The Hard Side of Verbal Abusive Recovery
Recovering from verbal abuse can be a challenging journey, even if the abuse is in your past. For myself, even decades after I distanced myself from those who are verbally abusive, I can become triggered by others who may not be intentionally abusive, but I interpret it as so.
Knowing the difference between actual verbal abuse and other behaviors that may not be ideal can help the healing process. Although sometimes you end up taking two steps forward and one step back during the journey, one critical thing to remember as you move through life is that those steps backward are okay and will become fewer and farther between as time goes on.
Verbal Abuse Recovery Can Seem Like It Isn't Happening at All
Recently, there was a situation in my home where I became significantly upset because of circumstances that day. Again, these actions were not abusive, but I did feel my anxiety and fear rise up quickly until I became so upset that I had to leave the room.
At that time, my phone rang, and it was one of my closest friends calling to ask me a simple question. Immediately, she knew I was distraught and started to talk me through it. As a result, my anxiety was short-lived, and I was able to calm myself down before bed that evening, but not without extreme feelings of guilt and shame.
I had inadvertently lashed out at my family as my anxiety skyrocketed and came to a boil. I knew this would culminate sooner or later since I started seeing signs of high stress last week. Unfortunately, I tried to ignore them and push them aside as I went through the following days. Instead of stopping and listening to my body and going through my recovery techniques, I let it boil over until my physical body could not take any more.
Now, I know there are signs ahead of time, and I know what to do when I recognize them. The problem for me is stopping and actually doing these techniques. When I lash out after learning better ways, I become overwhelmed with guilt and shame and retreat.
How to Move Forward in Verbal Abuse Recovery
One thing I find helps my healing journey is to tell those around me when I am stressed or having a bad day. This does not mean they have to cater to my needs or treat me in an extra-special way. On the contrary, I want them to be aware of my heightened state of anxiety. This knowledge can help them and me as I try to work through the issues I have currently.
I know I should not feel bad for not being perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has bad days. It is how you deal with the aftermath that is important. If you yell or become upset at your family, speaking to them later to apologize and talk about your situation is helpful for you and them.
Be Gentle and Compassionate with Yourself in Verbal Abuse Recovery
One task I quickly forget is being gentle and compassionate with myself, especially during those hard days. We need to start treating ourselves as we would our loved ones. For example, if your child makes a mistake, you would not criticize them and allow them to feel shame, so why would you do that to yourself?
If you have bad days where you end up taking a step backward and feel looming anxiety or guilt, it is possible to turn it around. You must remember that even if you stumbled back on your healing journey, you have come forward with so many more steps. The path to an emotionally healthy life is long and, unfortunately, is not a straight line. You will have setbacks and veer off the course occasionally, but getting back on track becomes easier after practice.
Wozny, C. (2021, November 11). The Hard Side of Verbal Abusive Recovery , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2021/11/the-hard-side-of-verbal-abusive-recovery
Author: Cheryl Wozny
So well written and filled with so much truth! The "non-visible" aspects of verbal abuse are far-reaching, this also goes for recovery. It's so important to remember that compassion and gentleness when we are in that recovery process (truly, all times but especially in recovery). Thank you for sharing!