Verbal abuse can be scary and extremely hurtful. It can also have long-lasting damaging effects to a person’s emotional and mental well-being if it’s left unaddressed. If you’re suffering from a verbally-abusive relationship, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. There are also steps you can take if you witness someone else being verbally abused.
When Verbal Abuse is Happening to You
Coming to a point of realization that you are in a verbally-abusive relationship isn’t easy. Particularly if you trust the other individual, this could damage that trust deeply. It’s important, however, to take steps towards protecting yourself in these situations.
First, set limits. If someone begins verbally abusing you, remember that you have value and that you deserve to be treated with respect. Share this sentiment in a calm and firm manner. Be cautious to not retaliate with hurtful words of your own as this will only escalate the situation.
Next, cultivate a healthy, encouraging support system. Find people that you can trust, who treat you well and respect your value. Choose to develop these friendships and relationships, sharing with them your struggles if they persist so they can help you get any professional support you might need.
When Verbal Abuse is Happening to Someone You Know
If you witness someone else being verbally abusive towards another person, there are steps you can take to encourage and support the person being abused.
First of all, if you’re present when the person is being verbally abused and only if you feel comfortable and safe, try to intercept the conversation in a non-aggressive way. While you don’t have to confront the individual directly, you might be able to deescalate the situation by switching topics.
Another way that you can be extremely helpful towards a person who is experiencing verbal abuse is by supporting them and listening to them. Being verbally abused can be scary and the individual might even feel like it’s their fault or that they deserve to be treated this way. With your help, they might come to realize that they have value and deserve respect. Even just be being present and listening, a person experiencing abuse can feel a lot safer and more supported.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing verbal abuse and you feel like you need external support, make sure to reach out to someone you trust or a professional. No matter how serious you think the situation is, there will always be someone there to listen to and support you.
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