Victim Shaming with Verbal Abuse Victims
For some victims of verbal abuse, like myself, speaking out helps the healing process. Telling your story of verbal abuse is not only therapeutic, but it can give you back your power. Finding your voice can be a vital aspect of moving forward. Unfortunately, not everyone is receptive to hearing your story; and some individuals may go so far as to try and silence you with victim shaming when you talk about the verbal abuse.
Gaslighting Is a Common Form of Victim Shaming
Gaslighting is a term that is being used more often with victim shaming. This type of manipulation comes in many forms. I have heard some of these from family and friends after telling my story:
- That never happened.
- You are overreacting.
- He never did that.
- It wasn't that bad.
- You are just doing this for attention.
For a while, after telling my story and receiving many disparaging remarks, I began to retreat. I questioned my decision to speak up. I withdrew from my family and friends, hiding and afraid of anymore backlash. If it wasn't true or as bad as I thought, why do I feel so bad about the abuse I suffered?
Different Forms of Victim Shaming
Victim shaming comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be a text message from a friend asking why I would let it happen for as long as it did. Or it could be that email about how I was a happy child, and it couldn't have happened because when they saw my family, we were completely fine. It could also be full of anger and come as a phone call telling me that I am ruining the family and hurting my children for telling my story. Maybe it is a message attacking your support system by saying that a professional counselor would never advise that telling your story this way is right.
It has taken me a long time to realize that the abuse I suffered was real. It did happen, and it was wrong. It is not my job to try and convince anyone otherwise. If some individuals do not believe that those situations happened to me, it is their issue to work through, not mine. Many people will still be in denial, and there is nothing you can do to change that fact.
Moving Forward from Victim Shaming Over Verbal Abuse
I have lost so much over the last few years in terms of friendships and family connections. But in retrospect, I have gained so much more. I have found my voice, my strength, and my desire to finally find happiness in my life. Telling my story has helped me process everything that has happened to me, learn from it, and how to deal with my own issues that stem from years of verbal and other forms of abuse.
I am not immune to the fact that my experiences are my own. My abusers will have relationships with other people that are completely different than mine. They could have perfectly healthy relationships with other people, but that does not mean that my abuse is fake or did not happen. My maturity has allowed me to recognize that abusers will treat people in contrasting ways, which only solidifies the chances of outsiders not believing my story.
With extensive counseling and on-going support, I am slowly healing. I can see now who should belong in my support circle and who is not. I am carefully and deliberately making choices to aid in my growth so I can move forward from my past. I want my children and anyone else to see me as someone who has taken the steps necessary to heal properly and help others find their voice, no matter how hard it can be.
You do have the strength within you, and there are support systems to help you with your healing. Stay strong and hold fast to your story, no matter what victim shaming you experience after verbal abuse.
Wozny, C. (2021, March 11). Victim Shaming with Verbal Abuse Victims, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2021/3/victim-shaming-with-verbal-abuse-victims