Why Do Domestic Abuse Survivors Believe the
Verbal Emotional Abuse Showered Upon Them?
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Verbal emotional abuse is as damaging if not more damaging than physical abuse. If you have been there and had your fair dose of it, you may know why.
Verbal abuse and psychological abuse are typically dished out routinely over time. And in time, the messages sustain themselves. For example, take the case of Mary Lou.
Mary Lou is a soft-spoken woman of means who lives with a man that over-powers her and uses her purse for his bread and butter. You know what’s coming here, don’t you?
Mary Lou is not only an emotional verbal abuse survivor; she is also a victim of financial abuse. Her husband Jack tells her on a daily basis that she “needs” to rely on him to manage her finances, because she lacks the knowledge and skill to do so.
He lets her know in no uncertain terms that she needs his love because no one else would put up with her. From his point of view, she is unappealing, dumb, and when things get intense she is the c____ word.
The Mental Messages of Verbal Abuse
This serving of emotional verbal abuse is given to Mary Lou almost daily. Sometimes it is direct in words, and other times it is communicated through innuendo. It’s as though Jack is incomplete until he has showered his partner with verbiage that weakens her spirit, her presence and her experience of herself in the world.
In the quiet moments of Mary Lou’s day, she hears the mental messages as spoken by Jack. And over the weeks, months and years, these become her own mental messages, which she hears from within.
The emotional verbally abusive characterization resides within her as her own mental psychological blueprint about herself...even though she is bright, competent and extremely attractive. Sound familiar?
The Magnets of Verbal Emotional Abuse
Because of the way we are wired psycho-physiologically as human beings, Mary Lou reinforces the negative degrading thoughts she has about herself. Basically, she takes in that which supports what Jack has “taught” her about herself and misses that which contradicts her internalized toxic beliefs.
So at the end of the day, she may have stewed in the toxic thoughts, had the negative feelings associated with that, behaved commensurate with it and encountered the results of her creation...all while Jack is away. How could she not believe in the verbal emotional abuse...in light of the fact that she has confirmed it over and over again?
If you are a victim of verbal emotional abuse, take a hard and fast look at the thoughts you hold about yourself. If you don’t examine them, you will likely continue to reinforce them with each passing day.
For more information about verbal emotional abuse, visit www.preventabusiverelationships.com/emotional_verbal_abuse.php. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps individuals nationwide end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.