtly. But in the process....she's losing a bit of herself...there's no real relationship left...and the kids will be affected. But in our country/culture...it's easier said than done...and don't think the husband will let her off that easily.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jun 11
Here there is marriage counsels. A couple can meet with an psychologist and talk out the differences. Sometimes this is all that is needed and the couple can stay together. but some Still get divorced. It is hard when there is no divorce option. I wish her luck.
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
We have marriage therapists here too. But the husband isn't willing to try one. He says he knows what the problem is and it is the 'disobedience' of the wife!! My wife tried telling him that SHE needs help and she needs to see someone who can help her. She even got her father to intervene who said that being a family member he would be biased in his judgement and opinion...he didn't want to hurt either one of them and he suggested a marriage counsellor too...which made the husband very angry :-(
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@vandana7 (90262)
• India
26 Jun 11
I am one of those who resorts to verbal abuse. So I can express how it starts I guess. First there is infringement of some right or some injustice. I agree that core of any wrong reaction is that, but I am just stating how it occurs in my case. So somebody says something to me, and he or she knows it is hurting me, and still says it because it gives them perverted pleasure to do so. Because they are getting perverted pleasure, I give myself the liberty of thinking pervertedly about them. And when I get extremely annoyed with them the next time, it slips. And such language soon starts becoming common way to defend. From this end, let me tell you, fear of being hurt is the cause for usage of such language. A sense of powerlessness too when there is no other form of defense available - for example boss is somebody who is prejudiced and is unwilling to listen to facts because a person has been maligned by somebody who is envious of her.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Hmmm...but as you put it...you resort to verbal abuse when someone has done it to you and you are retaliating. What about the person who starts it with no provocation?
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Hmmm...I kind of get the gist of what your are saying. But I certainly would not enjoy being at the receiving end and would not even try to empathize with such a person(sorry). I can't take someone taking out their anger on me as a culmination of a chain of events lightly. I have days where everything seems to be going wrong and I am irritated and frustrated and might snap at the people around me. But I don't abuse people then and especially not my loved ones...though they might be the ones who are at the receiving end of my ire. And I certainly wouldn't take it lightly if my boss spoke to me that way. He/she might have a right to correct me, scold me, etc...but not use bad language. Maybe I'm lucky enough not to want a job that badly that I need to be forced to listen to such language and not retaliate. I usually am able to walk away when someone is angry and being mean. But a boss using bad language will be reported immediately even if I walk out. I suppose that's the reason I cannot empathize with such people because I am not that way and will not understand the thought process(right or wrong).
@vandana7 (90262)
• India
27 Jun 11
Would you say what I said to my maid as a verbal abuse? But she perceived it as such!!! So it is also relative. I dont normally use bad words. But when some perverted individual is trying to hurt me, I would. I would let the person make a nice black brew of it and become bad in eyes of somebody else in some other chain of events. That would help in maligning the person without much effort on my part. I dont have that kind of time. It is a calculated move SViswan, but as I said, aimed only at those who are being mean. I dont hurt innocents. That is a rule. Primarily because I think I am innocent most of the time.
