The effects of verbal abuse

Words can hurt you…


There is an old saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” that song is not true and it was obviously made up by someone who was never verbally abused. Words can cut you to the bone just as surely as if you were cut with a knife. The scars from the abuse will last a lot longer than the scars from an actual beating, they scar your heart and haunt your mind for years.


Even when you think you have moved on, changed your life, something will bring you right back to that moment and you will remember their words as clear as if they said them to you yesterday. You will second guess yourself, you will start believing all they have said to you and about you. Some times they will haunt you forever “You are stupid, you cant make it without me, you cant do anything right, why do you always twist my words around, its because of you I act this way, I was just kidding, cant you take a joke, your worthless”


These words and many others, change who you are, it doesn’t matter if your a college graduated, a high school drop out, a business person or blue collar worker, verbal abusers don’t see color, gender or education. They are bully’s and they want to have control over you and your life and will stop at nothing until they get it. They break you down little by little until you wake up one morning not knowing who you are, not liking who you are and believing all that has been said about you is true.


According to the CDC they released a study in 2008 that surveyed more than 70,000 Americans and the results were staggering These are the results of that survey.

23.6% of women and 11.5% of men reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.

In households with incomes under $15,000 per year, 35.5% of women and 20.7% of men suffered violence from an intimate partner.

43% of women and 26% of men in multiracial non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.

39% of women and 18.6% of men in American Indian/Alaska Native households suffered partner violence.

26.8% of women and 15.5% of men in white non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.

29.2% of women and 23.3% of men in black non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.

20.5% of women and 15.5% of men in Hispanic households suffered partner violence.

Harvard university put out there own study on verbal abuse, they went on to say:

Scolding, swearing, yelling, blaming, insulting, threatening, ridiculing, demeaning, and criticizing can be as harmful as physical abuse, sexual abuse outside the home, or witnessing physical abuse at home.

The report suggests that, when verbal abuse is constant and severe, it creates a risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, the same type of psychological collapse experienced by combat troops in Iraq. The research on which the report is based points out that children who are the target of frequent verbal mistreatment exhibit higher rates of physical aggression, delinquency, and social problems than other children.

Other researchers have associated childhood verbal abuse with a significantly higher risk of developing unstable, angry personalities, narcissistic behavior, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and paranoia. “Verbal abuse may also have more lasting consequences than other forms of abuse, because it’s often more continuous,” says Teicher. “And in combination with physical abuse and neglect, may produce the most dire outcome.


There are always signs, yet we chose to ignore them, here are a few

Do they…

*make derogatory comments about a group you belong to

(gender, career, religion, etc.)? This comment might end with “I mean them, not you.”

*make fun of or insult your ideas, behaviors, or beliefs?

*make negative comments about people, places or things that you love?

*say things that are almost true about you, but leave you wanting to defend yourself?

*say, “What? It was just a joke!” to dismiss a remark that offends you?

*ask you questions about something that just happened and reply to your answers, “Do you care to think about that and answer the question again?” or just sit there, staring at you, in a way that lets you know your answer wasn’t “right”?

*engage you in long conversations about things on which you disagree until you reach the point of wanting to say, “Okay. Whatever. You’re right!” Or insist that you repeat what they said and then, later, claim, “You agreed with me (then)!”

*somehow manage to physically back you into a corner or somewhere you cannot easily escape during intense conversations?

*break you down until you say your sorry about a fight you clearly are in the right about?


These are signs of how you feel when you are with them

Do you feel…

*nervous when approaching them with certain topics?

*insulted because of their use of foul language, or does their use of foul language change the meaning of otherwise normal requests? (Such as, “Could you f*ck*ng tell me how much f*ck*ng longer it will be before you’re ready for dinner?”)

*a need to “tell on yourself” about innocent events in case the person hears about          it later?

*misunderstood for the most part in your relationship?


Do you doubt…

*your sanity, intelligence, or communication skills because of difficulties relating to them?

*your memories when it comes to recalling conversations or events with the person because their take on it is so different from your own?


Ask yourself these questions and be brutally honest with the answers because these are the signs of verbal abuse. They poison your thoughts with confusion and doubt.


According to Patricia Evans the leading expert in verbal abuse, the long term effects on verbal abuse is overwhelming on both men and women and the effects on children can last a lifetime.

Victims of verbal abuse may:

*Have difficulty forming conclusions and making decisions

*Feel or accept that there is something wrong with them on a basic level (selfish, too sensitive, “crazy”, etc.)

*Analyze and relive abusive experiences to see where they made mistakes

*Doubt their ability to communicate

*Experience self-doubt, low self-confidence, and lose spontaneity and/or enthusiasm

*Believe and say things like “Everything will be better when the baby is born,” or “Everything will improve after she finds a job.”


The effects of verbal abuse on children ages 18 and under include substance abuse (more prevalent in males) physical aggression, delinquency, and social problems. The more verbally aggressive the parent, the more pronounced the problem.


A study of physical health consequences of physical and psychological abuse concludes:

Verbal abuse is strongly associated with chronic pain, migraine and frequent headaches, stammering, ulcers, spastic colon, and frequent indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation along with many stress-related heart conditions.

The psychological effects of verbal abuse include:

fear and anxiety, depression, stress and PTSD, intrusive memories, memory gap disorders, sleep or eating problems, hyper-vigilance and exaggerated startle responses, irritability, anger issues, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, self-mutilation, and assaultive behaviors.

There are many other studies out there that will give you facts and numbers, but they can never truly know the pain you feel when you are a victim of verbal abuse. You feel you will never do anything right, that if “only” you could make them happy, you walk on eggshells not knowing what person they will be that day. You wonder how they can say they love you yet treat you this way? If they are your parent, you wonder why they don’t love you, your constantly running after their love and acceptance, you will take it into adulthood and lot of the time continue the vicious cycle. You feel unlovable, unworthy, and you question everything you do and say.

Until the day you realize it is about them and not about you, this is their issue, not yours. No matter how “ good” you are, how “right” you do things, it will never be enough for them, they will find fault in the perfect. They need to put you down in order to make themselves feel better, they are lacking but they put the spot light on you, so you don’t see their faults, it has nothing to do with you.

Get out, get help, do research, talk to others who have been there, start to love yourself again. You are worthy of being treated well, until you realize this, they will continue to have power over you even 40 years from now.

Keep saying “not my monkeys… Not my circus..”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *