How do you handle verbal abuse?
We all have all kinds of relationships…some nurturing, others destructive, and others in between. We need all of our relationships in order to learn and develop. We all learn to separate the good connections from the hurtful ones, when the “innocent comment” we get has a hidden stab and gets to hurt us in different ways along time. All of us need to learn how to handle verbal abuse.
Why is it that people around us have opinions about us and feel entitled to tell us what they want for us to do or to become? Apart from the feeling that we are invaded upon, the other feeling is that there is nothing protected from other people’s critiques: everything is fair game! Let’s try to do the list, will you? They can offer you learning opportunities….
- Physical appearance and body parts criticism;
- Clothing choices criticism;
- Name calling and being cursed out with words that describe how you can’t do anything right;
- Hair and hair styles: they decide if you have to use it short or long;
- Our choice of friends and activities to do with them;
- Hearing that so many things are wrong with us, that we are worthless;
- Being told that our dress is wrong, or the makeup is inappropriate in public.
When you watch people carefully around you, the examples pop up to your eyes. And then, you also see how the receiver of the negative critique puts up, apologizes and in general accepts this “I’m better than you are” attitude from the person they love. Beyond keeping silence, what are other reactions? You can withdraw and cry in hiding, or in front of the abuser; you can try to explain why is it wrong and how you want the behavior to be…
Does it help? Withdrawing, crying, sulking and in general absorbing the hurt and moving on will not help changing the other person’s behavior. If you are doing any of these behaviors, you are still putting up with being treated badly in the relationship. You don’t want to be treated badly, but you can’t make it stop. Your only choice seems to be to end the relationship, which you don’t want to do either. So what do you do?
Here’s what this plan looks like in action:
Example 1: Body criticism from partner, can include comment about your weight, hair, dress, etc.
- As soon as you hear your partner utter an unkind comment about your body, do not for a second wonder if he is right. Know you are perfect the way you are.
- Wonder what’s going on with him that he would say that. “I wonder what happened to you, having said such an unkind comment”?
- Tell him that you are no longer willing to hear any uncomplimentary comments about your body, at all: “Please, stop this kind of comments; I will not tolerate them.”
- “You can appreciate whatever you like in me, that would be acceptable.”
- Tell him what you plan to do: “If you continue to talk with me about my body, I will leave just now”
- If he does not stop immediately, remove yourself from the situation.
The result: Having found a way to assert what your wishes are, you will find that the situation improves and he has to consider that you will not take abuse from him.
It goes down to self-esteem, as you have guessed…Now, if you are ready to begin boosting your self-esteem, here is help. Otherwise, please, share your ideas with us, leave a comment, or share this posting with people you know….Let’s keep the connection!