• United States
26 Jun 11
Verbal abuse is actually both mental and emotional abuse. The mental aspect leads to the emotional, tearing down an individual mentally, making them believe themselves less worthy than others, that the abuser is doing them a great service by simply being near them, the emotional abuse comes next. Threatening to leave, then telling the abused one it is their fault for making the abusers feel that way, threatening self harm because of what the abused one has said or done...using verbal abuse toward others outside the family and those who do not hear the abuse, sets the stage for self blame of the abused, which the abuser 'sets up', after all, how could the abused listen to the things said about other people without being a terrible person in the first place. People who are verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive, have a very difficult time changing, it's worked for them for a long time and they usually see no need to change, after all, it's never their fault when a partner leaves, it's the partner who has failed. The one thing that has worked well for me is to simply state that while everyone is entitled to an opinion, I have the option to NOT listen to it and am exercising that option. When abuse has been directed at me, I tell the abuser that I am not property to abuse, that I will not accept it and if necessary I will leave or if it is my home, they will leave by force if needed. Self esteem is the greatest weapon an abused person can have, it is also the most difficult one to find and to hold onto. Since this is in reality about your friend's husband, I'd say she needs to seek out ways to build her self esteem and her willingness to stand tall. He may not wish to change but she can with or without his approval.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Thank you. I spoke to my friend about what you have written. But sometimes even her silence is a tool for him to use against her. I feel that he gets a sense of power when she seems helpless. He controls everything she does and I think they need to get help as soon as possible. But he is not willing to. He thinks he is doing the right thing and as long as his wife obeys him things will be fine. She tried telling him how it is affecting her and even if he doesn't, she might need help. He isn't willing to listen to that either...despite her father telling him the same thing. She is lost and confused and talking to me about it was her way of seeking help(I think)
• United States
28 Jun 11
Abusers rarely see themselves as such. The control they acquire and keep over others is what allows them to feel they are in control over themselves. The issue is hers, she can choose to stay and accept the abuse or she can choose to leave. What those who are outside fail to see is that the leaving is a process...one it appears she may be engaging in. Her speaking of her situation with you is also a way to affirm her right to self esteem, her right to free thought and action. Yet at the same time, she is comfortable in her situation of abuse, she knows what comes next, there is no unsurety for her. She will cling to this situation until she becomes sick and tired of being sick and tired. The simple fact that she can see the abuse is a heartening one...as long as she 'complains' she is moving,if she stops complaining then she will have acquiesced to her abuse. There is little you can do for her except encourage her in raising her self esteem and to speak about her feelings. The rest is up to her. Support is the most important thing you have to offer.
@SViswan (12055)
• India
28 Jun 11
Hmmm...I'll try to do the best I can. I feel sorry that such an intelligent, wonderful woman as her is reduced to this and her children are missing so much of the 'real' person she is because of this mess. I couldn't care less that her husband isn't going to get her love or respect and he is losing out on that too.
1 person likes this
@dpk262006 (58703)
• Delhi, India
25 Jun 11
Hi SV! Good post! It is not an easy task to handle verbal abuse. Either way you are in trouble. If you keep quite and do not retort, the other person keep abusing or keep calling names and if you retaliate the other person does not stop and use different kind of abuses. Having said that to my mind, keeping quite (say not responding) is slightly better option because the other person will stop shouting after sometime, s/he cannot keep on abusing ceaselessly. And also the other person does not come to know, what is going on in your mind, if you do not counter him/her. I think abusing someone verbally shows that the person is frustrated and feels insecure in his/her heart of hearts and tries to protect himself/herself by shouting or using the method of verbal abuse. It is a kind of insanity to my mind. Have a great day!
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Thank you, Deepak and I agree with you (though it's hard for me to follow that advice totally..lol). From what I understand, my friend usually is silent but it gets to her when he starts to abuse her parents and siblings....and she can't help but retaliate. She tells me that she is trying hard to be silent even then and do all the retorts in her mind (). To me, that sounded like a good tactic...but knowing that she adjusts a lot in that marriage and the least that she expects is to not abuse, I think it's a hard task.
@dpk262006 (58703)
• Delhi, India
7 Jul 11
It is really a hard task and no one likes to be absued. However, she can ignore verbal abuse because it is said that 'dogs keep barking' so whenever her hubby says something silly, she should recall this proverb.
@SViswan (12055)
• India
8 Jul 11
Oh dear...it's nothing 'silly'...and can hardly be termed that (from what I hear). My blood would certainly have boiled if those words would have been uttered to me...or about my family members.
@ptower76 (1616)
• United States
24 Jun 11
Verbal abuse hurts just as much if not more than physical abuse because this is a time when the abused individual feels the initial confusion of a victim. Many experts point out that physical abuse and domestic violence develop over time in a relationship and one of the first signs is verbal abuse. I would tell anyone that is experiencing verbal abuse that this is the time to get out of the relationship before it gets worse. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm Afterwords, if the abuser gets help and changes, perhaps an opportunity to rekindle the relationship can occur.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
24 Jun 11
Thank you so much for the link. I didn't realize it but lot of the signs that relate to abusers relate to my friend's husband. I didn't see it this way either. I see how much she has changed. I thought she is going to lose her mind and that's why I want to do what I can to help. This looks a lot more serious than I thought :-( I think it's already bad enough that she came out to speak to me.
