Wednesday, September 13, 2017

HANDLING ABUSIVE COMMENTS



Have you ever heard the quote, "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?

We used it alot back in the day in response to bullies in school or during recess. But that familiar phrase has been around since at least the 1860's.  Thankfully, I'm not sure people even use the term any longer.

We now know that this quote is inaccurate, and may be the reason that many people have  grown up believing that verbal abuse is okay.  
Sometimes when you're on the receiving end of verbal abuse, you may not have a clue what to say to just get it to stop.  So you may find yourself becoming depressed, angry, bitter, fearful or even resigned as you continue to deal with the disrespectful behavior of being lied to, humiliated, cheated on, gaslighted, degraded or personally attacked. There's no doubt that this can be a nightmare to cope with. As difficult as it may be, the key is not to fall into the act of defending yourself, because it will almost never work, particularly if the person you're dealing with is a narcissist.   But an abuser doesn't necessarily have to be a narcissist.

Keep in mind that verbal abuse is considered a part of domestic violence and is about control.  

Some people may assume that a narcissist  just has a really large ego, but there's actually more to consider.  Narcissism is an actual psychiatric condition that's considered a personality disorder. This person has a sense of entitlement, a total lack of empathy for others, and an  unrealistic need for admiration.  In an effort to make sure he or she is consistently portrayed as better than everyone else, they are intolerant of others and will degrade, humiliate, blame or discount them.   They are often clueless that they have hurt someone's feelings, and don't care. Despite the inflated egos and big personalities, they cannot handle any type of criticism and will overreact with unrealistic anger and hostile behavior.  Now we have a verbally abusive situation.

Dr. Irene Matiatos is licensed in New York and North Carolina as a Psychologist who specializes in all forms of abuse. She gives great feedback on what you may be feeling, as well as suggestions on what to say so you can make attempts to get off of the emotionally abusive roller-coaster.  As you look at her example below, I'm sure some of the language will sound very familiar. 

Also, it's important to remember that verbal abuse is not always easy to see. Please know that help is available with your local shelter or someone you trust.


Getting Defensive

www.drirene.com


Rachael was preparing a special dinner tonight for Larry. Forever trying to please him, she had spent an hour at the market selecting the very freshest produce. She found a wonderful  bottle of Cabernet! Rachael was looking forward to dinner - when she heard a loud thud inside...
Larry smacked his magazine on the floor and bellowed, "Look at this house! It's disgusting! What do you do all day Rachael? Sleep? He pulled a small plastic child's toy from under the seat of His chair. It had been pinching him. "I work all day and I don't need this. You are home all day. You can't keep the house clean, you can't keep the kids quiet! You can't you do anything right! Do you do this to me on purpose?"
Rachael's mood broke. "Please don't do this now," she pleaded under her breath as Larry continued ranting. When he got in this mood, he accused her of all sorts of things she would never dream of doing. "How could he misunderstand me so?" she sadly thought as she began to defend herself - so he would understand
Larry and Rachael's Conversation

STOP! When you defend yourself, you put yourself in the position of justifying your actions to others. You seek understanding, agreement, empathy, recognition of what's really going on, etc. This is OK in an ordinary relationship. It's not OK in an abusive one:

#Since everything you say can and will be held against you

#Since defending yourself puts you in a one-down, where you are asking for approval, congruence, permission, etc.

#Your abuser is looking for a fight; not for understanding

#Since you are taking the "bait" and engaging in a "no-win"

Below find some non-defensive, disengaging responses to typical abusive comments. The abuser's objective is not to impart understanding. Your partner wants to provoke you. Your objective is to remain calm, disengage and avert provocation!  Engaging is a no-win!
"There's nothing to talk about."  OK. 
(Think: My partner is withholding; nothing I can do about it. So be it.)

"I've had it; I'm leaving!"  OK.
 (Think: Here is the door. I don't want you here if you don't want to be here.)

