Ascension Behavioral Health

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

The Truth about "Quiet" Verbal Abuse

There is a common misperception that verbal abuse has a lesser impact than physical abuse. In fact, if there is no yelling, screaming or maybe some name calling, people often don't consider the behavior to be abusive. Abuse (emotional & verbal), particularly towards children, can take the form of ignoring them, acting passive aggressive, prioritizing your needs above theirs, or putting them down physically or academically. Abuse is minimally discussed, under reported and ignored because many of us don't recognize it, and then don't know what we can do about it.

Some of the devastating consequences of this behavior towards children over time include low self esteem, self doubt, poor social skills and emotional dependence on others. If you or someone you know engages in behaviors like these, it's important to recognize where this comes from (often learned & protective), what triggers this and ways to intervene. Awareness (of yourself and your impact on others), taking responsibility/ownership, apologizing, and seeking help to eliminate these patterns are ways to shift the norm of this kind of abuse and improve your relationships. Children may not be able to verbalize when they are hurting or what they need to heal, but they often show when they feel safer and more connected to others.

Read the article here.