Sometimes the Signs of Verbal Abuse Are Difficult to Spot
Verbal, emotional and mental abuse eats you alive from the inside out, usually due to the abuser’s instruction. Abuse victims are expected to be silent about the types of problems they have at home. Abusers want to project the happy family image at all costs because if their victim appears unhappy and shows the signs of verbal abuse, then the abuser suffers the embarrassment of not being able to satisfy you in the eyes of his adoring public.
Many, if not most, controlling, abusive people have an “adoring public” – they are well thought of at church, work, PTA, by the neighbors, and in the community at large. The abuser’s stature in society is often a secondary aspect of their control and fuels the abuser’s ability to isolate you. Who would believe you if you told about how he acts at home? If you thought, “No one” then your abuser has effectively isolated you to the point of despondency.
The thoughts and feelings victims of abuse often feel are cumulative, built on doubt and humiliation over time. Verbal abuse is sneaky, hidden in the words of someone who says he loves you. It takes a while, sometimes a long while, for victims to realize they have changed into a traumatized and pained shadow of their former selves.
There are some common signs and symptoms of verbal abuse and emotional abuse that victims share. They’re internal and unseen by any outsider the abuser brings near his “happy family”.
Symptoms of Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse
- You feel as if you are paraded about like a silent trophy when you attend group functions for his work or activities. You’re afraid to say much of anything when out with him for fear of later retribution for saying the wrong thing.
- You distrust your ability to make sound decisions for yourself or family; you go along with his poor decisions without much resistance.
- You feel uneasy or anxious much of the time; you may jump at small recognizable sounds or feel your heart pounding “for no reason”.
- You do not get excited over much of anything; if you are excited over a positive event, then that excitement doesn’t last long because you begin to wonder how to present the news to your abuser in order to get the best possible reaction from him.
- You think that you are crazy; you feel that you need professional help to overcome your deficiencies.
- Your internal voices are critical, judgmental, overpowering at times, and abusive; you hear the abusive words and phrases he speaks to you in your own internal dialogue.
- You keep telling yourself it will be better when he retires, the children are grown, he gets that promotion, he finishes that project, after lunch,…You continually wait for the “good times”.
- You believe that one day your abuser will realize how good of a wife or husband you’ve been and will be sorry; the abuser will do a complete 180 culminating in his/her admiration and support for you. This belief is compounded by the periods of “niceness” in which your abuser backpedals his negative behaviors for long enough to allow you to think “it’s different this time” (aka “the honeymoon period”).
Signs of Verbal Abuse, Emotional Abuse: Feeling Eaten Alive
Those signs and symptoms of verbal abuse and emotional abuse are what eat you from the inside out. No one in this world can know what you think or feel unless you tell them (telling your abuser doesn’t count – he doesn’t care). If you recognized yourself in the list of symptoms, then it is up to you to change your thinking because what you think is killing you.
You will stress your body and mind in ways so twisted that you no longer see his (her) abuse as stressful. Your abuser doesn’t have to work as hard to control you when you are preoccupied with thinking that you are good for nothing. If your abuser succeeds in turning your thoughts around to the point where you no longer blame him (the abuse) but instead blame yourself, then his work is a whole lot easier.
Chronic stress caused by verbal abuse or any kind of abuse can lead to or cause a number of physical diseases:
- Heart problems
- Immune system deficiencies
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stomach issues
- Sexual and reproductive problems
- Lung troubles
- Skin/Complexion issues
The symptoms of verbal abuse, emotional abuse will literally eat you alive. It’s your choice whether you allow that to happen or not. Your thinking patterns feed your biological disease, so the best thing to do is change what you think.
You cannot change your abuser, you can only change your Self.
How Do I Stop the Verbal Abuse? (Part 1)
Reach Out – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 2)
Educate Yourself – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 3)
Self Reliance – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 4)
Develop an Exit Strategy – How to Stop Verbal Abuse (Part 5)
How To Stop Verbal Abuse – Wrap-Up (Part 6 – final article in series)