Examples of Verbal Abuse

verbal abuse

Unlike physical abuse, verbal abuse leaves no visible scars. Though it’s subtler, its psychological harm can be equally profound and enduring, especially for women who have experienced family trauma. These experiences can make women more susceptible to substance use as they seek to numb the pain of their emotional wounds.

What forms can verbal abuse take, and what should you do to deal with its repercussions in your relationships?

Understanding Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse goes beyond occasional arguments or heated exchanges. Its leading characteristics include the following.

  • Name-calling and insults meant to make you feel worthless
  • Threats and intimidation that cause fear for your safety
  • Gaslighting – controlling behavior that causes you to doubt your reality
  • Embarrassing or criticizing you in public
  • Using affection and approval as tools for manipulation
  • Constantly blaming you for things that aren’t your fault
  • Giving you the silent treatment

The Cycle of Victimization and Substance Abuse

Family trauma can build the foundation for a cycle of victimization – particularly when it involves verbal abuse. Girls growing up in families that normalize verbal abuse may lack the context to realize it is unacceptable behavior. As adults, these victims may seek dysfunctional, one-sided, or abusive relationships because the patterns feel familiar.

Unfortunately, substance abuse often becomes a coping mechanism for women dealing with the pain of verbal abuse. Alcohol or drugs may provide a temporary escape, but addiction also increases your vulnerability to further abuse and dependency, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

  1. Recognition: Being a repeat victim of verbal abuse can wear you down and make you feel worthless. However, you must realize that your abuser’s behavior is unacceptable. It’s not your fault, and you did not do anything to deserve it.
  2. Seek support: Whether it’s confiding in trusted friends or family, joining a support group, or seeking professional counseling, finding a support system is crucial for dealing with the repercussions of verbal abuse.
  3. Set boundaries: You must establish and maintain boundaries with your abuser to protect your emotional well-being. In some cases, this may mean ending the relationship.
  4. Self-care: Prioritizing your physical, emotional, and mental health is essential. Activities like exercise, meditation, or hobbies can provide positive outlets for your stress and emotions.
  5. Educate yourself: Learning more about verbal abuse and its ripple effects can empower you to make informed decisions about your relationships and how to handle abuse.
  6. Get professional help: Addiction treatment is a critical step toward recovery if substance use is part of the problem.

Find Your Freedom and Voice

While verbal abuse may not leave visible marks, its psychological scars can last a lifetime. Women who grew up with family trauma should recognize the signs of verbal abuse and work to address it, thus preventing further victimization and breaking the cycle of substance abuse.

At The Pearl, we offer comprehensive resources for women dealing with the aftermath of verbal abuse and substance use. If you need help, we are here to help you reclaim holistic wellness.