What is Verbal Abuse?
Verbal abuse is when someone uses words to cause harm to feelings of the person they are speaking to. It may take many forms and the harm caused is often difficult to measure. The most popularly used form of verbal abuse is name-calling. Verbal abuse also includes shouting, insulting, intimidating, threatening, cursing, shaming, demeaning, or derogatory language, among other forms of communication towards a person.
Causes of Verbal Abuse
- Parental stress from work, marital relationship, and financial problems and so on, this causes a parent to show that frustration on their children might cause a child to lose self confidence.
- A parent who has been verbally abused as a child is more than likely to verbally abuse a child of their own since they may think that is “normal”.
- Feelings of inferiority due to the abusers past experiences which causes him\her to act out verbally.
- Anger management problems, the abuser’s own inability to deal with his\her anger or rage so it is acted out against the victim.
Effects of Verbal Abuse on Children
- A negative self image.
- Feeling like “No one likes me”, “I am always wrong,”
- A child may feel depressed and withdrawn.
- In some cases, the children show self-destructive behavior such as cutting skin with razors and other acts that are dangerous and could endanger a child’s life.
- Verbally abused children tend to develop interpersonal problems, physical aggression, and delinquency at a higher rate than others their age.
- Due to this aggression, they may hit other children or may quarrel with their classmates
- Children may have delayed physical, social, emotional, and academic development. Children may face problem with making friends, may fall behind in school, etc.
- Verbal abuse causes long-term harm to children. It may make children become self destructive and depressed later in life, become abusers themselves, develop anxiety, etc.
Signs of verbal abuse exhibited by the abuser are:
- Actions of ignoring, ridiculing, disrespecting, and criticizing others consistently.
- Purposely humiliating others.
- Accusing others falsely to negatively influence another person’s decision making.
- Using words to make others feel unwanted and unloved.
- Threatening to leave the family penniless.
- Placing the blame and cause of the abuse onto others.
- Isolating a person from some type of support system like friends or family.
Forms of Verbal Abuse
- Very well known forms of verbal abuse are, name-calling, shaming, berating and discrediting another person.
- However, less blatant forms of psychological abuse such as controlling, accusing, judging and criticizing, denial of feelings, trivializing, sarcasm, and blaming are not very often thought of as verbal abuse but are still types of verbal abuse.
Dealing with Verbal Abuse
- It is normal for parents to get angry and frustrated with their children, but having these outbursts routinely cause the children to get depressed, self destructive, etc. as described above.
- First you need to understand the reasons behind the behavior of an abusive person.
- The best way to recognize signs of verbal abuse in an unhealthy relationship is to know what a healthy relationship looks like. Think for a moment about the things we value in relationships. Things like respect, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance, love, affection, and trustworthiness with the ability to connect deeply with someone; yet have the freedom to be oneself within healthy boundaries.
- Talk to someone you trust or someone who you think can help you to deal with what you are facing. This will make it easier for you to get help.