Back then, to me, “Verbal Abuse” was the name of a band or the type of angering insult one might hear from a stranger on the street.
Verbal abuse was almost a joke, a simple case of mama-not-teaching-you-how-to-talk-nice, as far as I was concerned.
I began pointing it out to my husband when he said one of the types of verbal abuse listed in the book.
I’d say, in a high-pitched voice with an exaggerated expression of surprise on his face.
(Mimicking is also a form of verbal abuse.) As the situation worsened, I’d hear him say to our boys during rough-housing, (Let’s not discuss how wise that was at the present time…) Fortunately, instead of showing me how appreciative I should be, my husband turned around and left me to my quickly-beating heart and wobbly knees.
I sat down and, after a few minutes, realized how close “intimidating anger” was to “physical abuse”. I thought of the fear I felt when his tone changed a certain way, the nervousness that came over me when I heard boots hit the floor in the kitchen, and the sheer panic I felt when seeing “that look” come over his face. After that, I began to fill in the blanks between verbal abuse and physical. My husband could not simply teach himself a kinder, more polite vocabulary.
Intimidating anger like my husband used is body language only. I suffered emotional abuse, mental abuse, and (a couple of times) sexual abuse. His words were the outward expression of some very ingrained, terrible beliefs he carried within himself.
As it turned out, they are ingrained beliefs he is not willing to question or change.
to use it to describe their marriage or relationship.
It is far easier to admit that we have a “bad relationship” or that “our relationship has problems”.
Emotional abuse can happen to anyone at any time in their lives.
Children, teens and adults all experience emotional abuse.
And emotional abuse can have devastating consequences on relationships and all those involved.