Handling Others' Reactions to Verbal Abuse: Not Your Burden

March 21, 2024 Cheryl Wozny

Handling others' reactions to verbal abuse can be challenging. Managing a verbally abusive relationship is difficult, especially when an outsider provides their opinion on the situation. Listening to reactions from others dismissing the severity of the problem can cause feelings of anger and resentment. Someone who is the regular target of verbal abuse may seek out support from others only to face avoidance or skepticism.

I've found that often, those who've experienced verbal abuse will unnecessarily assume responsibility for other people's feelings. This behavior is just one of the side effects that can occur from trying to live in a verbally abusive relationship. Unfortunately, I understand this scenario all too well. My abusers would make me feel like their negative emotions were the result of my actions, placing the blame on me. 

You Have No Control Over People's Reactions to Verbal Abuse

As a target of verbal abuse, I've spent many years trying to control negative situations and keep them from escalating. I tried my best to manage external factors so other people wouldn't get upset with me. This people-pleasing behavior not only hindered my coping skills but didn't generate the result I wanted.

The reactions to my verbal abuse story have sometimes been negative. These reactions have included feedback like: 

  • You weren't abused. You were a happy child. I never saw any abuse in your home.
  • Are you sure he meant it that way? Maybe he was just having a bad day.
  • I can't see that happening at all.
  • Can you block your post so (a particular person) can't see it? I don't want them to view (the abuser) in a bad light. 
  • You must be remembering things from a past life. 

I became upset and frustrated when people didn't react to verbal abuse as I expected or wanted. I would try harder to prove my point of view and justify my actions. I thought I had to make everyone understand my position because they were making me out to be the bad guy instead of the abuser. 

People's Reactions to Verbal Abuse Isn't Your Responsibility

It took me years of therapy to realize that I have no control over other people's reactions to verbal abuse. I cannot make someone believe me or support me if they don't want to. I have had to learn how to grieve these relationships and move forward without these people in my life. 

Although having people around who believe in and support you is ideal for healing, not everyone will be on board with your healing journey. People will take sides in every situation, regardless of the facts. It may hurt to realize that a loved one is someone with a negative reaction to your verbal abuse story. You may not be able to trust and confide in them, but others can fill that role for you. 

Your healing journey begins once you stop trying to convince others of your worth. No one should have to prove themselves worthy or right when it comes to a verbally abusive relationship. So, if your loved ones don't believe you or want to support you as you build a life away from verbal abuse, it's time to find ones that do. You'll be better off as you navigate life and build healthy relationships.

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2024, March 21). Handling Others' Reactions to Verbal Abuse: Not Your Burden, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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