Battered without Bruises: Are you being Verbally Abused?
When I was in my 20’s (30+ years ago), I read an article that made a huge impact on my life and I didn’t realize how much impact it would make until years later. It was called Battered without Bruises. It was about verbal abuse and the effects it has on a person’s life, how it takes a toll and how it not only bites you but leaves deadly destructive poison behind. Well, that’s my takeaway in a nutshell.
I always had a picture in my mind of a woman with Band-Aids on her face. I’m a very visual learner and visuals usually leave a stronger impression than just words…unless it’s words that cut your soul and spirit and you can’t put a picture to that. It’s hard to describe your feelings (because YOU aren’t allowed to have feelings, only the other person is) and before you know it you aren’t even in touch with your own feelings.
Then if you start to live in survival mode, it goes downhill from there on the feelings side. If you know how to live in survival mode, that’s great if you’re lost in a forest, stranded on an island or floating on a raft in the ocean but for everyday life … well, it stinks. It’s destructive and tiring. It will drain the life out of you and you will totally lose touch with YOUR FEELINGS.
What Satan can’t prevent, he’ll pervert!
That’s right, you read that correct. It was one of my “life lessons” years ago. I realized what Satan can’t prevent he’ll pervert. We aren’t supposed to LIVE BY our feelings; we have them but you can’t just LIVE with them on your shoulder so to speak or even weigh decisions just on “feelings.” The thing you don’t want to do is live as thou you’re dealing with a FIRE. An emotional FIRE, a constant crisis, rushing people out of a burning building, protecting kids or other family members, all the while YOU have no idea how you feel. You can’t take the time to rest because after all you’ll be called lazy and God forbid if you cry you’re an emotional basket case or unstable. Sound familiar? Now live like that times 5 years, 10 years, 20, 30 …. and how “emotional” do you think you’ll be? Some people will now call you “cold” — *sigh*
Look, you have to know WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
That one thing has saved my life countless times. It’s pulled me up by my bootstraps and set my feet back on a peaceful path, but it wasn’t easy to get there. It also took standing up to this mess.
I know LOTS of people have been verbally abused (that includes ridiculed, belittled, made to feel less than, told you were stupid, crazy, etc.) or that has thought or said; I’d rather someone take a bat to me then be verbally abused. The scars run deep and long. I know. I’m sorry. Please let those people be “your lesson” of how not to be treated by others NO MATTER WHAT!
So you think you’re being verbally abused? First and foremost, I’m so sorry.
As I noted earlier there is a name for that, it’s called “being battered without bruises.” I even took a photo of my face of what always comes to mind when I think of someone being verbally abused. I reflect back on what I personally went through or when I hear a story that clearly tells me this is going on. Hopefully you’ll see this for what it is; ABUSE and use these points to help identify it and be able to implement what to do about it. A picture says a thousand words, doesn’t it? Well, I hope ripping tiny hairs off my face helps you. (wink – LOL)
This is the way I always pictured “being battered without bruises” … and you walk around in life looking normal (for the most part), trying to smile through the Band-Aids and depression. Trying to carry on thru the fatigue, trying to THINK and remember stuff and forgetting all along you’re not taking care of yourself. You left yourself in a ditch and you have forgotten how to feel.
A counselor told me years ago; Rebekah, the hardest thing about you is at your very worst times in life you still “look great” on the outside.
Verbal Abuse does such a mind game on you and others!
Even the strongest, most confident, educated people have found themselves in an abusive relationship.
In my humble opinion, some common questions you find yourself asking might be:
- How could someone have done this to me?
- I use to not be this way…
- Why do I believe this stuff?
- Why am I afraid? WHAT am I afraid of?
- How did I get to this place emotionally?
- Why do I feel like a child?
- Why do I view myself “less than” or inferior to “him?”
- Why do I keep doing….
- …and you believe most things are your fault. Because “he” told you they were.
I’m no psychologist just speaking from my own experience, but if you are asking yourself ANY of those questions you need to turn those WHY’s into WHAT.
It’s so that you see this for what it is…and you move OUT of it and away from this type of person. If you don’t….I promise you’ll just keep going through this “classroom” until you pass.
- WHAT are you going to do about it?
- WHAT choices do you have?
- WHAT plans should you make?
- WHAT behaviors do you need to alter?
I have noticed over the years, people that are on the road of recovery stop asking why, why, why…and start looking at What.
People that have gone from understanding what it’s like to be a victim and are now victorious start asking God; “HOW can you use this?” WHAT can I do to help someone else?
You know what I really hate?
People that misuse and abuse the word VICTIM also. It’s been overused and underused to a degree.
We’ve all been victims at some point. If you’ve lived and breathed for longer than dropping in the hands of the doctor in the labor room, you’ve been a victim to someone or something or some circumstance. It may not have been rape, torture, being bitten by a shark …but you’ve been attacked somehow, someway. Verbally, Physically or Spiritually. Where there is man, there is sin and where there is sin…there is Satan but thank God…
There is JESUS and there is another side to this life. Literally and Figuratively.
Of course this isn’t conclusive but it’s people that are:
- Control Freaks
- Jekyll and Hyde’s
Some people think of being verbally abused as just someone who is cutting them down. No, it’s not just that. They are the types of people mentioned above and are famous “table turners” (changing the subject and turning it back to being about YOU), they truly have no conscience or they wouldn’t do what they do. They really could careless how YOU feel. They aren’t going to build you up but tear you down. It will ALWAYS be your fault. These people have major entitlement issues and privileges that you don’t have. Perhaps it’s because they are “the firstborn” or it’s just they have a gender issue. They seem to always be envious people. Do you know envy is much worse than jealousy? People that ENVY want to DESTROY you, what you have or both.
God said he was a “jealous God” he didn’t say he was envious.
Envy will lead to slander and lies, people that are envious are intimidated by the one they are abusing also or they wouldn’t want to see them “beneath them” so to speak. Abusers are one way in public and another way in private. Another book I’d like to write is “Behind Closed Doors” – I have a vision for the cover, but anyway, that’s another topic, another time. Maybe.
I hope if you find yourself in an abusive situation you will GET OUT or set some very strict living guidelines or boundaries. I pray you will NOT remain quiet or you will remain the same. Being passive is deadly when it comes to abuse. It is NOT your fault, but it is up to YOU to change your behavior, which is the only person you can change or should attempt to change! Emotional Abuse “wears many faces” and often times learns to function in a very dysfunctional mess. That is NOT normal or healthy! Think about it…is this what you want to teach your children? How to live dysfunctional?
Also, if you or anyone you know is in the throes of domestic violence of any form, please go online or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233).
A few notes: One of my favorite books over the years to refer people to is Verbal Abuse by Grace Ketterman.
I just got curious about my title “Battered without Bruises” and opted to google it. Interestingly I found this website. Take the time to pray for this young lady. My heart is bleeding for her. Anyone personally know Brad Schimel? He is Wisconsin’s attorney general (#@WisDOJ). Perhaps he could help this young lady?
I am a Christian writer, entrepreneur (founder of Extra You, LLC and White House Home Inventory), artist and wife. I have had my fair share of ups and downs, challenges and eating humble pie … as a wife, mother and just “a regular ol’ person in life.” It’s my heart’s desire to see the broken hearted healed, people restored and walking in the purpose God created for them. My husband and I have two gorgeous grandchildren who reside in Texas, we love to travel and are the proud parents of a Maine Coon spoiled cat. We reside in Charles Town, WV.