Saying abusive or bad words, name calling, crude remarks, threats, constant criticism or mockery are only a handful of examples of verbal abuse. Verbal abuse stems from built up anger, frustration or just from an insecure personality. Verbal abuse might not involve any physical harm to another individual but it causes a devastating impact on the victim’s personality. There are certain characteristics common to verbal abuse:
1. Disrespect: This is one of the most common characteristics of verbal abuse, where the main aim is to belittle someone or make them feel disrespected. Verbally abusing your spouse hurts them, but that was the intent, wasn’t it? It was to hurt them and injure them. Similarly, when parents use abusive words with children, they tend to feel humiliated and become quiet. Even if a stranger verbally abuses you on the road, you are likely to feel disrespected.
2. Ridicule: Even though disrespect and ridicule might seem synonymous, they tend to be a little different. Ridicule is to make fun of someone in order to make them feel embarrassed. Some of the most common examples of ridiculing include body shaming, bully about height or the complexion.
3. Control: As with other forms of abuses, the need for control is also observed in verbally abusive behaviors.
We all tend to engage in verbal abuse towards others. Remember the last time you said a bad word to someone? Why did that happen? Were you angry at something someone else said or did or was it because that individual annoyed you? Regardless of the reason, the source was anger. However, how often do you hear people using abusive words because they enjoy doing so? Friends and siblings as well as parents often times hail abuses because it appears fun and casual. With time, we have taken the seriousness out of verbally abusive behavior and made it more of a joke. We’ve made verbal abuse acceptable in some spheres of life and between some relationships.
In areas where verbal abuse is still unacceptable, it is considered disrespectful and hurtful. Words such as ‘lame’ or ‘stupid’ will be hurtful to a student’s self-esteem if said by a teacher in a classroom. A parent saying ‘shut-up’ or ‘get lost’ will be upsetting to a child regardless of the situation. A spouse using foul words for their partner during an argument will impact the relationship as well as the person. Besides all the aforementioned, one of the most common forms of ridiculing and verbal abuse is observed online, known as cyber bullying. It is a growing concern and drives many victims to suicide. Regardless of the form or type of verbal abuse, it tends to stay the longest where even years later, people tend to remember what was said to them.
Continue reading about the most prevalent but least discussed form of abuse