Inner Dialog Has a Profound Effect on Verbal Abuse Victims

April 20, 2022 Cheryl Wozny

Verbal abuse victims can have a negative inner dialog that will haunt them during abuse and long afterward. These prevalent thoughts are not theirs but come from their abusers and continue to destroy their self-esteem even as adults. My situation is challenging since I can still hear the negative words from my childhood, but they also correlate with verbal abuse from adult relationships. For myself, having similar experiences as a child and an adult reinforced the fact that I am not worthy and cannot make the best decisions or do the right things. 

Recognizing Your Abuse-Created Inner Dialog

You may not even realize how your inner thoughts affect your everyday life. Often, these subliminal ideas come and go quickly throughout the day, making it challenging to recognize if you are not aware of them. Therefore, the first step to healing from verbal abuse is recognizing your inner dialog so you can make adjustments as necessary. 

Do you put yourself down when you make mistakes? Maybe you are too hard on yourself when trying to complete a task. Does your inner dialog sound familiar, like something your abuser said to you previously? It is normal to be upset when you make mistakes or do something wrong. However, no one is perfect, and all of these situations are learning experiences rather than ways to beat yourself up mentally. 

Write It Down 

Attending years of therapy has provided me with several positive tools to help turn around my inner dialog. One of these methods is writing down my thoughts. Every time a negative thought comes into my head, I will write it down. Unfortunately, in the beginning, there were a lot of negative thoughts on my page. Thankfully, this is only the first part, and my therapist helped to minimize these as time went on. 

After compiling these negative thoughts, I was to examine each one individually and rate them on a scale from 0 to 100 on the probability of them being true. So, for example, if I wrote down, "I always forget to pay my phone bill," I would take time to see how many times I actually forgot. If it were only two times out of 10, it would be 20 percent true.

Not only does the visual list help me realize that these negatives are not as extreme as I once thought they were, but it is also a great way to recognize where I need to improve my daily tasks. So I do not pay a phone bill late any longer; I have reminders in my calendar that pop up if I forget. This way, I am enforcing the idea that I am not a failure at paying bills on time. Although it may still happen occasionally, I do not feel as overwhelmed or distraught when it does happen. 

Healing from a Poor Inner Dialog Caused by Abuse

No one is perfect, myself included. I will still make mistakes, and negative thoughts still pop into my head that are old and familiar. It takes a lot of work to turn this inner dialog around and realize that it is not who I am as a person, even if I made the wrong decision. 

Remember that every day is a new chance to change who you are and how you feel about yourself. If you had a bad day, you can lie down and wake up tomorrow with a different day. And if you cannot take it day by day, focus on it hour by hour. Even small steps like avoiding negative thoughts for an hour or two each day will slowly increase to half a day, then days, and even weeks. The healing process starts with a small step, but it can make a huge difference. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2022, April 20). Inner Dialog Has a Profound Effect on Verbal Abuse Victims, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 23 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

Leave a reply