Healing Verbal Emotional Abuse
Has Your Abusive Partner Apologized
AND Still You Hurt?
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
“Your partner’s words are verbally and emotionally abusive. Your partner acknowledges regret for using these hurtful words with you. Yet, you still hurt. Why is that?” Ever wonder?
We see this all the time. One party feels wronged by the other and an apology does not evoke healing in the injury of the abused. Some people will say that the apology wasn’t sincere, and others will say the injured hasn’t healed from within. In abusive relationships, it is often both.
What’s in an Apology
Many apologies are simply the words: “I’m sorry.” And for most of us that means, “Here are the ‘sorry’ words, now get over it!”
The words, in and of themselves, don’t carry a lot of weight in the reconciliation room. If these words are accompanied with sincere remorse, then they can have a greater impact. And they can do even more when the remorse is laced with heart-felt compassion.
You may think that all it takes to feel better is to get one of these apologies and “vow-la”...healing happens! Not necessarily so. Here’s why.
The Abusive Words Are Not the Only Problem
In a simple world, we’d like to believe that the abuser’s emotional verbal assault is the only issue that needs addressing for healing to occur. However, if you take these same words and toss them at another person, chances are that these same words will evoke a different impact.
Now, this in no way intends to suggest that hurtful words are not universally hurtful. Let’s face it; there are certain expressions that cross cultures, races, gender, etc. because they are rotten on their own merit.
But it’s not the words, in and of themselves, that hurt. It is also the wound that these words have touched.
By this I mean that the abused owns it to him/herself to find the point of pain that churns during and after the encounter with the hurtful words. There is an inner injury that gets stirred by the hurtful emotional verbal assault that you may or may not be aware of in the moment of your suffering.
Inner Compassion and Personal Healing
When you open your listening to that inner experience, you begin the path of personal healing from within. The compassionate felt experience of this inner wound inspires the first step toward your resolution of the personal internal injury.
Inter-Personal Compassion and Relationship Healing
When you bring this inner experience out in the form of sharing its felt meaning with your partner, you embark onto another level of healing within the relationship. In the final analysis, what you probably want most is to be heard, understood, valued and appreciated for who and what you are. And it is in your sharing that you invite just this.
One of the biggest barriers to this level of depth in interpersonal sharing is the abused person’s fear of the consequences. Victims of domestic abuse know all to well that abusers enjoy gathering their vulnerabilities for future attack. It is for this reason that you may want the assistance of a trained professional to facilitate healing at this level under these circumstances.
For more information on domestic abuse healing in the context of relationship therapy, visit www.preventabusiverelationships.com/domestic_violence_trt.php and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
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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.