Understanding and Addressing Verbal Abuse: A Story of Healing and Growth
Verbal abusers often suffer from low self-esteem and feel like children trying to prove their worth. They put others down to boost their own self-esteem. Many abusers have an unconscious need to be seen as perfect and fear criticism as it threatens their sense of approval. Verbal abusers may have grown up in homes with verbally abusive parents and are expressing their anger in the same way. Some abusers may have mental illnesses like narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and require professional help to break the pattern of abuse. Understanding and Addressing Verbal Abuse
Understanding and Addressing Verbal Abuse
Understanding the Abuser
This article delves into the psychological makeup of individuals who engage in verbal abuse. It explains that most verbal abusers suffer from low self-esteem and are not as confident or self-assured as they may appear. Deep inside, they feel like children trying to prove their worth and boost their own self-esteem by putting others down.
Verbal abusers often have an unconscious desire to be seen as perfect. They believe that social approval requires perfection, and any criticism jeopardizes their sense of worth. As a result, they explode at the slightest criticism, fearing that it diminishes their value. Winning arguments becomes crucial for them because acknowledging their imperfections would mean acknowledging their greatest fear—that they are worthless.
Many verbal abusers grew up in homes with verbally abusive parents and mimic their behavior. However, their anger is often directed towards their spouses, exacerbating the problem. Resolving the issue requires addressing the broader challenge of managing anger effectively. In some cases, mental illness or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may contribute to the pattern of verbal abuse, necessitating professional intervention.
Believing in the Worth of Your Partner
Behind every verbally abusive individual is a person of value. Despite their hurtful behavior, the spouse retains inherent worth and bears the image of God. It is crucial to remember the positive qualities that attracted you to your spouse before marriage and the tender moments you shared. By acknowledging the presence of the loving and caring individual they used to be, you can encourage them to rediscover their true self.
Expressing your belief in your partner’s potential can have a profound impact. By reminding them of the good qualities they possess and the person they genuinely want to be, you provide them with the affirmation they desperately need. Sharing your memories and expressing your unwavering faith in their ability to change can inspire them to work towards personal growth.
Sharing Your Own Feelings
When faced with verbal abuse, it is important not to ignore the emotional impact it has on you. Instead of retaliating with your own abusive words, acknowledge the pain you feel and seek help. By sharing your wounded feelings with your spouse and discussing them openly, you make them aware of the deep hurt they cause. While this may initially lead to further abuse, it can ultimately contribute to the healing process.
Expressing your pain and the need for external support is essential. By communicating your decision to seek help, you establish boundaries and emphasize the severity of the situation. This may prompt your spouse to reconsider their behavior and potentially join you in seeking professional assistance.
Agreeing on a Strategy
Once the issue of verbal abuse is addressed, it is crucial to develop a strategy for responding to future incidents. Ideally, this strategy should be established together with your spouse, either through open dialogue or with the guidance of a counselor. However, if your spouse is unwilling to participate, it becomes necessary to devise your own strategy and communicate it to them.
By calmly and assertively sharing your decision, you outline the steps you will take to protect yourself. For example, you may communicate that you will take time away from the relationship whenever your spouse becomes verbally abusive. By removing yourself temporarily and allowing them to reflect on their actions, you emphasize the gravity of the situation. Consistently following through with this strategy helps break the cycle of abuse.
Practicing the Power of Love
Taking responsibility for your own attitudes is fundamental when facing verbal abuse. Refusing to believe the negative messages from your spouse is essential, as you must affirm your own worth despite their hurtful words. By recognizing that verbal abuse stems from the abuser’s low self-esteem and ineffective anger management, you can respond in more constructive ways.
Maintaining control over your emotions is crucial. Although hurt, anger, or apathy may tempt you to give up
, responding with kindness and respect can make a difference. Simultaneously, hold the abuser accountable for their actions by establishing and reinforcing the boundaries you have set. Love, in this context, means caring for the other person’s well-being while safeguarding your own emotional and mental health.
Taking the High Road in Iowa: Dale’s Story
Dale, a farmer from Iowa, struggled with his wife’s constant criticism and verbal attacks. He felt deep emotional pain but also sought to understand the root causes behind his wife’s behavior. Through counseling, Dale discovered that his wife’s words triggered childhood feelings of inadequacy and reminded him of the criticism he faced growing up.
With this newfound awareness, Dale began working on his own emotional healing. He acknowledged that his primary love language was words of affirmation, and the lack of it contributed to his deep hurt. Armed with this understanding, he started expressing his needs and communicating the impact of his wife’s words.
Though his journey was challenging, Dale continued to believe in his wife’s better self. He affirmed her worth and expressed his faith in her ability to change. Over time, their relationship began to improve as they both worked on their emotional well-being and cultivated a healthier dynamic.
Dale’s story demonstrates the power of empathy, self-reflection, and communication in overcoming verbal abuse. By understanding the underlying causes, taking responsibility for one’s emotions, and working towards positive change, it is possible to transform a relationship marred by hurtful words into one marked by love, respect, and understanding.