Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Shattered Words


by Teresa Brouwer

A lot of people don't know the Dynamics of Verbal Abuse or how to recognize it. In the book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond by Patricia Evans, Evans explains the difference between Power Over and Personal Power. I will explain the two in my own words.

Power Over is about control and dominating the other person. The abuser will manipulate and blame the other person for his wrong doing. As a result, the victim will eventually tolerate the abuse and lose one's self-esteem.

Personal Power is when a couple is mutually supportive and empathetic towards each other. It is when a person is connected with their own feelings and is able to recognize the Power Over abuse. When a couple both have Personal Power they have a healthy relationship.

Let's take two characters named Jeff and Debbie:

Debbie is absorbed in a book when Jeff comes into the bedroom and jumps on the bed and says, "I guess you don't care that I worked all day?" (he is in Power Over and now feels that he is in control.) Debbie puts her book down on her lap and says, "Why do you think that?" (she responds as if what Jeff had said was valid.) She thinks that Jeff had the right to ask that question the way he did.

Jeff answers Debbie with a loud, firm tone and says, "I am hungry and I thought that maybe you would have started dinner by now." Now Debbie feels that she must apologize and responds, "I am sorry, you're right, but I was busy, too today." Jeff feels that he has won and has acted out the Power Over Model. Debbie fell into the Power Over by asking "why?"

If Debbie was in tune with her feelings (Personal Power) she would have said, "Stop it." or she may have said, "That remark was uncalled for." She wouldn't have accepted his manipulation and would have been in touch with her feelings and recognized his verbal attack.

If Jeff was familiar with Personal Power he would have said, "I know you were busy today, but when do you think dinner will be ready?" (Personal Power) He acknowledged her feelings and still was able to ask what he wanted in a more sympathetic way.

Verbal abuse is about name calling, but it is also how a "person speaks to you and their tone of voice." This kind of abuse shows no visible scars. The scars are hidden through low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. The abused now watches what they say and tends to walk on eggshells. At times, the abuser isn't even aware that what they are doing is actually verbal abuse, and at times the one being abused doesn't realize that they are being verbally abused.

Verbal abuse takes many forms such as, humiliation, degrading, put downs, mind games, crazymaking, manipulation, and double messages. A person may feel confused, disoriented, and fall into a depression.

I was in a somewhat verbal abusive situation with a friend. The difference for me was that I did recognize it. A friend had misunderstood an email I sent. This person then ripped my words apart and picked at every sentence. They then called me early in the morning one day and told me that "I was overreacting," and that I was making a "big deal out of nothing," and that I should stop being so "ridiculous." I, inturn told this person that they crossed the line of our friendship and said that they were down right mean. I let this person know that her words were wrong and I was "not" about to apologize for my actions when her actions were way off. (Personal Power)

Patricia Evans explained in her book that she was talking to a friend about verbal abuse at a party and that she wanted to show him an example of verbal abuse. They were talking and he turned and looked at a table filled with food. Patricia Evans asked, "Why aren't you looking at me when I'm talking to you?" The friend responded, "Uh, oh, I am sorry, I was just looking at the cookies." She quickly explained that that was her example by the question she asked and he was "shocked" that he fell for her Power Over by apologizing.

In her book, she writes:
"When you respond to verbal abuse, speak firmly and clearly, stand or sit straight and tall, hold your head high, look the abuser in the eye, and breathe deeply.

We all know our feelings, we all know what makes us feel bad, we must speak up and nip it in the bud."

