Verbal Abuse: The Silent Killer

credit//blue ribbon project

By: Abby Tomczuk

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” right? Growing up we are taught to believe that words aren’t supposed to hurt. But if we’re being realistic, words do hurt, arguably just as much as sticks and stones.  

For some reason we are still programmed to think that words are meaningless and that we’re simply overreacting if we are hurt by them. The word “abuse” is a heavy word. However, when the word “verbal’ is placed in front of it, people seem to underestimate the severity of the phrase.

These preconceived ideas about offensive words especially seem to carry over into relationships.  Verbal abuse is the silent killer. Just because you don’t see bumps, cuts, scars, or bruises on someone’s body, does not mean they aren’t there.

The worst part about a verbally abusive relationship is how underrated it really is. It eats away at you. Instead of leaving marks on your skin it leaves marks on your self esteem. Being in a verbally abusive relationship doesn’t hurt you physically, it kills you mentally. I know this is true because I’ve had a personal experience dealing with the silent killer.

Recently, I was head over heels for a boy who I knew did not treat me the way I deserved to be treated. As our relationship progressed, I simply let his snarky, ignorant comments slide. I was blinded by the attention that he gave me and the way I felt about him. But little by little, his comments started to get way out of hand.

I felt like I no longer had control over my own self esteem. He had control over the way I felt about myself. All of his opinions about me and what I did started to shape how I felt about myself as a person. The only way I could save myself from him was to simply stop believing that was he was saying was true.

When you have feelings for someone who starts to become so verbally abusive towards you it is like you are already trapped under their spell. Because you are already trapped you start to believe that their painful words towards you are true. Even if you don’t want to believe these things you honestly cannot help it.

A verbally abusive relationship is based on manipulation. There is nothing in the world that can justify the severity of a verbally abusive relationship or the verbally abusive words directed towards a victim. The most important thing I learned from experiencing one of these relationships is that it is not about the victim, it is about the abuser. The easiest way to heal from the silent killer is to remember that no verbally abusive word ever uttered about you is true.

The reason that these relationships exist is because the abusers in these relationships target people that can aid in making them feel better about themselves. If you feel like you are trapped in a relationship like this, it is important to do your best to not let these hurtful words get you down. Once you start to let your abuser’s words affect you that is when they start to get what they want out of the relationship.

Stay strong and just know that you are stronger than an abuser will ever make you feel. Regardless of how much verbally abusive words hurt, they DO NOT define who you are as a person.



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