Verbal and emotional abuse are not beasts that take form physically but do so mentally. They are forms of abuse and cause psychological harm. The abusers sharp, and sometimes subtle words, actions and behaviours dig their claws in and entrench deep into the brain leaving lasting mental scars. Research demonstrates that the long-term effects of verbal and emotional abuse can be just as devastating, if not more so, than the long-term effects of physical violence.
An abusers crazy-making and brainwashing can change you from a vibrant, independent person into a hopeless pawn. Your life disappears. You disappear.
What is Verbal & Emotional Abuse?
Although verbal and emotional abuse overlap, they also have two different, distinct characteristics:
Verbal Abuse: an abuser uses language, speaks aggressively and forcefully criticises, insults and condemns the victim. It is a destructive form of communication intended to harm the self esteem of the victim and it produces negative emotions.
Emotional Abuse: also known as psychological abuse or mental abuse, on the other hand, can be harder to recognise because an abuser uses hurtful tactics to manipulate and mistreat the victim. Emotional abuse can also stem as a result of verbal abuse.
The Effects of Verbal & Emotional Abuse
The effects of verbal abuse and emotional abuse intertwine because verbally abusive statements play on the victims emotions.
“It is the put-downs, name calling, insults, belittling and critical statements that have the most serious and long-lasting effect on self-esteem as these messages keep repeating in a person’s mind, years after the bruises have healed.”
‘Your sense of self-worth shrinks so much that you no longer dare to challenge what is being said about you. You believe in the stories that are being told. Unfortunately, most of them are not true to begin with. It is possible that the abuser has an inferior complex to begin with, and a web of lies is spun to control your behaviour and for his or her own selfish motives’ (Reference: Evelyn Lim)
Verbal and emotional abuse instils and reinforces fear. However, victims may deny or are unable to recognise their feelings/anxiety as being a fear of the abuser. When the victim feels kindness or love from the abuser, they know that it is short-lived and abuse will reoccur, and live in a constant state of hyper-awareness, watching for clues of impending abuse and find it difficult to trust the smile of someone they love, and that is a very big deal. (Reference: Kellie Holly)
Is this how we want our loved ones to feel?
Recognising Verbal & Emotional Abuse
Until you are able to recognise the signs of verbal and emotional abuse, you will continue to suffer the damaging effects in your life, because you will, and maybe unknowingly, allow people to continually treat you sub standardly. I’ve done some research and I’ve found two great articles by the same author, Ann Pietrangelo, to help you recognise verbal and emotional abuse.
- How to Recognize the Signs of Mental and Emotional Abuse
- What Is Verbal Abuse? How to Recognize Abusive Behavior and What to Do Next
Lastly and most importantly do not be afraid to seek professional help and support
Do not be afraid to ask for assistance from supportive family members and friends too. You need time to heal and getting support is crucial. You have the choice to make things right for you.
Your future is bright; do not let anyone take that away from you. The world needs your light, keep shining 🙂 x