Verbal abuse, family dynamics and recovery.

Tom, who is 66, reports that it took him a while to realize that all households were not like his. He grew up with parents who, as he calls them, were “street saints”—well-behaved in the outside world and devils at home. That, by the way, is very common because verbal abuse is usually a family secret and, if discovered, is justified by a child’s needing “discipline” or “correction.”[1]

Verbal abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People are involved and different family dynamics are possible. Sometimes there are siblings ‘in’ on the bullying or aunts, uncles, grandparents who stand by and don’t interfere with what is enfolding. Like mentioned above, (verbal) abuse, is often a great secret. When children are involved there is a great chance that they aren’t going to be believed even if they have the courage to speak up, it is so easy to dismiss the child’s complaint, by saying that it is all ‘imagined.’ This in itself can be considered abuse in my book.

As we seen in my initial post (verbal) abuse doesn’t necessarily mean that mean words are used. One can pull another down with just a look or a tone. It’s all about control. Verbal abuse combined with gaslighting can make the child lose his or her touch with reality. Leaving the child wondering if it’s all real or not.

Recovering from childhood abuse.

Recovery is a long journey. Somewhat pleasant, because once the first step taken it usually means that you’re able to put the smallest distance between yourself and the situation you’re in.

To realize what is going on and the depths of it, is another long road. Just admitting to yourself that your supposed-to-be-loving-parents or family is like that, is so utterly hard. I think that a child just longs for harmony in a household. I believe – with my experience – that that hope takes a long time to vanish.

Biggest tip. See reality as it is.

Therapy can help a great deal to get your mind together. Especially when you’re just so overwhelmed by all that has happened that you don’t actually know what went down. Therapy can help you mend all the pieces until your mind and body can process what happened. You can tell your story, how you feel. It gives you the opportunity to own your story. Will it take the pain away? Probably not, you’ll need to go through the motions yourself as you unravel that great ball of wool that is knotted in every possible way. You can learn how to knit and how to make a beautiful scarf to protect you when weather becomes colder.

I didn’t like to talk about my mom in therapy because I didn’t want to spend a cent on her, but once I did, the floodgates opened and the counselor helped me realize I had an abusive mother.


[1] Online article. Psychology Today. (2016). The Enduring Pain of Childhood Verbal Abuse

15 thoughts on “Verbal abuse, family dynamics and recovery.

  1. “…that hope takes a long time to vanish” Painful but true. It’s unfortunate that so many people are in the position of having to relinquish that hope. We all deserve love and support, but that doesn’t mean we always receive it.

    Liked by 1 person

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