Consequences of verbal abuse can creep up on anyone suffering abuse, causing severe and lasting effects. Verbal abuse in relationships begins slowly and then typically gets progressively worse, the abuse serving as a catalyst for dangerous psychological consequences for the victim. A verbally abusive relationship can cause a person to become plagued with depression, mood swings, lowered self-esteem, misplaced guilt, isolation, loneliness, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although these negative side effects may outlast the relationship itself, they are not generally permanent and can be treated and overcome completely. Continue reading to find out more about these seven consequences of verbal abuse.
Verbal Abuse in Relationships
Threats are abuse and are considered obvious signs of abuse in a relationship. After all, a threat is pretty easy to recognize, isn't it? Not always. Threats can be veiled with humor or hidden within an argument, but, if we dig a little deeper, the perpetrator's message is clear: If you don't do what I want, I'll make you regret it. Making any kind of threat in a relationship is a power play that seems obvious on the surface, but it can be difficult to spot. Threats are abuse, so how are threats hidden in seemingly normal relationships and how can we call them out?
Talking about verbal abuse isn't easy. Have you ever brought up the issue of verbal abuse in a conversation and instantly been met with an eye roll, groan, or grimace? If the answer is yes, you're not alone. People don't generally like to talk about verbal abuse and even less, be accused of verbal abuse, especially if you're using the words "verbal abuse." In this modern age of politically correct and technical language and the aversion that comes with it, how do we begin talking about verbal abuse, a rampant issue that affects nearly everyone at one point in their lives?
Knowing what to say to an emotional abuse survivor is tough – I get it. Having been on the receiving end of a lot of unsolicited advice both in and out of an abusive relationship, I know that people tend to say the wrong thing more often than not, and that's generally okay. Most of the time, our loved ones mean well; they just don't know what to say. It's not their fault, either. Topics like emotional abuse and coercive control are seldom discussed, and when they are discussed it's usually in the media, where victim blaming is very much alive and well. However, what you say to a friend or loved one in recovery from verbal abuse counts for a lot, so here's what not to say to verbal and emotional abuse survivors.
Victim blaming is alive and well. Last week, actress and model Chloe Dykstra posted a personal essay via Medium, detailing the emotional and sexual abuse of an ex-boyfriend. She didn't name the man explicitly, but it became clear to fans and the media that she was talking about Chris Hardwick of Nerdist fame, with whom she had a three-year relationship that ended in 2014. Hardwick has denied all culpability for the abuse, claiming he was "blindsided" and "heartbroken" by Chloe's essay. Let's look closer at the Chloe Dykstra/Chris Hardwick story, and why, in the age of #metoo, it's so easy for abusers, and the media, to automatically blame the victim.
Applying the five stages of grief to the loss of a relationship, yes, even an abusive relationship, can help you to understand what you're going through and to guide you through the process. Grieving the loss of a relationship is a complex, messy process, and grieving the loss of an abusive relationship may be especially confusing. When thinking about an abusive relationship ending, people may think, "Good riddance;" and while a good riddance may very well be in order, it is not that simple a summation (Three Things We Need to Understand About Grief). If you're grieving the loss of a relationship, here's how and why the stages of grief can help you through the process.
Being in love with your abuser is painful and confusing. On the one hand, you may fear for your sanity, your sense of identity, and possibly even your life. On the other, you cling to the times your partner is loving and thoughtful, and feel that you're too in love to ever leave. You know he sometimes makes you miserable, but what about the times he makes you happy? Being in love with your abuser you is not unusual, and there are, in fact, logical explanations for your feelings.
Love bombing is the single most effective gaslighting tactic there is and it's anything but romantic. If you haven't heard the term before, you can think of love bombing as a breadcrumb trail of compliments, gifts and expressions of love, all of which make you feel safe and valued at the start of a relationship. Sounds ideal, right? It sure feels that way in the beginning, but what if you're actually being groomed for verbal and physical abuse? Here's how to tell if you are being love bombed and why you should take shelter immediately.
If you're verbally abused at work, you may be surprised to learn that verbal abuse in the workplace is more common than you might think and it's a real problem. Not only is it detrimental to productivity, verbal abuse also undermines confidence and stunts career progression, leaving those affected feeling powerless. If you think you or a colleague are being verbally abused at work, read this for how to spot verbal abuse in your workplace, and what to do when it happens.
Trusting again after abuse in a relationship can be frightening, but there comes a time when you’ll want to open yourself up to others. You want to believe that the people you love won’t hurt you, but wasn’t trusting implicitly why you wound up being abused in the first place? Are you partly to blame for being susceptible to narcissists and perpetrators of abuse? This isn't a simple question to answer, but it is crucial to trusting again after abuse.