Individuals who have been verbally abused over a long period may feel worthless, and counseling can be quite effective in changing these thought patterns. After years of being told that your opinions and thoughts have no value, it may be hard to see the reality – that you are no different from every other human being. You have thoughts and opinions that are yours alone. Occasionally, they may be wrong, but most often they are right on target – particularly since they express your unique feelings and no one else can truly know your perspective.
Signs of Verbal Abuse
Verbal or emotional abuse has no outward signs, such as bruises or cuts. Nevertheless, the invisible scars are still there and may persist a lifetime if the individual doesn't seek therapy. If you often feel fearful in your relationships and cannot voice your opinions because you feel that the other partner will demean your thoughts or react in a volatile manner, this is a sign of verbal abuse. Another sign includes feeling isolated; you don't feel that you can spend time with your friends or loved ones because your partner becomes jealous or angry. If you are convinced that issues in your relationship are always your fault this is another sign of verbal or emotional abuse. Constant criticism from your partner and feeling that you can never say or do anything right is another signal that your relationship is verbally abusive. Unfortunately, many verbally abusive relationships escalate into physical abuse as well.
Benefits of Counseling
A professional therapist will listen to your stories of how you feel isolated, worthless and fearful. He or she can show you statistics of this type of abuse and help you realize how easy it is to become ensnared in this type of relationship. The counselor will help you overcome the shame that is often a result of this type of abuse. If you feel that you don't want to give up on your marriage or other relationship, the counselor can show you how to set boundaries. He or she can help you stand up for yourself in a non-threatening manner so that your partner realizes how he or she is hurting you.
Outcome of Counseling
After receiving therapy, the individual who has been verbally abused will have clarity on what constitutes verbal or emotional abuse and what is simply good-natured teasing. You will be able to express your feelings with more confidence. He or she will provide you with tools to end the relationship or to make it healthier if you are married and not quite ready to give up. You will also know how to recognize red flags in future relationships and end the friendship before becoming entrapped once more in an unhealthy kinship.
The knowledge you gain from counseling helps you avoid alliances that are detrimental to your mental health and overall well-being. Even if you don't leave the relationship, you can increase your self-esteem by standing up for yourself in a way that isn't perceived as confrontational.
For more information, contact Blue Spruce Counseling or a similar organization.