The dynamic of Verbal and Emotional Abuse can be defused with hard, consistent work, progress can be made … change can occur … and victory can be achieved. Verbal and Emotional abusers’ insensitive attacks come from a heart that suffers from emotional deficits originating in the past and from their choice to respond to those deficits by abusing others.
How to have Victory over Verbal and Emotional Abuse:
- Face the Problem.
- Decide to identify any verbal abuse. Does the other person: Say things that seem designed to make you feel guilty? Always claim to be right? Put you down in humorous or sarcastic ways? Become your judge and jury? Bring up the past over and over?
- Decide to communicate your position to the abuser.
- Decide that you are no longer going to tolerate the abusive behaviour.
- Decide that you will look at and resolve your own anger from past or present verbal abuse.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)
2. Understand the Source of the Problem.
- Know that many verbal abusers were themselves abused or neglected in one way or another as children. (Some, however, were not abused as children and simply learned abusive behaviour later in life.)
- Know that verbal abusers lack sympathy and feel justified in their abuse.
- Know that uncontrolled outbursts of anger can be triggered by depression, stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, or insecurity.
- Know that you are not the cause of the abuse (although you will be blamed).
“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15)
3. Confront the Problem.
- Communicate an attitude of caring. “I want you to know that I care about you.”
- Communicate that you have been deeply hurt by the abusive behaviour. “I feel deeply hurt by your tone of voice when you talk to me.”
- Communicate your desire for a positive relationship, but make it clear that you will no longer tolerate verbal attacks. This is assertive communication: “I want to support you, but I will no longer tolerate abusive behaviour from you.”
- Communicate truth without condemning. “I want our relationship to continue, but if you choose to continue belittling me, I will know that you don’t value me, and I will leave.”
“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:21)