When a person is physically abused you can see the bruises, the scars, the black eyes or broken bones. When a person is abused verbally, there are no visible scars. The wounds are deep emotional ones and they’re invisible. That doesn’t make them hurt any less. Being demeaned and told that you’re worthless and unloved is a terrible feeling. Verbal abuse is tricky, because the abuser doesn’t start out abuser most of the time. They are skilled with words and often make their partner feel good at first. Then they start in with the abuse after getting their partner to trust them. There are also many different forms of abuse that fall under the category of verbal abuse.
One form of abuse that is difficult to pinpoint is when the abuse is masked as a joke. For example the abuser makes fun of their partner for being over weight. When their partner says that this hurts their feelings, the abuser claims that they were just joking and tells the person to stop making such a big deal about it. This kind of guised humor devalues the abused person’s feelings and makes them feel unheard.
Another factor with verbal abuse is that often the family members of the abused don’t know what is going on. When the abused person tries to reach out to their family for help, the family may not believe them. The abuser is so good at covering their tracks, not showing their true colors as it were. That’s why getting help when you’re being verbally abused can be difficult. Who do you reach out to for help? All you want is for someone to believe you. It’s so hard to figure out who that person could be. Seeking help can be a hard step to take but, once you take that action, you’ll begin to see your own internal power.
The first way to fight back against verbal abuse is to remove the abusers power: words. Remember that the words they are slinging at you are not indicative of your self-worth. They are dealing with their own internal demons and projecting them onto you. It’s hard not to take their words as the absolute truth, but they are not true. They might feel real and true, but they are not who you are.
Abusers are extremely manipulative and know your weaknesses. They will tease them out of you and use them against you. Let’s say you’re insecure about yourself in social situations. Your abuser might make fun of how much awkward you are in social situations, because they know that makes you feel badly about yourself. Abusive partners look for what makes you feel badly and prey upon that. Remember that when they are trying to make you feel awful about yourself.
Make it less about their abuse and more about how you can strengthen your sense of self. Before you got into a verbally abusive relationship, there were things about yourself that you valued. In order to break the chains of this abuse it’s time for you to remember what those attributes are. What makes you a unique and beautiful person? And when those vicious words are being thrown at you, shield yourself with the self-love.
Remember: you are not a victim, you are a survivor.
Are you being verbally abused? You can reach out for help. Contact Safe Horizon: https://www.safehorizon.org/