Verbal abuse can come from individuals of any age, including children. Unfortunately, the understanding that kids can be cruel is too common for many parents. So, why do children resort to verbal abuse to handle difficult situations? The answer could be due to learned behaviors or a developmental phase.
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
Verbal abuse can impact the way children view relationships and themselves. Sometimes parents exhibit verbally abusive behavior toward each other without involving the children as recipients. Although the kids may not receive any verbal abuse from their parents, this dynamic still profoundly affects children and how they develop into adults.
Navigating relationships can be confusing, especially with narcissistic behaviors like paperclipping -- being kept on the backburner -- from a partner. Are you the victim of paperclipping? Knowing what to look for can help you avoid hanging onto the idea of a potential relationship with no possibility of commitment.
Sometimes behaviors appear in relationships that can make you feel uneasy or confused. Breadcrumbing is one of these habits that may have you wondering if it is verbal abuse. If you haven't heard of this term before, it can be good to know what signs to look for and if the breadcrumbing is severe enough to classify it as verbal abuse.
As I work through my healing journey, I've noticed some specific triggering elements that leave me feeling uncomfortable. Even as a young child growing up, I remember the emotions of mistrust and suspicion when trying to determine if someone's words and actions were genuine. My trust issues from child abuse made it almost impossible to tell the difference between a lie and a joke.
Being the victim of verbal abuse can create vulnerabilities in several areas of life. I know that I still experience negative feelings of vulnerability even though I am no longer in an abusive situation. Thankfully, I am learning how to properly be vulnerable without making myself a target for further abuse.
Being the victim of verbal abuse can bring with it many dynamics. My overwhelming sense of responsibility is one contributing side effect of suffering verbal abuse through the years. This emotion includes feeling accountable for the abuse I endured, thinking that I have to be responsible to make everything better, and I am unable to trust that other people will do the right thing, so I must handle everything myself. Unfortunately, the continuous feeling of responsibility eventually leads to survivor burnout and an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.
The ongoing side effects of verbal abuse can be complex and last for years. One exceptionally painful emotion that still resonates with me, even decades after, is guilt. It can be hard to move past it, and it may also invite its close friend, shame, to the party.
When you are the victim of verbal abuse, making decisions and navigating everyday activities can be overwhelming. I have noticed that when my anxiety levels climb due to external stressors, my brain and body want to shut down. Then, I want to return to my old coping skills from when I suffered abuse by giving up, abstaining from fighting against any opposition, and retreating internally.
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.