Understanding Verbal Abuse

It is difficult to not personalize verbal assaults and there are reasons why that is so.

Responding to verbal abuse requires a strong self-awareness. That is why it is not easy to deal with these attacks. This is the second in a series of three posts. In this post, you are encouraged to distinguish the different reactions between one’s body, soul and spirit.

  1. What is the initial reaction to cursing?
  2. What is the initial thinking when abused?
  3. What is the desire when abused?

The first question is a physical reaction. The initial instinct is to use your body to stop the abuse. The victim mirrors their abuser!

The second question is the mental reaction. The initial instinct is to reason with the abuser. Fact: you cannot reason with an abuser!

The third question is the spiritual reaction. Overt aggression is often answered by passive aggression. At this stage, the victim enables their own abuse!

Freedom

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible has much to say about cursing. Through the related axioms, we can formulate strategies to handle verbal abuse.

1. Cursing is like the continual, unrelenting fall of rain (Proverbs 27:14-15). The apostle Peter masked his discipleship to Jesus by cursing (Matthew 26:74). He was covering bitterness and confusion.

  • Curses have causes and are not accidental outbursts (Proverbs 26:2).
  • Visualize the cursing as a mask hiding the abuser’s face.
  • Consider what it is the abuser is hiding.

2. Cursing is difficult NOT to personalize (Proverbs 10:19). Why? Because 90% of a person’s 40,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day are negative! Verbal abuse profanes the sanctuary of our space.

  • Visualize the workspace of the abuser as your personal home.
  • How does it feel to have your personal space invaded by outside influence?
  • There is a natural desire to protect your family. Apply this feeling to those around you. You affect them when you are affected by verbal abuse.

3. The most effective strategy is to diffuse a negative spirit by a positive spirit (Proverbs 27:17).

  • Unasked for and unwanted thoughts need to be confronted.
  • Calmly and firmly respond along the lines: “Stop making me feel unworthy.” or simply just, “Stop it!”
  • Visualize each unwanted thought as being written on a paper. Now mentally burn that paper in fire. As the smoke ascends, visualize the negativity disappearing. This exercise is even more powerful when performed literally.

Prayer for Healing Victims of Abuse

God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
You gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.

Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt
in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear our cries as we agonize
over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
soothe restless hearts with hope,
steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy.

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds
and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
so that we may act with justice
and find peace in you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(The above prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

Related Post: Verbal Abuse

Related Series:

Verbal Abuse

How do you cope with that person who constantly berates you with foul language?

This is the first of a series. The series is based on three 20 minute sessions. The purpose and nature of the sessions are confidential. However, the principles for coping are universal truths.

Before we even begin, please recognize three things:

  1. YOUR well-being is important;
  2. YOUR feelings have value; and
  3. YOUR action plan will empower liberation from victimhood.

Dealing with verbal abuse is not easy. Let’s back up and get an overview of the situation. We can do this by distinguishing the difference between knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

  • What is an intellectual explanation for the person’s abusive behavior?
  • How does that explanation apply to YOUR situation?
  • What do you believe is an appropriate response to this behavior?

The first question gives you knowledge. The second opens up your understanding. The third is where wisdom is discovered. The first is a tool. The second is how you use it. The third is why you use the tool.

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The remainder of this post will focus on the knowledge aspect of verbal abuse.

There is an old story in the bible about a king who wanted to curse Israel. His name was Balak. Balak hired a prophet from the East named Balaam. In the story, we learn why people curse.

1. Verbal abuse is a tactic employed by the weaker party.

  • Do you see yourself as the weaker or stronger party in this situation?
  • In what ways?
  • Recognize you are in a position of strength.

2. Cursing is an attempt to overcome the stronger party.

  • How can you utilize your strength to respond instead of reacting?
  • What is the difference? Think of examples of how you can respond instead of react in your situation.

3. Cursing is designed to drive away the stronger party.

  • We are taught to respond with a blessing. What does that look like?
  • Find something good in that person and then minister to that goodness for the sake of that goodness. What is good about this person?
  • Love the person, not the actions.

Thanksgiving with Forgiveness

The following prayer was revised from Hannah Hurnard, “Simply Faith”.

Thank you for teaching me to welcome everyone and to think lovingly about them. Thank you for helping me to forgive those who hurt me, or seem to neglect me. Thank you for forgiving them not just for the things they say and do, but also for being the sort of people they are. Amen.

Abused

To be misused and maltreated only begins to describe the victim.

Violated of rights and privileges, the abused are deceived. The rude treatment from ill-tempered, seductive persons is difficult to articulate. Especially when the abuse is afflicted by someone living in your own home.

According to a New Zealand government fact-finding committee, about half of all homicides in New Zealand are committed by an offender who is identified as family.

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  • Being beaten and having your clothes ripped off your body is a harrowing experience.
  • Being cussed at is the easy part: it’s the reproachful language that causes you to question your own integrity that is confusing.

76% of family violence incidents are NOT reported to Police.

The police did come once – and then they left. That did two things in my situation:

  • The abuse intensified; and
  • I began to find strength to face reality.

Reviling words; corrupt practices: Hope begins to set below the horizon of your life. Like the Sun going down, you fear what will happen in the night. You cling onto the sliver of Moon’s light of Hope. And then you begin to wonder if the Sun will ever return.

Hope is there! The Sun can rise again to shine its warmth down into your life. That is why I am sharing the techniques I used to rebuild my life after experiencing such Despair.

Hope Cover 2018

 

(Click here or on the Image to learn how to get your copy)

Although most attention goes onto partner abuse as male against female – with the statistics to justify the attention – in the four years from 2009 – 2012, Family Violence website reports:

24% of the intimate partner abuse were perpetrated by women.

Sadly, things are not getting better in New Zealand. Police investigated 118,910 incidents of family violence in 2016 or about one every 5 minutes.

“It’s OK to ask for help.”

Family Violence

The road to recovery will be long. But you will come out of the darkness. I have! Simple steps must be taken. No one will understand just hard it will be unless they have walked in those shoes.

You are worthy to love yourself.

If you don’t know what else to do, call 0800 456 450.

Peaceful blessings await you.

Timothy

Related blog: Finding Hope

See also: Its Okay to Love Yourself