When Speaking Up Against Verbal Abuse Doesn't Work

December 15, 2022 Cheryl Wozny

Speaking up against abuse can be especially difficult for anyone who has been a victim of repeated verbal abuse. Although I find it easy to be the voice for others when I see an abusive situation, it's entirely different for me. I have often faced circumstances when I knew I should have said something and defended myself but could not find my voice. I still struggle to have the same strength I give to others vulnerable to abuse

When Speaking Up Against Verbal Abuse Doesn't Work: Gaslighting 

I recognize many situations from my past that were riddled with verbal abuse. In many of these instances, I did speak up, only to have the abuser ignore my feelings or request to stop the behavior. Years later, I wonder if this disregard when I was brave enough to speak up has chipped away my confidence to continue to be strong for myself. 

One time in my life stands out to me, and I can now see how it affected my perception as the years went on. With the birth of my third child, I had carefully chosen the baby's name with my two older children's help. I was excited and proud to introduce my new little one to the family. 

Unfortunately, one of my parents didn't like my baby's name and refused to call it by its given name. Instead, they would introduce my child to friends and neighbors as someone entirely different. And although I always persisted that it wasn't my baby's name, I was ignored and disregarded

These friends and neighbors would laugh and say it was just a joke, but this behavior that ignored my child's given name continued for over a year. I eventually gave up trying to get my parent to understand how rude this behavior was. Therefore, I would just follow their inaccurate introduction with a simple comment that it was incorrect and reintroduce my child correctly. 

Tired of the Struggle of Speaking Up Against Verbal Abuse

I realize now that there are some situations where I am ready and willing to speak up for myself when someone isn't treating me properly. However, it continues to be an issue for me in circumstances where I repeat myself only to be ignored or disregarded. 

At this point in my life, I am tired of the struggle against abusers. If I must repeat my request for respect from someone, I will often stop trying and move forward without interacting further with them. I don't want to waste any more time with someone who won't treat me the way I deserve. 

Walking Away for My Mental Health 

Although it may sometimes seem like I am running away and avoiding circumstances that can be abusive, this survival tactic has helped me build my supportive inner circle. Consequently, I no longer include individuals who are harmful to my self-esteem and damaging to my mental health. 

I am slowly finding peace in my life where I don't have to face verbally abusive situations often. Although they still come up occasionally, I surround myself with people who don't rely on verbal abuse to navigate their relationships. 

If you have a difficult time with verbal abuse from others, it may be time to start re-evaluating those you keep in your life and how to make better connections with people who can support your mental health. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2022, December 15). When Speaking Up Against Verbal Abuse Doesn't Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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