"Why should I tell you? You won't listen anyway." OK. 
(Think: Let him/her think whatever they want; they will anyway.)
"You're wrong!" OK. "What do you mean OK?" I mean OK.
 (Think: Who cares who is right or wrong!)

"I never said that." OK
 (Think: No point engaging. We both know the truth.)

"You're too sensitive." Yes. Respect my sensitivity.
 (Think: It's OK to be sensitive!)

38 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hey There Kim and thanks for the kudos! Hope all is well in your world today! Hugs....

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    1. Happy New Year Ms. Sophia and thanks so much for stopping by! I tried some of these and they really work. By the way, I gave you a kudos on my New Year's Message, Talk to you soon. Hugs...

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  3. Sounds good but if I keep getting berated, I'll just go nuclear and stop being nice. LOL

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    1. LOL! I hear you! Hugs...and Happy Saturday to you. Ro

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  4. I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain myself. I am put down daily and am just so low. It is hard to heal.

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    1. It's very frustrating to have to live with this type of situation. In fact, you should have the freedom of not having to explain anything you do. This is all part of controlling you. Hang in There. If you visit a domestic violence shelter, they will walk you through what you've experienced and offer help. I care, and hope you stay in touch. Hugs...RO

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  5. I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain myself. I am put down daily and am just so low. It is hard to heal.

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    1. You matter, your thoughts matter, your feelings matter. Please e-mail me, at your convenience. I care and want to help you. You deserve to be happy and appreciated! Hugs...RO

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    2. Thank you RO! I left! It has not been easy but I am starting the healing process. Thank you for responding and validation. I am not being verbally abused daily and I can breathe again.

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  6. After 6 years of abuse I have gone down to 95 pounds, started having uncontrollable tremors, have insomnia, PTSD, became severely depressed and am overweight. My body has been showing me just how bad the abuse was affecting me. He did not break my bones but what he said, over time, was slowly killing me. Thank you for letting me have a voice and responding with compassion.

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    1. That's a long time, and it pains me to know you had to suffer trough that instead of feeling loved and appreciated. I'm thrilled that you were able to safely leave that environment and are slowly getting your life back. Sometimes, it takes a lot of talking and validation, so I'm here to talk when you need to. Hugs...RO

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    2. Heather, just thought I'd check in. You've been gone for a year now, and just wanted to ensure things are still going well for you. Hugs...

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  7. I'm thrilled you posted this because that "sticks and stones" quote is a bunch of bull. I've always said (and believe me, please, I've never been abused by any man) if I have to be abused, let it be physical. The bruises will heal and the evidence can be captured on film. Verbal abuse is MUCH harder to pinpoint, because people tend to not believe you and it's difficult to document. Again, thanks for helping those who have trouble helping themselves. I'm also an advocate for the underdog, the abused, and the bullied.

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    1. You are so right on this one. Abuse is hard, but the verbal abuse becomes emotionally draining, and people really don't take it seriously at all. So sad. Thanks for the support and hope your weekend was amazing! Hugs...RO

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  8. I don't necessarily agree with you about emotional abusers having narcissistic personalities, but I certainly approve of your tips for dealing with emotional abuse. It is not necessarily just between husbands and wives but can happen in same sex couples too.

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    1. You're so right Andrew. Emotional abusers can be anyone, and sadly it can happen in any type of relationship. So glad you stopped by, and hope the rest of your week is fab! Hugs...RO

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  9. An informative, and important, post. Thank you.

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  10. Oh yeah, I know that rhyme. I grew up with it. It took me a while as an adult to realise how wrong it is and how damaging words can be.

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    1. Many of us, myself included, heard and lived by this. Like you, it took me some time to unlearn it. Hugs...

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  11. Wonderful thoughts and a great reminder really, very informative and the tips surely will go a long way. Greetings.

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    1. We hope it can make a difference for someone Blogoratti. Hugs...

