How Verbal Abuse Affects Your Trust in Others

May 20, 2021 Cheryl Wozny

There can be numerous side effects that you experience as the victim of verbal abuse. For me, trusting people after those years of abuse was impossible. But, not everyone will be affected in the same way, and each person's healing journey is unique. Sometimes you will be able to work through the aftermath of verbal abuse, but often, you can carry these emotions with you for years. Until you can process your history, verbal abuse can continue to have disastrous results on your life, as it was for me.

One very deep-rooted emotion that I carried with me for decades was the inability to trust people. I could not believe people when they gave me compliments or told me they would do things for me. I was suspicious of why they were nice to me and what they wanted from me in return. I always kept my guard up and did not let people know personal details of my life in fear of them using it against me somehow. 

How Lack of Trust Caused by Abuse Morphs into Bigger Problems

My lack of trust in others created a significant problem in several of my romantic relationships. This emotion morphed into what an outsider might think looked like a controlling, jealous partner. My anxiety, lack of trusting others, and fear of abandonment made my brain tell me that no one could possibly want to be with me, and they will eventually leave, or at the very least, be unfaithful. 

What some people saw as me wanting to know where my partner was all the time was my fear that my worse thoughts have finally come true. I would fall into full-blown panic attacks if I couldn't reach my partner. My mind would spiral into horrible, unimaginable scenarios that have never happened to me, but in my mind, they could. 

How Therapy Helped Me to Trust After Abuse

It has been a long, difficult process for me to come as far as I have. I still have times where my mind begins the panic process as it used to when I was dealing with verbal abuse. But now I have some effective tools to draw on, thanks to my therapist. A lot of credit should go to my partner, as his undying devotion and love for me have solidified the fact that someone can really love me and be trustworthy. 

I have some close friends who I can trust now. That isn't saying that I didn't have those people before, but now I feel that I can honestly trust them. Years ago, I would hold back and always been waiting for something awful to happen. Would they talk about me behind my back? Do they make fun of me when I'm not around? These days, I focus on surrounding myself with genuine, honest people, and my relationships, in turn, are more open and accepting. 

If I ever face a situation where I question my belief in someone, I have my therapist who can talk me through the scenario. Often, my lack of trust in others stems from my inability to read signals from others. I misinterpret conversations or text messages, causing more anxiety than necessary. By analyzing these situations that I am unsure of with my therapist, I gain more confidence in my choices with personal relationships. 

A Long Process

Fighting for control of negative thoughts in your mind is a long and exhausting process, especially when you are actively healing from verbal abuse. Although I have some terrific ways to help calm my anxious thoughts, I still battle them regularly. It isn't easy, and some days are more successful than others. But I am finding the more I use my tools, the more effective they are. 

There are many different therapeutic tools to use. Just like learning any new skill, what works for you may not work for someone else. I am thankful that my therapist can help me find ways to work through my lack of trust in those close to me. Remember to keep trying alternative methods of coping and growing so you too can decrease the anxiety you feel from a history of verbal abuse. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2021, May 20). How Verbal Abuse Affects Your Trust in Others, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 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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