@ptower76 (1616)
• United States
24 Jun 11
Seems to me her opening up and disclosing to you is her way of reaching out. Of course one must handle this situation carefully since she will probably still be in denial about the whole thing. As a friend present the information to her as if your researching it together with her and she is having a part in her education. You will see that she will begin to realize the gravity of her situation. Be there for her and don't pre-judge or let her see your sympathy. It may cause her to withdraw because she doesn't want to hurt you. Show empathy not sympathy. And good luck.
@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
Thank you...and you are right. I figured that out...what she wants is empathy and not sympathy.
@dtroas (481)
• United States
25 Jun 11
This is a very serious situation that I think a lot of people over look. I for one have had my fair share of verbal abuse in my life time. And it is a very hurtful thing to have to deal with. And if there is kids involved it is hard on the kids. I myself have always said that mental abuse at times is much worse then physical abuse. That is my opinion anyways. I have lived through both. That is how mine started was with verbal then that was not good enough. So then the physical came along. No man or women deserves any abuse. Walking away is the best. But in your friends cause look after here. Maybe try to talk her into going and getting help or talking to someone about it. This is not healthy for her or her children. My thoughts and prays are with her.
1 person likes this
@dtroas (481)
• United States
25 Jun 11
Sorry for some misspelling it should be case, and her.
@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
I understand what you said :-) Hers started with physical abuse and now verbal abuse has started. She tried telling him that they need to go in for marital counselling. He refused. She then said she is finding it difficult to handle things and that SHE needs help. She even got her dad to tell her husband that his daughter needs help. But he has refused that too:-( Thank you...she will need all the prayers that she can get.
@JenInTN (27516)
• United States
26 Jun 11
I wouldn't be able to live with it. It might hurt my feelings for a while..but there would come a point when I would be done with it. Life is too short to be treated badly and there is no way I'm going to deal with that.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
I can't be sure if I would deal with it or not. When I was a teenager, I would get mad at my mother when she would take out her frustrations on me. Besides shouting back at her, I had no other option and I had to live with it. At the time I didn't even realize mom was frustrated and taking it out on me. Looking back now I realize it...but that didn't help anything, did it. And now, my sister is at the receiving end. I can empathize with both of them...and find excuses for my mom's behaviour. But I still feel she needs to STOP...and address her issues in a different way without taking it out on my sister. My sister probably doesn't understand her frustrations either...and even if I explain the reasons for mom being that way, it's not going to make my sister's hurt go away.
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@aghiuta (525)
• Canada
25 Jun 11
I went trough that with my ex husband, lots of verbal and emotional abuse, in front of my daughters,I put up with it for a few years, then when the girls were old enough I left.The best move I did.One thing that your friend will end up doing will be to emotionaly disconnect,so what ever he says will not get to her.What you can do for her is to be there for her,let her vent,without judgement hearing oneself talk aloud about something bothersome,it might help clearify things. As long as the abuse does not become physical. Then it is really time to leave!
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
It was physical abuse at first. From what she says that has stopped now. It's only recently that she opened up to me...but I know she would be embarrassed to come to me every time if this is an almost daily occurrence. She is much better than I am at disconnecting but I think that the time she can't control is when he abuses her family (even when they aren't around) and talks about things that are not under her control. If she is silent that becomes a problem...because he wants a promise from her which she knows she cannot keep up. I think he's plain crazy!
@aerous (13452)
• Philippines
25 Jun 11
You know friend, words is powerful than the sword. There must a psychological examination on this particular things to know the reason why this person always talking that way... He needs some advice for not doing such things. Because that is a big impact with his family especially the kids...
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
HE has first agree for that. When he is against meeting a marriage therapist, he will definitely not see that he has a problem that needs to be addressed.