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  12. I have a feeling someone who needs this will read it. There are so many people who endure this. And it goes beyond the home. There are abusive coworkers and bosses, abusive friends, abusive people on social media. I've even had a couple of freelance writing clients over the years who tried gaslighting me by making me feel worse about myself. I ended those working relationships as soon as I figured out what they were doing!

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    1. I agree, Steph, and hope it makes a difference. Abuse rears its ugly head in many forms. I cannot believe your writing clients tried to disrespect you in that manner. That had to be a nightmare, and thank goodness you got out of that. One word - karma. Hugs...

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  13. Love this. I was emotionally, verbally, and mentally abused as a kid and a teenager by a parent. It wasn't just me either, he did it to my mom for years until my sister and I were no longer minors and subject to having to spend time with him and she divorced him. To this day, he maintains that all his bad behavior (Being unfaithful, abusive etc) was actually my mom. SHE was the one having affairs according to him, and he was a "good husband and parent." So called family members believed him too and they still do.

    While I don't blame him for my depression diagnosis at 14, I do blame him for making it much worse and for warping my views of people and especially men for many years.

    Therapy works wonders, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. It helped me sort through things (I had a wonderful woman helping me for three years), and dump the toxic garbage that tried to pass itself as family.

    Recognizing you're being verbally abused is sometimes difficult. I didn't realize I had fallen into another pattern with so called friends in my mid twenties. They disguised the hurtful comments and bullying as joking and told me I was too "defensive" and "sensitive."

    Dumped them too.

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    1. My goodness, my heart goes out to you for having to suffer through that. Sadly, it's pretty clear that your dad has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and finds it impossible to ever take responsibility for anything, and everyone else is at fault. A relationship with this type of person almost never works. I'm thrilled that you found a good therapist to help you work through this, and know it wasn't easy. Abusers love to say and do hurtful things and pass it off as a joke, then tell us we're just too sensitive. That's part of the control. You did the right thing in getting rid of the toxic people. I'm so glad that things are better, and happy to know such a strong woman. Hugs...

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  14. I've been on the receiving end of this like a lot of us. It's difficult when the abuser is someone you love coz you end up making excuses for them or they even try to justify it.

    I personally think it's starts with us. Once we realize our worth, respect follows and one would tend to demand that from others too. Not necessarily being defensive but I personally am more brace now to tell people they can't talk to me in a certain way.

    Great post!

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    1. You're exactly right Braine. We accept it, and don't want to believe it's happening, and sometimes it gets even worse. Sadly, many of whom have been abused deal with self esteem issues that almost cripple us. The more we want to get away, the harder the abuser works to control us. You're right, once we get away from that, it can make it so much easier to focus on ourselves and to realize our worth so we don't end up in the same kind of relationship. You're a beautiful and smart lady, and I'm glad you can tell others to treat you respectfully as you deserve. Hugs...

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  15. It's sad to think that people are in these kinds of relationships.

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  16. I can imagine verbal abuse is harder to process as actual abuse for the victim. For physical abuse there's an act and possibly a mark that you can point to and say this happened but verbal abuse has such a vagueness. Not that I'm saying physical abuse is "easy". We all have our self doubts and to have someone continually put you down must be so spirit crushing. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. You're absolutely right, Katherine. It is emotionally draining and keeps a person on edge, eventually affecting self esteem. Even worse, friends and family tend to think it's not real, making it even more difficult for the person to leave or seek help. Hugs...

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  17. I think verbal abuse leaves us feeling so impotent.
    I agree with the non-justifying but I think it would take a lot of determination and practice. We always want people to understand and agree with our point of view, instead of just accepting not everyone is going to understand and give their approval.
    As always, good post, Ro.
    Hugs,

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    1. I agree, Super Sandra. There is a feeling of powerlessness. The verbal abuse over time really begins to change the mindset of a person, eventually causing low self-esteem. It does take some practice for sure. Hope you're doing well and that your weekend was fantastic! Hugs...

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  18. I never really liked that phrase because I know it's not really true

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    1. So true Adam. Saadly, it's how many of us were raised, and believed to be accurate. Hugs...

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