I had no idea what verbal abuse was until I accidentally ran across something on the Internet. I wasn't even looking. It was a pop up on the side. I thought, "What the heck is verbal abuse?" I clicked & it was an article about a guest on Oprah's show. I ran out and bought the book the next day. Hid it in the house. It was MY MARRIAGE! Everything I didn't understand and couldn't wrap my mind around. It was all there in black & white.
At first I was in denial. I didn't believe that my husband could be doing this intentionally. I thought that he too didn't understand that he was being abusive. I didn't show it to him or say anything. BUT when he was verbally abusive, I would say -- "Can't you see how your phrase there implies X which is hurtful to me? Can't you see how that (blah blah)." He would deny. When I suggested that "name calling" was very hurtful & should not be done, he told me that name calling was NO BIG DEAL & not hurtful & I really had a problem. His ex-wife & ex-girlfriend had called him names all the time. It's no big deal. Yep. The whole devalue & discard & the bolstering & negating my feelings.
I started reading more & more. I think all people are verbally abusive & even abusive at one time or another. It comes when we are unhappy, etc. Also, most people grow up with it to one extent or the other. My reading certainly brought chagrin to myself & I saw that I too have been verbally abusive, angry & controlling. I tried to STOP all that immediately. There are a few folks out there I really would like to apologise to.
But I also learned there are other people who are simply abusive = angry & controlling. And I finally got out of my denial & accepted that my husband was an abuser. As I told you, when I read the book about "gaslighting" and saw that he was a textbook case -- and the worse kind of gaslighter -- the book had several different types. I got very scared. I think he was an "intimidator gaslighter." If I remember. It predicted physical violence. And, as I learned from his exes -- he can be very violent. I just "handled" him very well & managed to diffuse the situation . . . or I think he sensed that if he really hit me or slugged me . . . I'd be gone & I might have him arrested.
In the end he did get physical . . . but I had told him I was leaving. And I deeply regret that I did not call the police or get a restraining order. I wish had had taken him to the rails & gotten him convicted. And thrown out of this country.
But anyhow. I think children either "get" that the parent is abusive & avoid it when they grow up. Or they go the other way . . either become abusive or get involved with abusers.
Hopefully you can teach your children to see the BS -- avoid it when they can . . . & to never do it themselves.
Even when I left my husband, he said to me: "I'm not so bad. I don't beat you." Excuse me? What a jerk! Minimizing the abuse inflicted. AND, I will never forget the day that I told him to back off; I had no more time for his drama; I was finished. I told him, "Yes. I am going to the gym now." He asked, "How can you leave me like this when I am so upset?" Well, husband -- I am saying the exact words & doing the exact stuff you did to me when I was so upset. I said, "I gotta go to my job. I gotta go to the gym. I gotta take care of myself. I gotta work on the house." An hour later, when I came back, he had packed a little bag & was leaving to spend time with his gal pal colleague & her husband. He accused me of being "verbally abusive" and that "nobody speaks to a dog" the way I spoke to him. He ran away to his gal pal's house & told her & her husband that I was abusing him!
So...he knew exactly everything that he was doing to me. And in the end, would deny everything he did to me. I was the liar & I was crazy. Sound familiar? Even had several of his gal pals in the house tormenting me & protecting him from his abusive & thieving wife!
One can never win with these types. Maybe your children will reflect & understand intuitively why you have NO CONTACT with their father. Because it's actually the sane reaction when confronted with somebody so useless & hurtful.
This post, "Thoughts On Verbal Abuse"
was written by my Coach.
Image by The LAMP on flickr
Creative concept of what verbal abuse does to an individual"
Used under the Creative Commons License