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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Verbal Abuse, Part III

By Susan Knight

I hope you will read Patricia Evans' books on Verbal Abuse. There are so many insights in those books.

If you are verbally abused, as I was, you will say "Ah-HA!" many times over when you realize the life you've been leading.

When I read her first book, I thought she had written my biography. I could relate to every page. I highlighted almost every sentence. The inside of the book was yellow. Seriously.

I direct you now to a website that addresses FAQs about verbal abuse.

This website addresses the questions:
  • Is name-calling verbal abuse?
  • He acts like it never happened
  • Violence in the home is domestic violence, not a communication problem
  • Has your husband "got" you?
  • The "quiet" abuser
  • When verbal abuse turns physical
  • He turns it around and accuses me of abusing him
  • Women are not turned on to abuse
  • Verbal abuse is not your fault
  • Should I forgive and forget?
  • Why can't I leave him?
  • Have I brought this abuse on myself?
  • The many categories of verbal abuse:
    • Abusive anger
    • Criticizing
    • Name Calling
    • Threatening
    • Blaming
Shame on me, but I could relate to each one of these categories, except for physical abuse. My marriage counselor, however, could see that it would soon turn that way and urged me to get out of my marriage. Bless him.

I grew up in a household of verbal and physical abuse. I thought that's how it was. Although I wanted love and respect, when I didn't get it, I just figured nobody did, no matter how hard I tried. I watched the old fifties television shows and wished I lived in those households where mothers and fathers loved each other and loved their children.

My mother lived in denial her whole married life until my father died. Sometimes, while in the throes of depression due to my ex's name-calling, blaming and verbal abuse, I would call my mother and tell her how unhappy I was. He had just yelled at me and was now outside working in the yard. Working off the anger, I thought.

She would say, "You just have to wait for him to get happy again." It was then that I knew I couldn't confide in my mother. I didn't want to have to wait for him to get happy again. It made me depressed. I wanted him not to be angry and yell and scream and accuse me of things. But that's how my mom dealt with her life. She knew my dad would "get happy again." She had that strength of will and that's how she survived it. Pure denial.

I was in my thirties when I found out my mother grew up with an alcoholic/abusive father. I never knew. My grandfather was an alcoholic and he physically abused my grandmother. My dad never hit or beat my mom, so maybe she thought she was a step up on my grandmother. You know, like, "Well, thank goodness, at least he doesn't beat me. He just yells and puts me down."

I have to admit, I grew up thinking my mother was stupid and lazy, because that's how my dad accused her. Until I was pregnant with my first child, I didn't realize how tired you got. My mom had eight children, the last six in seven years. Can you imagine how tired she was all the time? Not lazy. And when I was an adult, I realized I wanted my mom on my Trivial Pursuit team. She was as smart as a whip. She was a strategic and tactical saleswoman. She could sell anything, and did. She was not stupid. And she was not lazy. She could run rings around me and my sisters and brothers.

Please go to that website. See if it rings true for you. You will learn a lot. If you find yourself relating to any of those categories, I'm so sorry. Please seek help. Find someone to support you--a friend, a family member. Get counseling. It will help you find strength and courage. If you can't be helped, please get out and save yourself.

There's a whole, beautiful world that's not filled with abuse just waiting to welcome you.

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