Am I Damaged from Verbal Abuse? No Tears at 'Barbie'

September 7, 2023 Cheryl Wozny

Recently, I was concerned that the effects of verbal abuse had damaged me. This revelation came to me after watching Barbie. The more I talked to others about this film, the more I realized I was one of the few people who didn't cry during the show. Is it because I'm damaged from verbal abuse?

Can Verbal Abuse Damage You?

This question bothered me more after seeing how emotional others got when they heard America Ferrera's iconic monologue about women in Barbie. This speech was incredibly moving and inspirational, but it didn't bring me to tears. Do I have verbal abuse damage that affects my ability to be empathetic

Anytime you are hurt emotionally or physically, there is potential for it to cause damage. If someone hit you hard enough, it could break a bone. Similarly, if someone's words or actions make you feel worthless, it can have lasting effects on your self-esteem. 

How a person handles verbal abuse and recovers will be unique. Each healing journey will differ, depending on the needs of the individual. As I work through therapy and heal, I find myself less bothered by outside stimuli. So, for example, when I'm watching a sad movie, it's rare that I cry. 

Does this mean I'm damaged from verbal abuse? I'm not sure if it's a yes or no question. Has verbal abuse changed me? Yes, of course it has. My past has helped define who I am and how I navigate my relationships today. However, I'm not sure I can classify the change as better or worse for me. 

Healing My Damage from Verbal Abuse 

During my healing journey, I've noticed a few things about my mental health now compared to my past.

In my younger years, I could cry at anything. Tears would come easily if I saw a sad commercial on television or heard a heartbreaking story. These days, it can take more than a cheesy sitcom to get my tears flowing. But I've realized this stark difference is not because I have damage from verbal abuse. 

As I continue to heal, my body is less often in fight-flight-freeze mode. When I lived in constant anxiety, tears were always just below the surface, ready to appear in any situation. These days, I have more control over my emotions and my mental state. My body is more at peace, so it takes more to make me cry than it used to. 

Maybe verbal abuse did damage me after all. But, it's how I heal is what's important for my mental health. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2023, September 7). Am I Damaged from Verbal Abuse? No Tears at 'Barbie', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 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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September, 7 2023 at 1:38 pm

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