The Relationships with My Past Verbal Abusers

November 9, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

Anytime a relationship includes verbal abuse, there are complications. The dynamics between individuals involving power and respect will skew, making it challenging to recover. Although some relationships can bounce back using therapy and adjusting to corrective behaviors, others will not. Relationships with verbal abusers will always be challenging.

Can You Heal Verbally Abusive Relationships?

In a perfect world, everyone will have the opportunity to heal their verbally abusive relationships. However, healing isn't always possible, even when it's vital for better mental health. Unfortunately, I've had more than one relationship, which included verbal abuse. I quickly realized that each situation was unique and required an individual approach to healing the relationship. 

Some methods I used in my healing journey away from verbal abuse included: 

  • Acknowledging and bringing awareness to the verbal abuse
  • Avoiding retaliation
  • Using clear boundaries 
  • Eliminating verbal and physical contact with abusers

As I got better at setting boundaries and demanding respect for myself, these abusive relationships changed. While some became better, others soon dissolved when the abuser refused to acknowledge the problem. I used to blame myself when I couldn't save a relationship I considered essential to my life. After much work, I know now that I have no control over what other people say or do, only my own thoughts and actions. 

Not All Relationships with Verbal Abusers Can Be Saved

Ideally, everyone should treat others with respect and avoid using verbal abuse. However, in some situations, the verbal abuser isn't willing to see the harm they cause, making it unhealthy to continue with the relationship. This dynamic holds true with some of my past relationships that harbored verbal abuse.  

When looking back on my past relationships with verbal abusers, I've had to handle each one separately as I slowly healed: 

  • One relationship completely dissolved. 
  • One relationship is awkwardly cordial when seeing each other in a public setting.
  • One relationship has healed and continues to be a resource as I still recover from verbal abuse.

Although I couldn't salvage all of these relationships, I haven't failed. I am a better person for setting clear boundaries and valuing self-respect over an unhealthy connection with my abusers. 

At times, I wish I could have a better relationship with those who have hurt me. I've learned through my years of therapy I need to grieve the relationships I wish I had but never received. I have to let go of the fantasy that my abusers in the past will change for the better.

Each day, I slowly feel better about my choices in my past verbally abusive relationships. I use these building blocks I've learned to create new connections without verbal abuse for a better future. I may never be finished healing from verbal abuse, but I'm hopeful for the years ahead without it. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, November 9). The Relationships with My Past Verbal Abusers, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 20 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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