If you don’t know how to answer this question, then you probably are.
Abuse comes in many forms. Though what most will think of when they hear “abuse” is bodily harm, it is not the only form of abuse that one may suffer.
There is also verbal abuse. Though verbal abuse doesn’t leave visible scars, it does most certainly leave emotional scars and these scars could last a lifetime if support isn’t obtained. Verbal abuse is what this article is about. Other forms of abuse will be discussed in future articles.
Let’s talk a bit about the verbal abuse. Are you always being put-down by your partner, being called stupid, useless, no good, or something comparable to these slanderous remarks? If so then you are being verbally abused.
Now let’s look at this in a normal situation...you are in the middle of a heated argument with your partner and he calls you an idiot and says you couldn’t find your way out of a paper bag! Is that verbal abuse? Well no, that is unfortunately just anger spouting off. But when this sort of talk is common in the household then we have a case of verbal abuse.
Results of continuous verbal abuse can be devastating. Even though hopefully you know that you are none of these things, after years of being abused this way your abuse takes its toll on you. Somehow your brain takes in this repetitious defamation and it somehow begins to believe what it is hearing.
If you don’t receive help resolving this false conception of yourself, then you are going to have trouble with any future relationships you may encounter.
For example, let’s say that you are fortunate enough to find a wonderful new partner, one who sees you for who you really are. He sees you as the intelligent and talented person that you are. Shouldn’t this put everything right in your world now? Yes it should but remember you have been hearing nothing but negative things about yourself for a very long time. Are you going to immediately realize that the abuser was wrong about you? Are you going to immediately accept any and all good comments from your new partner? I wish I could tell you that you will but in the real world this is doubtful. You are going to have a difficult time believing some of these wonderful compliments that are coming from your new partner.“Why is he telling me that I am pretty when I know that I’m not? What is he up to”? Why is he telling me that my poems are really good when I know they are only mediocre? Guess he just doesn’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me the truth.”
Eventually things will become clearer for you. When the abuser is out of your life you will begin to find out who you are but don’t plan on it happening overnight. It takes time to see yourself in the mirror again, the real you, that is.
You will need to be upfront with your new partner. They need to know what has happened to you in the past if you expect them to understand why your behavior is odd at times, why you say “yeah, right” when they offer you a compliment. If they don’t know what you have been through they won’t understand your responses. They will just think that you don’t respect or appreciate yourself and so why should they?
In time, with the help of family and friends you will be able to pick yourself back up, dust off and get on with life in the way that it was intended for you knowing that you are a good person.
If you feel that counseling would be the best therapy for you then by all means find a good one and let them help you to come back to the “real” you.