As a victim of verbal abuse for many years, I am no stranger to feeling like running away. This stress response will typically appear after I've hit the point of burnout and feeling that the only way to escape unfavorable circumstances is to leave physically. As a teenager, multiple times, I left my home and sought refuge with a friend, only to return again and face the consequences of my actions. Unfortunately, this pattern followed me into my adult life.
Verbal abuse can bring numerous harmful outcomes during and for years afterward. Unfortunately, self-isolation is just one of these side effects. In comparison, many victims will keep themselves away from others while in an abusive situation, while others, like myself, continue this behavior, even after breaking free.
Facing a verbally abusive situation is emotionally and physically draining. In addition, many victims of abuse find that alcohol plays a factor in how their circumstances play out daily. As someone who lived in a relationship of verbal abuse, alcohol, and substance abuse, I found the combination of these outside elements intensified an already negative situation.
My relationships changed after I was abused. I learned this a while ago when I had a chance to sit back and examine the people I have as part of my inner circle. It was then that I realized my friends now significantly differed from those years ago. So naturally, I immediately felt sad, thinking that maybe it was something I did or said to create a rift between me and these others. So naturally, self-blame was my go-to emotion when I felt there was a problem. Thankfully, I have therapists that guide me through different situations, including ones like this, where I feel uncertain.
It is natural to look back and reflect on your life and how you spend your time when you lose someone you love to illness or accident. However, I have realized that because of my recovery from verbal abuse, my journey has aided me in seeking out the life I want. This goal includes surrounding myself with supportive and loving people rather than condescending or abusive. My past abuse has changed my perspective.
Many individuals, including myself, can take notice of subtleties later when they are no longer the object of verbal abuse. It shocks me as I look back and replay many of these instances in my head. There were several reasons why, however, I never recognized it as abusive, which led me to remain in the same situation for years.
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.
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.