Afrikaans English
Verbal Abuse
People who verbally abuse other people want to make sure that they degrade the person's self-esteem by belittling, humiliating and "suppressing" them.

LISE ASK: You have said that abuse occurs in all genders and ages. Why is it important to separate verbal and physical (or emotional) abuse from one another? Surely verbal abuse is less dangerous than physical abuse?

LOUIS ANSWER: It is understandable that people will think so, but in fact it is just the opposite. Because it is “safer” for a person to abuse another verbally (for example, the person does not easily get into trouble with the law), it is more common than physical abuse. There is usually no “physical” evidence either. In relationships or families where verbal abuse occurs, the pattern usually becomes more intense and victims can develop serious psychological problems. People who are exposed to this over a long period of time may develop anxiety-related conditions, clinical depression and / or post-traumatic stress. For people who have been verbally abused in their childhood, it is extremely difficult to function emotionally comfortably in their adult years.

LISE ASK: But it often happens that people say ugly and personal things to each other when they get into a fight. How does one know when it is verbal abuse?

LOUIS ANSWER: Remember, we look at a pattern of behavior that occurs frequently and over a long period of time. People who verbally abuse other people want to make sure that they degrade the person's self-esteem by belittling, humiliating and "suppressing" them. Verbal abuse is not only a curse, a curse, or a lie, but also includes the following:

  • A constant quarrel, arguing and disparaging of the other party's opinion (it's "ridiculous", "illogical" and "stupid"), especially in front of other people
  • Withholding information that may embarrass another person
  • Humiliation disguised as a "joke"
  • Persistent accusations and reproaches
  • Constant condemnation and criticism
  • Threats or underlying implication of threats
  • Deliberate undermining of the other person's plans or efforts

Just like physical abuse, verbal abuse is mainly about MAG. It is a person's attempt to gain or retain power over someone else. In most cases, this is because the person is struggling with low self-esteem.

LISE ASK: Can one "reverse" or save the situation? Or is breaking up a relationship the only option?

LOUIS ANSWER: Any situation can be reversed, but the longer a pattern occurs and the more frequently it happens, the harder it becomes to save such a situation. Of course, one will initially try to stop such behavior. However, note that verbal abuse is a very serious situation. To accept it in the end, out of fear or "for the sake of peace", is too high a price to pay. If a person wishes to change a relationship in which they occur, he / she should simply prohibit verbal derision, humiliation or any other form of verbal abuse. Mutual recognition, esteem and respect are non-negotiable, and no verbal derision of the other party can occur in any way, regardless of the situation.