Thursday Thought — Is Verbal Abuse Really Abuse?
“I wouldn’t really call what he does ‘abuse.’ I mean, it’s not like he hits me or anything.”
Have you ever found yourself saying something along these lines? Many people believe that “abuse” only refers to physical beatings, the kind where the man leaves the woman with bruises on her body and swollen eyes. And they are badly mistaken.
Verbal abuse takes a huge toll on a woman, especially when it is combined with other injurious behaviors, such as controlling her or cheating on her. The put-downs, the humiliation, the ridicule — all of these can attack a woman’s soul deeply, sometimes more deeply than assaults do.
What are the key messages that verbal abuse sends you? His vicious words tell you that you are beneath him. He sends the message that you have no value. His insults and rejection work to convince you that you are not worthy of love. His verbal attacks teach you that everything you do is wrong. His arrogance and demanding treatment make you feel stupid and incompetent.
Tearing apart a woman’s identity in this fashion can be every bit as wounding as pounding her with fists.
There is good reason why you feel emotionally injured. The problem is not that you are “too sensitive.” Verbal abuse is one of the most toxic forms of human mistreatment. There is no excuse for the way he talks to you.
[Entry from Lundy Bancroft’s Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?* p110-111]