The Hard Side of Verbal Abusive Recovery

November 11, 2021 Cheryl Wozny

Recovering from verbal abuse can be a challenging journey, even if the abuse is in your past. For myself, even decades after I distanced myself from those who are verbally abusive, I can become triggered by others who may not be intentionally abusive, but I interpret it as so. 

Knowing the difference between actual verbal abuse and other behaviors that may not be ideal can help the healing process. Although sometimes you end up taking two steps forward and one step back during the journey, one critical thing to remember as you move through life is that those steps backward are okay and will become fewer and farther between as time goes on. 

Verbal Abuse Recovery Can Seem Like It Isn't Happening at All

Recently, there was a situation in my home where I became significantly upset because of circumstances that day. Again, these actions were not abusive, but I did feel my anxiety and fear rise up quickly until I became so upset that I had to leave the room.

At that time, my phone rang, and it was one of my closest friends calling to ask me a simple question. Immediately, she knew I was distraught and started to talk me through it. As a result, my anxiety was short-lived, and I was able to calm myself down before bed that evening, but not without extreme feelings of guilt and shame

I had inadvertently lashed out at my family as my anxiety skyrocketed and came to a boil. I knew this would culminate sooner or later since I started seeing signs of high stress last week. Unfortunately, I tried to ignore them and push them aside as I went through the following days. Instead of stopping and listening to my body and going through my recovery techniques, I let it boil over until my physical body could not take any more. 

Now, I know there are signs ahead of time, and I know what to do when I recognize them. The problem for me is stopping and actually doing these techniques. When I lash out after learning better ways, I become overwhelmed with guilt and shame and retreat. 

How to Move Forward in Verbal Abuse Recovery

One thing I find helps my healing journey is to tell those around me when I am stressed or having a bad day. This does not mean they have to cater to my needs or treat me in an extra-special way. On the contrary, I want them to be aware of my heightened state of anxiety. This knowledge can help them and me as I try to work through the issues I have currently. 

I know I should not feel bad for not being perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and has bad days. It is how you deal with the aftermath that is important. If you yell or become upset at your family, speaking to them later to apologize and talk about your situation is helpful for you and them. 

Be Gentle and Compassionate with Yourself in Verbal Abuse Recovery

One task I quickly forget is being gentle and compassionate with myself, especially during those hard days. We need to start treating ourselves as we would our loved ones. For example, if your child makes a mistake, you would not criticize them and allow them to feel shame, so why would you do that to yourself? 

If you have bad days where you end up taking a step backward and feel looming anxiety or guilt, it is possible to turn it around. You must remember that even if you stumbled back on your healing journey, you have come forward with so many more steps. The path to an emotionally healthy life is long and, unfortunately, is not a straight line. You will have setbacks and veer off the course occasionally, but getting back on track becomes easier after practice. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2021, November 11). The Hard Side of Verbal Abusive Recovery , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 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

jo thompson
March, 25 2022 at 6:14 am

i applaud you on your surviving, and thriving,, etc.
my experience is similar but id say a severeity all its own or at least unique, the term that i found the definition of first by accident, that best describes it in one nice neat phrase would be "pyschological warfare" not joking.......
and call me crazy but i want to share for the sake of anyone else having maybe a similar thought that i had that i used as meaning to madness and that got me to the following understanding
its a huge thing to enure/take on, or just do, i guess that i didnt fully grasp till knee deep in the midst of it, and that is this
being experiencing or waht ever best describes it. multiple roles simultaneously that are so seperate by their definittions, one that isnt of a certain sanity or insanity should not attempt as its nearly maddening when you (the abuse victim) start down the path of repairing creating, forming, healing, mitigating mediating advocating and also havuing to actively observe the entire thing from a 3rd non biased view point while maintaining your self respect, accounting for yet not actively or accidentally calling out blame to the abusive parent etc etc i hope this is enough to provide insight as to what im trying to depict,
all from the notion that logic states that since the abusive behavior came about, instead of was there by default, the loving mother that was there for 7 years prior to her becoming abusive, has to still be in there and there has to be a healthy way to have that mother re imerge from behind the dark vail and thus hopefully there can be a productive, loving parent now grown up child relationship nd we can make the most of the time that remains, and leave the chaos of 37 years where its at in the past being the therapist the patient the victim, the advocate for myself anad the concientous observer and keeping in mind the respecting my moms not fully known but have insight as to what in general but yet definitively somehwta caused her to come to know that as common behavior then amicably addressing and her acknowldeging while also ensuring no guilt shame or blame etc is implied that would cause her unnecessary or undue hurt etc while not allowing her to escape or go without her knowing that she had part in it but 2 wrongs dont make right etc is has been trying, stressful, exhausting but the fact that its working, adn my method or approach out of sheer determination or my unwillingness to accept the idea of outr established relationship being unchangeavble idk but mom n dad always said i was stubborn or hard headed and always seemed to had to learn the hard way or might be the simple fact just like in the matrix of how neo didnt think he could be the one and then he jsut stopped thinking of how he couldnt be and jstopped thinking and just did what one needed to do, maybe thatrs all it is. i was confident that it could be done granted ive self educated and implemented so far a cumulative bunch of all sorts of rellatedlife knowledge and experience and vetted the info through valid methods etc BUt i can say that in 37 years of having no memories of nything family being enjoyable, no christmases or holidays or anything and then having so far 2 christmas's out of 4 so far since she and i so to say started this path of having 2 chritsmass that were as filled with joy n warmth and feeling completely peaceful and being commfy and welcomeed and respected appreciated trusted its so very worth all the strugge and its nice to have a mom again

Renee Wamble
May, 13 2022 at 10:59 pm

That's very true, 2 wrongs definitely don't make a right and negativity doesn't give positivity.
Thank you for your thoughts and sharing your experience. So many can relate and it will help many.
Renee Wamble

Lizanne Corbit
November, 16 2021 at 6:53 pm

So well written and filled with so much truth! The "non-visible" aspects of verbal abuse are far-reaching, this also goes for recovery. It's so important to remember that compassion and gentleness when we are in that recovery process (truly, all times but especially in recovery). Thank you for sharing!

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