Labels: , , , , ,

shared by Barbara at 12:38 AM



I am a woman named, coincidentally, Debbie, who is used to be physically abused along with verbal and social abuse and thought that after my husband of 2 years, but also in the same, boyfriend of 21 years prior, when he got help after he was arrested for almost being accused of 2nd degree attempted murder because of the floor, wall and his hands, the DA and court made him go to anger management and with my testimony and plead to also go for alcohol and substance abuse with 2 years probation. that was almost 6 years ago and now, after all the help and phychiatry and anger management that waw working it is no longer working. slowly but surely he is regressing to the old guy only without drugs, rarely with alcohol and most of the time, when annoyed and aggitated by life's problems. HELP! No matter how much I do, no matter how good or nice I am, (which by the way, I have always been a nicey mushy, loveable, over-understanding person who loves to please and not make any waves.) PLEASE, WHAT DO I DO, HE WON'T RATIONALIZE WITH ME AT THESE TIMES AND AT OTHERS, WHICH IS 20 OUT OF 100% OF THE TIME...IS GIVING AND LOVING AND KIND, BUT INTIMACY IS VERY VERY FEW.. ONCE 3-6 MONTHS A YEAR. :-( SO UNHAPPY WITH HOPE, DEBBIE...

8:46 PM  

Call a DV Crisis Center and get counseling IMMEDIATELY... and see some divorce lawyers to get your rights straight.

Get away from this person ASAP.

12:00 AM  

I'm reading over all of these articles almost trying to get the strength to say enough us enough. The physical abuse (broke his wrist hitting me) stopped after I tried leaving last year but I came back and now I'm living in a new town with my husband of three years enduring the emotional abuse. I can honestly say he is a psychopath, enjoys seeing me upset, has slipped and called himself crazy several times, calls me sick with jealously, made me stop talking to any male friends that I ever had and now my sisters are slowly slipping away from me in disgust that I'm staying with him. Last night I was reading and he came into the room just to turn off my lamp because in his mind I was wasting electricity while he had all the living room lights on so he can play video games. If dinner isn't ready when he gets home (sometimes two hours early) he tells me that I'm using him etc. I am the loser no matter what happens at this point financially, emotionally and career wise. His love is toxic in that he tells me he loves me but then always reminds me that he likes skinny girls and tells me I should be skinnier. I use to be so extremely independent, outgoing, lively and now I stay home all day working on my phd dissertation. I'm educated and know there are other options but he belittles me to the point that I feel worthless. I've caught him in several lies, he even told me for three years that he threw away my journals that I had before we met because I talked about other guys. Then in August 2013 he just gave them back to me as if it was no big deal that he lied about throwing them away for three years. It's all to much, he's getting his US citizenship through me and my number one fear was to be used for it so I thought I had to prove everyone else wrong too. I've tried counseling with him but he even lied to the therapist and now he tells me I'm the one with the mental problem so I should go to fix myself and he doesn't want to go. To the outside world here is very calm, charming and successful. I've never caught him cheating but the last time he came back from a conference he got pissed at me and told me there are 100 girls lined up ready to be with him if I left. He thinks he's better than everyone and I don't know what else I need to realize before I say it's enough. Thankfully, we don't have any kids, this is my first marriage but it's so hard to just give up.

2:31 PM  

I have some experience with this, as an engulfed daughter, after 2 abusive relationships. First, get out if he is physically abusive, even if you have no money, there are abuse shelters, you won't need money. And you can't think under these circumstances.

If I was Debbie, I would have just showed my emotions. My guy has strong emotions, in the masculine sense, and it seems scary, but I just show my emotions, in my feelings, true authentic feelings, and he gets it. True vulnerability won't work with a narcissist anyway, its a good way of weeding them out. If he has feelings, if he has a heart, he won't cross the boundary, he won't.

The way Jeff put it was rather mean. He only wanted dinner, he can't cook? Maybe Debbie is sick and if that's what she should have said. He needed to show some concern, and he didn't, why didn't he? Was she unable to show any emotion at any time? Sometimes it could be a disconnection, that could easily be fixed. If he is storming in, demanding dinner, she's his wife, and not his maid. Ugh, let him cook dinner himself, that is what my man would do, even with his strong emotional side. If he did act like Jeff, I would probably have started bawling my eyes out, that was so uncalled for.

9:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home