Posted on June 1, 2015 by Kim Armstrong
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (1)
Words that attack or injure people are hurtful methods of control. Manipulation, control, and verbal abuse are attached together in a chain link with many forms of disguises. The strategies used to dominate people are seen in overt – open blatant manners, or covert ways that are harder to detect and hidden from the public eye. Demeaning strategies are more subtle forms of diversionary tactics which apply skilled techniques to gain power. The victim’s character, individuality, and dignity are attacked by controlling power over them. This undermines personal perception by creating confusion and causing doubt. Any abuse, verbal or physical is a deliberate choice, a learned behavior and is unacceptable.
Here are some identifying signs of abuse.
• If you are becoming an object of irrational anger in fits and outbursts, sneered, rejected, belittled, slighted, isolated, made to felt guilt, or intimated by cunning words, they are connected to verbal abuse.
• Verbal abuse causes you to question normal perceptions of reasoning where you doubt your sanity and capabilities. It dismantles your defense system by letting your guard down.
• When we are controlled, told what to do, as opposed to sharing suggestions or advice, it can be a subtle form of manipulative or brainwashing.
• If the person you are with is possessive and you are losing personal power.
• If you feel everything is your fault; if you would have tried harder, or if you would be more understanding or patient, this person would be kind and loving.
Rachel Lloyd was trapped in human trafficking. (2) She was physically and verbally abused to keep her from running away. She writes about how she was literally brain washed by means of verbal abuse. She was convinced by her pimp, that he was going to love and protect her, forever. Yet, in between intervals of him beating her and sending her out onto the streets to sell her body in the commercial sex trade, she felt a sense of loyalty to him. She talks about many incidents of verbal attacks, where her pimp would used explosive anger, jealously, threats, ordering her to do certain unreasonable tasks, and putting extreme demands on her. Upset and confused as she was, she always thought she was the one wrong and willingly accepted all accusatory blame. The craziest thing about abuse is that it convinces the victim they are the only one at fault.
Rachel did eventually escape from the man who held her in slavery. Later in life she earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Social Development. Using life’s experiences, added with her education she opened a home base called GEM, for kids who have been rescued from human trafficking. Her story is riveting and very inspiring.
What are some practical steps to take if you find yourself a victim of verbal abuse?
Here are some suggestions;
• Take action by educating yourself and consult a professional counselor. Find support from an extended network of supportive friends and family for feedback and validation.
• Refrain from believing everything a person tells you; question and test what is being communicated.
• Take control back of your life. Be on guard to any relationships which become damaging, toxic and poisonous to you, then stay away from them.
• Pain and feelings are indicators that something is wrong; take heed.
• Communicate clear boundaries, in that, the abuse will not be tolerated. If it continues you will leave her/him until they can gain control of their words and actions.
• Preserve your dignity by protecting your rights to be treated with respect. Listen to your heart and trust your instincts.
You are valued and loved by God. When you put your confidence in Christ and trust Him, you become one of His. Therefore, no one can take away God’s forever promise of love to you. The Lord accepts you not on your good merits but on Jesus’ merits of His own blood shed for you – that redeemed you. This love has overflowed into your life and opened your eyes to truth. Come as you are…come to Him!
O Loving Father, I am broken and ask for healing. Binding up my wounds, and clear my confusion. Renew me with fresh hope. I pray for wisdom to learn the proper response to life’s challenges. Thank You for hearing and delivering me. Amen
1. Psalm 9:9 rsv
2.Lloyd, Rachel, Girls Like Us
3. Evans, Patricia, The Verbally Abusive Relationships