Verbal Abuse in Marriage: 3 Insights
That Will Save You in the Face of Verbal Abuse

Dr. King

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Verbal abuse is toxic, especially when you are on the receiving end. It can wear you down, burn you out, and literally change the way you think and feel about yourself. But it doesn’t have to...

Here are some insights that will help you hold your own in the face of verbal abuse.

1) Know that the verbal abuse says more about the verbal abuser than it says about the abused. You may have heard this without understanding why, and therefore not fully trust this to be true.

2) Realize that the actual content of the verbal assault is not about you (the victim); rather, it is a fired-up projection of the abuser. The words, the names, the labels, the messages define the abuser, not the victim.

3) And moreover, it (the verbal assault) typically springs out of the abuser’s insecurity. It is actually the abuser’s effort, both consciously and unconsciously, to regain perceived lost power (whether real or imagined). This is the most important thing to realize. As psychologist Donald Dutton, Ph.D. says, battering is “impotence longing omnipotence.”

Regardless of whether the battering is physical, emotional or verbal, see it as a bodily and psychically felt underdog overcompensating. This one insight will save you in the face of verbal and emotional abuse.

Far too often, victims of verbal abuse internalize the message of the verbal abuser. However, if you stop yourself and see this aggression as belonging to and fully about the person delivering the message, you will more likely walk away from the encounter untouched by the content.

True, you may be shaken by the noise, but you will discover that this racket is far easier to deal with when you see it for what it is. Just noise.

For more insights on recognizing, coping and healing from verbal abuse, see Verbal Emotional Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people recognize, end and deal with emotional verbal abuse.

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© 2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Abuse 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.