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  • Sunday, March 27, 2005


    Verbal Abuse

    The subject of verbal abuse recently came up in response to some rather abusive comments over on Zmag Blogs in a discussion on pornography. I thought I'd share. From Verbal Abuse and Domestic Violence by Patricia Evans:
    Verbal Abuse Can Lead to Domestic Violence
    I see verbal abuse as a boiling cauldron of pain and anguish in possibly millions of homes and physical abuse as the surface sputters that get our attention. Batterers don’t start beating their partners before they have first withheld their feelings from them, called them names, or belittled them. A person who might cross from verbal to physical abuse is likely to show signs of an impending physical assault by launching intense and repeated verbal attacks, by indulging in rages or by becoming abusive in public. Such a person attempts to justify the abuse by blaming their partner. Batterers notoriously blame the victim of their assaults. "If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be in jail," says the batterer. The verbal abuser does likewise saying, "You made me...," or "You’re trying to control me," or "You’re trying to start a fight."

    Battering and Myths
    Domestic violence is an enormous problem made difficult to see, not only because it is usually hidden, but also because it is hard to understand why grown ups revert to hitting and sometimes killing the people to whom they claim to be close. Myths about the victims, such as "they bring it on themselves," or are "co-dependent", or "provoke it," also obscure the problem.

    Control, Verbal Abuse and Violence
    Domestic violence is about the control of one human being by another. This control begins with verbal abuse and is similar to mind control. Verbal abuse attacks one’s spirit and sense of self. Verbal abuse attempts to create self doubt. "You don’t know what you’re talking about," "You don’t have a sense of humor," "You can’t take a joke," "You’re too sensitive," "You’re crazy."

    Verbal abuse so controls ones mind that some women who have left a verbally and sometimes physically abusive relationship twenty or more years ago still find themselves wondering, "Maybe there’s something I could have done...," or, "Maybe if I’d tried to explain just one more time my relationship would have gotten better." Very often the people who find themselves the target of controlling behaviors can’t comprehend that anyone would want to control them so they try to be nice. This doesn’t work. You can’t stop a rapist by being extra nice.

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