@ANTIQUELADY (36457)
• United States
25 Jun 11
It's very sad that your friend is having to put up w/that. I have never been very good at walking away when people are acting like that. I'm not saying i'm right to do this but i usually get my opinion back at them. Your friend's husband sounds like a big old bully & i never did like bullies.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Yes, my friend's husband is a bully too. I find it easier to walk away and I have done so quite a few times. But I'm not sure I will be able to to if it was my husband or my family doing it to me. It's not easy to really get out of there at that point of time and it's not easy for me to be around that person and ignore verbal abuse.
@macayadann (1235)
• Philippines
25 Jun 11
I, myself needs to fight back to defend myself and my reputation. I feel very much upset If I can not release the pressure built deep within me for bad actions done to me. Otherwise, if you will just keep silent, the man will always think that you are coward and you are accepting that what he is saying about you is true.We need to reason out,however,if the man is just playing tricks on me for he really knew the real score of his wrong doings or bad actions you will only have a hard time trying to justify yourself and so that is maybe the time to leave him alone in his crazy world and just do not mind him for he is really out of his mind.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
27 Jun 11
Hmmm....sometimes it's just so hard to walk away from such situations especially when it concerns a family member. But I have to say, my friend is a lot more patient than I am...and it takes a lot for her to re-act. She is trying her best to not retaliate and she says she loses her mind when she does. I don't think that's good either.
• United States
25 Jun 11
Verbal abuse is perhaps worse then physical abuse. Because you see pain fades but when someone is verbally abused that lodges in the brain and thoughts and not easy to forget. It has a tendency to lower the persons self esteem and they start to believe the verbal abuse as if it were their fault. It is difficult to get someone to change their ways if the are the abuser. The only thing I can suggest is that some form of family/friend intervention perhaps may help. Where all can come together and speak to the person about their actions. But one thing to keep in mind is that the person will feel offended and be on defense. The person themselves has to want to change for this to be effective. See no one can force a person to change their ways, and even some want to change at times they find it to be difficult and can't. I do wish your friend well.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
I feel that if it's an on off incident and not regular, it would be easier for the victim to understand and help the abuser. But when it becomes a regular affair, the victim tends to re-act and gets caught in the same web. My friend had first suggest marital counselling which she refused...she then said that she needs help and she needs to see a therapist...she even got her father to suggest the same thing. But her husband refused. The verbal abuse has been going on for so long that it is the norm and she and the kids think that's the way to be. It struck her recently that it's verbal abuse and she needs to do something about it.
@SIMPLYD (90948)
• Philippines
25 Jun 11
For me, verbal abuse is so much painful than physical abuse. The hurt it causes reaches your very being, that sometimes even an apology cannot erase it from your mind. Yes, when we get angry, we say words that we don't really mean. But it's too late when we have said them in a fit of anger. The hurt to the person where it is directed has already been caused. We can only regret and apologize.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
If it's not a regular thing, it will be much easier for me to handle and let go. But if it happens often enough and the smallest little thing is enough to trigger it, then there's a problem and I know I wouldn't be able to handle it even if I wanted to. And in that case, even an apology will not erase it.
@blue65packer (11830)
• United States
25 Jun 11
I was verbally abused by my father while growing up. I still suffer from it! It has taken me years to get over it and I still am not! I still get verbal abuse thrown at me but it is usaully when my bosses are venting on me! They will apopolize later and I know they really don't mean it! My confidence is still low thanks to memories of the verbal abuse and I don't know if I will ever get to the point where I will be completely over it! Part of the reason is I have been slow excepting it! That I am not the only one who goes through things like this and I am great at holding grudges! Verbal abuse is is bad as physical abuse!
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
It's easier to walk away from a boss who is verbally abusing you...and as you said...an apology kind of makes you feel better. But when it's a loved one and it happens often enough, it's hard to move away and takes much much longer (if ever) to heal.
