Should You Forgive Verbal Abuse?

February 9, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

Is forgiving verbal abuse even possible? Learning to heal from verbal abuse is a unique journey that won't be identical to someone else's path. Each person will go through a series of stages as they work through their past and move forward. Your idea of healing may also differ greatly from what someone else believes is necessary. So, can you forgive verbal abuse, and do you have to so you can move past it? 

Do You Need to Forgive Someone for Verbal Abuse?

Verbal abuse can happen to anyone and come from strangers, acquaintances, or close friends and family members. While some people may associate forgiveness with moving on, it can be difficult to reach that point for other individuals. 

It's important to know that forgiveness is not the benchmark for healing from verbal abuse. Moving forward to a healthy, happy life with stable relationships is possible, even if you don't forgive your abuser. 

You may have people in your life who are genuinely sorry and have a plan to change their behavior. Yet, sometimes you may face an abuser who doesn't recognize their harmful actions. I used to think that I would never have peace in my life unless my abuser realized their harm and apologized so I could forgive them.  

Forgiving Verbal Abuse Isn't Forgetting

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you agree with verbal abuse. Forgiving someone who verbally abused you is a personal choice and not something anyone can make you do unless you want to. But, for some people, extending forgiveness to someone who verbally abused them is a critical step. There is no right or wrong answer regarding forgiving abusive behavior.

There was a time when I thought I could never forget the verbal abuse I endured. Therefore, I could never forgive my abuser or heal from my past. Thankfully, that wasn't accurate in my situation. 

Is It Possible to Forgive Verbal Abuse from an Abuser? 

Of course, the chance for someone to forgive their abuser of any verbal abuse is not easy or a simple task. I've talked to my therapist about forgiveness and my inability to heal from verbal abuse. I am fortunate to have family, friends, and professional therapists supporting my healing journey. 

I've learned that I may never be able to forgive my abusers for the verbal abuse they put me through. If the opportunity arises, it could be possible. However, I am not planning my healing journey contingent on my extending forgiveness. I know I can lead a happy life with healthy relationships that don't include verbal abuse. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, February 9). Should You Forgive Verbal Abuse? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 30 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

February, 28 2023 at 4:24 pm

Hello CH,
I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog at HealthyPlace. Thank you for sharing your account with verbal abuse and children. It can be hard to navigate when you first witness it happening. It takes a lot of courage to try and change a negative situation.
Youngsters often don't know how to act and look to adults for guidance, so I am glad you are working as a TA with these children.
I encourage you to visit our Resources page here:… for some ways to find assistance in your region. Even talking to someone can help you process your feelings and strategize a plan to approach the teacher. However, if that doesn't bring positive change, you may have to seek help from someone else at the school when approaching the subject.
I wish you and your entire classroom family health and wellness.

February, 25 2023 at 10:32 am

How do you recommend responding to a witness of verbal abuse in the classroom? I am a Kindergarten TA, the lead teacher's method to enforce non compliant instruction is to single out disobedient students and yell at them in front of the entire class. This has left many students in a puddle of tears. In my opinion, it must stop! I plan to speak with the teacher to inquire if there is anything I can do to assist. Do you have any recommendations on how to approach this subject?

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