If there is one thing I have learned through countless hours of therapy, it is how I need to stop apologizing for everything. Although Canadians are very apologetic, this pattern is prevalent with verbal abuse victims even more so. My underlying desire to make everything better and have everyone be happy with the situation has built an unstable emotional foundation for my life.
Verbal Abuse in Relationships
If you have a past riddled with verbal abuse like me, you may know how difficult it is to find happiness in your life. Prolonged abuse may have changed how you perceive the world and the actions of those around you. You may be hesitant when someone is nice to you or feel unworthy of love and affection. However, everyone deserves a life of happiness, and it is possible.
As a victim of verbal abuse, I've slowly realized that I may never be totally free of the aftereffects of verbal abuse. Although I can spend hours, weeks, and years in therapy, there will always be a small part of it that is meshed inside my mind. I can use all the helpful tips and tricks my therapist gives me to handle that nagging voice I hear from my past, but it often doesn't work on my bad days.
Verbal abuse can rear its ugly head anywhere to anyone, including children in a school setting. Unfortunately, it can be more than a child's peers who use name-calling or teasing to get the attention they want. In some situations, the trusted adults in the classroom who receive payment to guide our children and help them learn are the ones throwing around insults and demeaning kids. Verbal abuse can happen at school.
Verbal abuse can look different to everyone. For example, while some people experience humiliation, others may suffer from gaslighting. Alternatively, some abusers use multiple forms of abuse to control their victims. Unfortunately, my story involves virtually every textbook element of abuse, from verbal assaults to gaslighting and controlling and manipulative behaviors.
Recovering from a verbally abusive situation is not an easy journey for most people, including myself. The internal damage to my psyche that I endured for years has shaped how I react to certain situations and the choices I make in my life. Part of my personal healing journey is learning how to retrain my brain to think and process my circumstances differently.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a victim of verbal abuse is managing your triggers. As I progress through my healing journey, I am slowly learning how to handle these situations better than before. The most crucial element for me is to remember to avoid falling automatically into a reactive mode when this occurs.
Until only a few years ago, I had no idea how difficult my life would become once I started sharing my story of being a victim of abuse. Although some people close to me already knew some basic information, I kept most of the details to myself. However, as I began my healing journey, it became more necessary for me to share my abuse story so I could move forward and leave my past behind me.
For many verbal abuse victims, like myself, one of the most challenging aspects of moving forward is accepting the reality of the situation. I had an extremely difficult time in my healing journey until I realized that I could never have the relationship with my abuser that I wanted.
Naturally, every victim of verbal abuse has a unique story. While some circumstances may be similar, each person's healing journey from abuse will take its own path and timeline. For myself, it took many years before I was ready to face my past and deal with it to begin healing. As I continue my journey, I have met and spent time with many other abuse survivors who were at different phases of their healing.