Unless you have had the occasion to be in a verbally or emotionally abusive relationship or marriage, it is very easy to think that verbal abuse is “no big deal” or “not as bad as physical abuse”. Quite the contrary, however. Verbal and emotional abuse is so damaging to a person’s emotional well-being and state of mind that, if inflicted over a long period of time, it can severely and even irreversibly damage the victim’s mental health.
Emotional or verbal abuse, is the excessive use of language, body language and/or psychological mind games, to undermine someone’s dignity, self-esteem and sense of self-worth through the chronic, continuous infliction of insults, calling names or humiliation, in a sudden or repeated manner, typically occurring over a long period of time.
Unlike physical abuse, which occurs at the moment it is executed. That’s certainly not to say that it doesn’t do it’s share of long-term damage if inflicted over a span of months or years. Unlike physical abuse, however, verbal abuse is only effective if administered over a long period of time. It takes time for the damage of emotional or verbal abuse to begin to alter a victim’s perception of herself or himself and the world around her. To isolate a person, for example, it has to occur continuously before it becomes a pattern and the victim begins to take on that attitude and behavior by the abuser, as their own.
In my case, for example, I am very nearly to the point, after nearly 19 years of an emotionally abusive marriage, of being in a position where I can leave and not struggle financially or to obtain the necessities, including food. I am well-aware that I am going to need long-term, regular therapy with an experienced and skilled counselor, as a result of the continuous, long-term emotional abuse I have endured for so many years and on so many different levels. It is now to the point that my husband, who truly does not believe himself to be an abuser, is becoming progressively violent and filled with rage when he gets angry. The most terrifying thing about my husband is how adamant he is about being vindictive when he’s angry or feels hurt. Revenge. My husband told me yesterday, just as he has told me thousands of times, that he was going to make my life miserable. I replied by saying, “It already is, I can’t imagine it getting much worse”. He chuckled and said, “Just wait”.
And I know he means it. He has already started his increasingly shocking and violent pattern of vindictive and vengeful behaviors to show me how angry he is. First of all, he has been taking money off of my debit cards or cancelling the cards and ordering new cards so I have no access to money. He also enjoys taking his laptop to work with him every day now, claiming he doesn’t trust me to not sell it. He’s also resorted to calling me bitch, slut and whore on a regular basis.
If I don’t get out of this situation my soul is going to die, and I feel as though I’m going to go crazy. In fact, I feel like I already am. Every day is worse than the day before. I will save the story of my horrible marriage for another day, but I do want to acknowledge briefly the intense and unwavering feeling that the victim is going insane. The abuser wants it this way.
If you are being abused, know someone who is being abused, or if you just have questions or would like to chat, email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org