• United States
25 Jun 11
Verbal abuse and emotional abuse are very powerful forms of abuse. They hurt just as much as physical abuse... maybe even more in the long run. Physical abuse hurts at the time and then you heal and it doesn't hurt anymoe, but the emotional abuse and the verbal abuse that lingers in the mind and heart stays for a lifetime... it can cause fear and anger. I say I wouldn't take it, but I took it as a child from my father.. I took physical abuse and verbal.. I was told I would never be anything in life... I became something and I showed him that I became something to be proud of. I don't think he was ever proud of me until then... I wouldn't take any kind of abuse now... I just am set in my ways and I don't have to take it and I won't. Whoever would try to abuse me would get told flat that they are out of line.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
I don't think my friend even realized till recently that she was being verbally abused. And her husband has the excuse that he just says it in anger....and doesn't really mean it. If she didn't have kids, she would have left in a jiffy. But now it's a little tricky and she is all confused.
@potrish78 (742)
• Philippines
24 Jun 11
When I saw the title of your discussion, it suddenly hit me. I have been a victim of this to a point where I had completely doubted my capabilities. My former boss used to say really mean things against me and how I handle my job. For two long years, I have been crying almost every single time. Odd as it may seem, this verbal abuses made me stronger. I never said anything against my former boss but I told myself that if there's anyone who is gonna up, it's you and not me. And that's how I was able to handle it. But it's different if you're getting it from a loved one. I really don't know if I can handle that situation either. Like you I always walk out just to prevent myself from saying things that I might regret later on.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
Oh my! I'm sorry that you were verbally abused by your boss. But as I said in the post, that's a situation easy for me to handle with silence. I would be hurt inside but it certainly wouldn't be as bad as a spouse or a parent going on about something every opportunity they got. There's just so many times that one can physically remove oneself from the situation when it's a loved one they are handling.
@Lakota12 (42605)
• United States
24 Jun 11
THink that you should tell her to walk away witht he kids and get the heck way away from him sorry but I see nothing good coming out of this and it might lead to other things
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
The kids! that's where the problem lies. If she does walk away with the kids, he can file a suit against her...that's what the lawyer told her...though she was also told that it's her word against his. But she doesn't want to put the kids through too much stress at this point.
@Aussies2007 (5336)
• Australia
24 Jun 11
It took me most of my life to figure it out. You can never change a bully. And if you stay with him, he will ruin your life. The only way is to pack your bags and move out. There is no other solution. When you leave, he will beg you to comeback. He will tell you that he will change for you. And as soon as you take him back, he will do it all over again.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
25 Jun 11
She's not as worried about him wanting her or not as much as how much it's going to affect the kids and how he will manipulate them to get his way. If she didn't have the kids, she would have walked out loooong back...that I am sure of. But now they will end up fighting over the kids or if she chooses not to, he might use the older child (he can't get custody of the younger one) against her.
@ElicBxn (62228)
• United States
24 Jun 11
If I were in her position... well, I wouldn't be long... but that's part of why I never got married, because I won't put up with that stuff.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12055)
• India
24 Jun 11
Good for you! I'm not sure if I would have put up with it or not. It could happen in subtle ways at first. And I've changed through the years. So many things I thought I would never do, I do now just coz it's easier that way. This could be one...but I can't say for sure.
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@megamatt (14310)
• United States
24 Jun 11
Verbal abuse tends to be a rather ugly situation. Often times, scars from physical abuse will fade, but there will be some psychological trauma that is going to be around from it. However verbal abuse is going to be a lot of times going to be a non stop stream psychological trauma. As when people tell us something, we think about it. However, abuse is the same way, our mind processes it and it is not healthy information to process for sure. There are going to be a lot of times where verbal abuse is going to sting a lot and some of it might have some true facts, but that does not make it hurt any less at all. In fact, the truth is going to hurt even more so when one really does think about it. The best thing to deal with it, is it just walk away from the person doing it. Granted, there are some people who are rather persistent with their verbal abuse. It is an ugly situation and one that gets overlooked, but it is a pressing situation to say the very least. A scary world that we live in in many ways.
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@SViswan (12055)
• India
24 Jun 11
Yes, I tend to walk away too. But I was wondering if it's a family member or spouse doing the abusing and it was a regular affair, it's hard to walk away,isn't it?